Let’s face it, in families where everyone is healthy, there are only so many games of Yahtzee that can be played every night! After a while, video games get old. And walking the dog only takes about a half an hour. So, what can we do to pass the time in healthy ways?

How about humor? While some people may think it is inappropriate to be laughing and attempting humor during a pandemic, humor is a positive coping strategy for stress. Certainly, we don’t want to joke about the virus itself as some people are dying and very ill, but we can use humor to distract us from so much loss, uncertainty and bad news. We need positive coping strategies. Laughter is one of those positive strategies because

  • it brings people together.
  • it lessens tensions–we certainly need that!
  • it helps resolve conflicts–when people are getting worked up during an argument or fight, adding humor can really break the tension and help calm things down.
  • it helps us cope with life’s disappointments and right now there are a lot of disappointments of cancelled graduations, weddings, jobs on hold, and more.

Proverbs 17:22 tells us that a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Jokes and fun do ease tension, and laughter helps your physical body too. Laughing helps relax muscles, increases hormones, antibodies and killer cells necessary to fight certain diseases. And laughter has been proven to reduce negative symptoms of anxiety and depression.

We are doing our best to cope with the stay-at-home orders. Creative ways to laugh and play together have emerged. Some families have started their own version of Quarantine Olympics. For example, a family in North Caroline plays dodgeball in their house. Now, before you think of all the damage that could do to the house, they play dodgeball with rolls of toilet paper and are blindfolded. To make the game even more challenging, they spin themselves in circles before they begin. Once you are hit with a roll of toilet paper you are out! It’s silly but fun, and the family is making positive memories together.

So maybe it’s time to get in touch with your inner child, laugh and be inventive with family fun. Find some good jokes and do a family stand-up hour. Watch a funny movie together, play a game that requires creativity like Pictionary or Charades. Whatever you choose to break the tension, remember, laughter is good medicine!

Using humor to cope with stay-at-home

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