OK, I know what you're thinking..."How can I possibly find humor when this illness is so serious?" I understand. There were times I felt that way, too. But, you know what? Lack of a sense of humor can, if not kill you, make you miserable enough to wish it did! As a caregiver, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, whether you are dealing directly with a loved one's daily care, or doing it though others at a distance. Stress is stress, and it's basically bad for you in whatever form it takes. Humor can wipe stress out, and reset your whole being into a happier, calmer state, and make life a whole lot more liveable. Humor can help you avoid being sucked into seriousness over and over again until it feels like you are mired in quicksand and sinking deeper by the minute. Humor can actually be your lifeline and help preserve your sanity.
So, how, you say, do I get my dose of humor? Well, that's a highly individual and personal choice. There are many answers: funny movies, Erma Bombeck or other humorous columnist or author, a daily dose of humor via the internet, such as a joke a day, the comics in the newspaper (or virtual version) or a page a day calendar with funny sayings. Situational humor may appeal, such as watching a farce or, my own personal fave, Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean has me in stitches with his silent comedic talents. You may have your own favorite stand up comedian. Whatever makes you laugh is good! This isn't just my opinion, by the way, but has been documented through studies, reflecting the benefits of belly laughs.
I actually often found humor in my mother's little habits and sayings. She would often repeat the poem, "Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone, they want full measure of your pleasure, but they do not want your woe." I guess if a saying had to be stuck in repeat mode, that was a good one to replay. After hearing that over and over, one day I happened upon a little wooden plaque that made a pun of this poem: "Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone..." I hung this in a prominent spot where it brought a chuckle each time I glanced at it. Little doses of humor count, too. Be creative!
So choose your brand of humor and start laughing your way to better health!
Karen is a compassionate, enthusiastic student of life, who cared for her mother for 17 years. She brings her insights, compassion, experience and desire to share knowledge and healing to this ongoing conversation with others on the caregiving path. If you are caring for a parent, spouse, friend or other loved one this site offers sanity-saving tips, open-hearted self-care ideas, and an open forum for discussion, connection and sharing resources for the journey.
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