Millennial women are choosing nights-in over going out in the name of self-care. Here's how to make the most of your evening at home.

By Julia Malacoff
Photo: d3sign / Getty Images

Self-care is on everyone's radar, which is good news for our overworked, technology-obsessed brains. Celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Lucy Hale, and Ayesha Curry have spoken up about how self-care helps them accomplish their goals while staying sane. (Heads up: Phone-life balance is a thing, and you probably don't have it.)

A big part of self-care is knowing your limits and understanding when it's time to sit out social plans in favor of staying in. This idea has become so popular, in fact, that there's an entire online community dedicated to it, called Girls' Night In Club, which sends out a weekly newsletter of all the best stuff to do, read, and see when you're staying in. They also organize IRL book clubs for members in 10 cities around the world. The group currently has 100,000 members between their newsletter subscribers and social media followers. (More than half of millennial women made self-care their New Year's resolution for 2018.)

"I started Girls' Night In because as I entered my late 20s, I found myself going out less and inviting my friends in for an intimate evening a lot more, whether it was for drinks and a movie, or just to hang out and chat," says GNI founder Alisha Ramos.

From the start, she wanted the club to offer something a little different from the typical self-care strategies. "There is so much focus on the material goods side of self-care (like bath bombs, skin care, etc.), which are all things I love, but I saw a lack of focus on developing meaningful connections and relationships. Social and mental wellness should count just as much as physical wellness." In other words, GNI is about all the typical stuff you think of when you think about self-care *plus* cultivating a meaningful sense of community.

Mental health professionals are on board: "Staying in can offer a tremendous therapeutic benefit," says Dayna M. Kurtz, a licensed social worker and director of the Anna Keefe Women's Center at the Training Institute for Mental Health.

"Choosing to be alone can provide an opportunity to turn your attention inward, to recharge physically and emotionally, and, ultimately, to derive greater pleasure and satisfaction when you venture out again," Kurtz says. "I encourage the women to block out at least a couple of weekend days or evenings a month for a 'self-date,' as part of a regular health maintenance routine."

The benefits are real: "Alone time is important to me; it's how I refresh and regain energy," says Khalilah, 35, a therapist based in New Jersey. "Afterwards, I feel rejuvenated and less irritable, I can solve problems better, and I'm more pleasant to be around."

"As I've gotten older, I've realized the fear of missing out is not as important in my life as it once was," says Dontaira, 32, a communications strategist based in Florida. "What's important for me is to recharge and recalibrate. This involves being at home to enjoy the simple things, such as binge-watching my favorite show without interruption, taking a relaxing bath, or having a raw, authentic phone conversation full of laughs with friends who I haven't spoken to."

"I suffered from FOMO until I realized that going out every night wasn't good for my physical or mental health," says Brianna, 23, a social media specialist based in Colorado. "Now, I feel like I'm one of the few city dwellers who most nights prefers staying home over participating in bar crawls. Instead of chasing the next drink, I'm racing to finish Netflix shows, cooking dinner, doing yoga, and occasionally trying a new face mask." While she still opts to go out sometimes, she feels her lifestyle is way more balanced now. "When I started choosing 'me' instead of 'we,' I found relaxation and realized I want to live my life on my own terms, instead of being controlled by FOMO."

And while many women's preferred "night in" routines involve spending time alone, Ramos prefers to keep her self-care social, proving you really can have the best of both worlds. "My favorite way to spend a night in is to make a home-cooked meal, invite friends over, and watch something on Netflix together over cocktails. I opt to stay in on nights when I know I need time to recharge from a really busy or hectic week. Nothing beats wearing sweatpants and sipping rosé on a Friday night."

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July 5, 2018
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