Even though caregiving can be stressful you’ve probably experienced at least a few moments that gave you a good laugh, or at the very least, made you smile. Being able to find humour while dealing difficult situations is a helpful caregiver tool to have. Humour is good for both the caregiver and the person being cared for.
It’s realistic to know that not everyday will be great and go according to plan, especially when caring for someone with a serious illness. Plus, there are those times that laughing or making light of a situation, even with good intentions, won’t be appreciated by the person in your care.
Having a positive attitude can affect how you’re able to cope with stress and difficult situations, but it’s also about knowing the person in your care and understanding what they need from you and how they’ll react to things.
Laughing improves caregiver well-being so for those times when humour is appreciated, here are some simple ways to share joy and humour in your caregiving experience:
Find joy in the little things
Is there a certain activity that you and the person in your care find enjoyable? Maybe it’s working in the garden, savouring a morning coffee, or reading the newspaper together. Finding a small activity or moment throughout the day that you both enjoy can give you something to look forward to. It also allows for a nice break, which is especially appreciated during a stressful caregiving day.
We’ll laugh about this later
Then there are the moments that at the time are stressful and require your immediate attention and care. Later, once the urgency is over, when you think about what happened, you're able to laugh. (Hopefully together!)
Laughter is the best medicine
They say that laughter is the best medicine. Although it may not cure a serious illness, it does a lot to help lighten the mood. Being able to laugh together is a nice way to connect with the person in your care. Sharing an inside joke or finding a common sense of humour is a great way to strengthen your bond. Sometimes even breaking out into a laugh when trying to accomplish a difficult or uncomfortable task will help ease the tension.
Humour and coping with stress
Being able to find humour in a challenging situation can help you cope with difficult emotions. There will be hard days as a caregiver, but being able to balance these with some lighter moments can help you manage and can even act as a stress relief. Read our Elizz articles on identifying and managing caregiver stress.
Remember, being able to find humour in caregiving isn't a sign of disrespect or insensitivity towards the person in your care. It's often a way to make it through a difficult situation, and remain positive when facing caregiving challenges.
As a caregiver, your positive energy will have an affect on the person in your care. People easily pick up on the moods of others, and particularly when the person in your care isn't feeling their best they need your positive outlook to help them through.
Encouraging the person in your care to laugh, and to feel free to find humour in everyday situations can help ease some of the tension that is experienced while caregiving. You might also like our article on 10 Caregiver Stress Relievers that Every Caregiver Should Practice.
Feeling stressed, angry, or overwhelmed won't make the situation you're in any better. Recognize and appreciate the lighter moments throughout the day.
What are some moments that made you laugh while caregiving?