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Joyful benefits of a womans group
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Women connecting with women has long been known to be a potential positive boon to all involved. Whether it's a book club, sport, hobby or self-improvement group, letting down and connecting with women may be just what the doctor ordered. - photo by Connie Sokol
Women connecting with women has long been known to be a potential positive boon to all involved. Whether it's a book club, sport, hobby or self-improvement group, letting down and connecting with women may be just what the doctor ordered.

1. Big benefits. From being part of a community, engaging in intellectual stimulation, meeting new people, creating connection or enjoying a bit of happy therapy, a womans group can fill an emotional gap.

Decide first what kind of group youre looking for, and then the purpose of the group you want to join. Some are just for friendship and connection like a lunch bunch, some focus on more seriously improving a talent or craft. Match the need with the group and youll find more satisfaction and longevity in the experience.

For example, in my Literary Ladies group, our main focus is to improve our writing. We give candid feedback on our manuscripts, which simultaneously requires vulnerability and a bit of a thick skin. We provide support, creativity and accountability. And each time, we invariably share our lives and deepen rich connections. Its beautiful and life-changing. At the core, however, we all understand that the groups ostensible purpose is to improve and support each others writing.

2. How do you start? Here are a few key tips from Juli Clark, who's been doing book clubs for 15 years and has her own Book Club Starter packet.

Choose a leader or be the leader and set up simple but clear meeting policies.

Choose women who are committed to the area of interest (reading, writing, crafting, etc.).

Choose women with clearly different or same aspects (i.e., a reading or writing group with different genres, or, all romance interest).

Keep the number close but allow for discussion (4-6 or 8-12, depending on needs).

Determine a realistic frequency of meetings (monthly, take the summer off, etc.).

Simple policies create healthy parameters. For example, no gossiping, no husband-bashing make it a safe place to share. And clarity helps participants know whats expected. A friend of mine held a card-making group for several years. Each knew if they came they would bring one finished card and X-number of kits for others to make the cards. That was a happy and understood part of being in the group.

3. If the issue is time, go online. Maybe life is swirling right now. And finding the calm in the eye of the storm doesnt allow for travel or in-person connection. Consider starting an online group. Use Facebook to start or find a group that resonates, whether for crafts, bloggers, photography, you name it. Read through previous posts to be sure its the right fit for you.

Or consider starting your own private page for a specific interest. With my Back to Basics program, women could share thoughts on my regular Facebook page but didnt necessarily want to share heart-tender experiences with everyone. For that purpose, I created Connies Corner, a private page for women practicing the principles or sharing about daily life as a woman, wife and mother. Recently one of the women experienced postpartum depression. I was so happy to see the women rally around her, sharing thoughts, ideas and comfort to help during a difficult time.

Participating in a womans group idea is powerful. Recently I was feeling a bit low and happened to have a group meeting that day. At first, I wasnt sure I should attend, not wanting to negatively affect the happy meeting energy. But ultimately, the joyful energy drew me in and I was able to give back the same. All of us left rejuvenated and ready to love and serve again.

Determine your needs, find a group that matches, and give it a go today!