Have you ever been taking care of someone and they say or do something that makes you laugh but you hold it in? Have you ever wondered why you did that? To lighten the mood and get you in the right temperament read the following statements out loud:
- I give myself permission to laugh.
- I give my care recipient permission to laugh.
- I can laugh when I am stressed out.
- I can laugh at the situation and yes, it will be OK.
- Humor is a good thing.
Humor can be so easily lost in the potential daily grind of caregiving activities. However, finding humor as a caregiver cannot only decompress any situation but it can actually have positive health improvements for you and your care recipient.
How Humor Positively Impacts Caregivers
Laughter can be your medicine. The positive health effects of laughter are profound. By allowing yourself to laugh you are improving your health. If you are healthy and have a positive attitude, then you are a more effective caregiver. Here are some of the health benefits of laughter:
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased blood flow
- Increased antibodies and an elevated immune response
- Reduction of chronic pain
- It is good aerobic exercise!
Humor can be a communication tool. You can use humor as a way to ease tension and stress when communicating with an aging adult. Laughter can help improve someone’s physical condition, build a trusting relationship by releasing nervous energy, and create a more comfortable setting. What you need to be careful of is the following:
- Don’t use humor at the person’s expense
- Avoid humor when you need to have a serious and personal medical conversation
- Be mindful of humor being perceived as passive-aggressive
- Be aware of the person’s condition and the ability to understand the underlying humor
Sometimes it is just hard to laugh when there is so much happening all at once. The key takeaway is that laughter and humor are good for you. You need to allow yourself to de-stress with a good laugh and keep your mood more positive. To end this with humor, Jeff Foxworthy said it best, “if you start dividing your M&Ms into a pill box… you might be a caregiver.”