Thu, 18 Feb 2021 11:19:09 GMT
It’s been almost a year since our everyday lives and the ‘norm’ changed. My approach to dealing with this change was always not to look too far ahead and just take each day as it comes. But, a year later and with so much uncertainty still on the horizon, it’s not surprising that this is becoming increasingly difficult. Recent data revealed that the number of people suffering from mental health conditions particularly those between the ages of 19-45 has risen exponentially. Many people are also experiencing what is being called ‘pandemic burnout’ – prolonged stress leading to loss of concentration, poor sleep, and memory issues. Not surprisingly, many of us are experiencing it.
There is a vast amount of information out there with advice on how to deal with ‘burnout’. Change your environment, exercise, eat well, try a relaxing activity, seek support etc. However, even the activities that are designed to help with burnout can sometimes feel like a chore in themselves. That’s not to say all those things don’t work, but after a year of trying to avoid burnout and umpteenth hours of walking and baking banana bread, it’s not unexpected that these activities might have lost their initial healing powers.
So, this got me thinking about what has helped me this week? Laughter. This time from a surprising source - Rod Ponton, an unassuming Texan lawyer and a rather amusing mishap on Zoom.
Humour unites us. Whether you’re a cat fan or not, seeing a lawyer attempting to continue court proceedings whilst uttering the words ‘I’m not a cat’ is pretty funny. The icing on the cake was the cat's mouth moving in tandem with Ponton’s and the slightly pained expression on the feline mirroring the timbre of Ponton’s voice.
I’ve had many giggles as a result of that clip. Whether that is with friends, family or colleagues we all agreed it’s hard not to laugh at the video. But the video reminds us of a bigger theme; the role that humour plays in our lives, and how this year it’s going to be even more important. Because as is the theme of Red Nose Day 2021: ‘Funny is Power’. Humour not only connects us, but it also has health benefits - it can reduce stress hormone levels, lower blood pressure, and increase your overall sense of well-being.
So, I’m looking forward to seeing how companies include a little humour into the overall approach towards employee health and wellbeing. My advice? All meetings going forward should involve a cat filter.