We have just finished analyzing the results of our 2 year De Las Mías study! And our research confirms that a healthy lifestyle journey goes better if you have a comadre by your side! Yes, it’s true. Supportive friendships have been proven to help us make our lives better, and health is no exception. Social support and supportive friendships are keys to making healthy changes and having a healthy life.
In our work with our comadres at De Las Mías, we have come across several great ideas on how to nurture healthy and supportive relationships. Would you like to have a group of women support you in your healthy lifestyle journey? You can do that by inviting your girlfriends, comadres, madrinas, hermanas and tías to download the app and join the De Las Mías digital community. You can also start your own in-person De Las Mías Support Group. Here’s how!
How to Create a Comadre Support Group
1. Make a date
Invite 3 to 5 of your best friends and comadres who are ready to start living a healthier lifestyle. Agree on how often you will meet. We recommend once a week for 4 weeks. Then decide if you want to continue to meet once a week or go for every two weeks. This might be stating the obvious, but do what works for your group.
2. Take Turns
A great way to build support and confianza is for each person to take 3-5 minutes and give an update of what is on her mind without interruptions or advice. This is great practice. I don’t know about you but my comadres and I are constantly interrupting each other! You get your own special 3 minutes to say what is on your mind. Then the next comadre takes her turn.
3. Ask First
After you go around the circle and each one has shared without interruptions, you can respectfully ask if they want advice. If they say yes, offer your words of wisdom.
4. Speak from Your Own Experience
Try to speak your own truth. Say things like, “This is what worked for me,” or “This is what I did that really helped.” Avoid saying, “You should…”
5.Share Your Goals
¿Sabes qué? Research shows that if you tell someone that you are making a change it increases your chances of sticking to it. Next time you are having a group meeting or even just sharing a private cafecito with your best friends, state your goal out loud. “Comadre, I am committing to cutting back on Gummy Bears.” (Or Oreo cookies, or chicharrones, or Doritos. You get the picture.)
Getting together on a regular basis to share your goals, frustrations and progress will get you to your healthy goals a lot quicker than doing it alone. Plus, it will be more fun!
Activities for Your Comadre Support Group
- Do you want to walk more and sit less? ¿Sabes qué? If you commit to going on a walk with your comadrita 3 times a week for just 15 minutes, you are much more likely to do it. You might even do it for longer!
- Start a Healthy Lifestyle Group at work. If you are lucky enough to get an hour for lunch, eat your lunch for 30 minutes and then go for a healthy walk for 30 minutes. If you can’t go for 30, go for 15! We know a group of 3 teachers that pitch in and buy the makings for healthy salads for lunch for the work week. They share the cost of the groceries, make healthy salads to share, and then go for a 20 minute walk. They feel great and have even shed a few pounds without getting obsessive and ‘all loca’ about it. Try it!
- Is there a pretty street or an interesting neighborhood that you have often admired on your way home from work? Gather your comadres in your car-cancha, drive there and then go for a long walk. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town with a plaza, like Santa Fe, Albuquerque or Mesilla, New Mexico, cruise around the plaza and take in the beautiful adobe architecture of your ancestors.
- Design a treasure hunt! Get some fun little objects like a shell, an old door knob, a porcelain duck, and an old teddy bear. Hide the objects around your neighborhood or the nearby park. Give your crew some clues and go walking for treasures. Take the kids or take your kid at heart.
- Make my day and go for a De Las Mías group bike ride! Take pictures and share them with us so we can post them on our Instagram feed! (I have a bias! I LOVE MY BICI! And I want you to love your bici too!)
- Walk and pray! I am not kidding. I found a group of comadres and compadres in Silver City, New Mexico that used to pray the rosary while they walked laps around the field of the local high school.
- Do you have a book group? How about getting together to discuss an article from the De Las Mías blog? Combine it with a healthy potluck from our delicious collection of De Las Mías recipes.
- Find a cause! Once you form a comadre support group, find a cause you can all support. If you can’t give money, give time. Make a difference in your community.
- Craft day! Pick a date once a month or every three months and get together with your comadres to do something with your hands. We come from a long tradition of women getting together to sew, knit, and embroider. Start your own tradition with your supportive friends and comadres. I have a group in Hood River, Oregon that gets together to make Valentine cards, or hand-made regalitos.
- Have a clothing exchange party! Each comadre brings 2-3 items of clothing that they want to share. Bring 3 and take 3, or give away what doesn’t get exchanged to a good cause like Salvation Army, St. Vincent’s de Paul, Goodwill or the local Women’s Shelter.
There are many ways to get together with your comadres to improve your chances of living a healthier, more joyful and more supported life! It really helps if the comadres in your group also want to live a healthier life. You may all be in different stages of the journey (and that’s okay!), but doing it together builds confianza and success. Share your goals, your frustrations and your triumphs. We are better together, Comadres!
¡Unidas for a Healthy Life!