Friday Reflections: Laughter, the Antidote to Burnout
I’m going to make this week’s reflection a short one, but do not for one minute think that this topic is not important. In fact, it is so important it is life saving.
Life is hard. Pair that with being a teacher, and it is a whole other brand of hard. There are days we literally contemplate beating our heads against the wall. Teacher burnout is at record rates. Educators care first and foremost about kids. However, I will be vulnerable enough to say that sometimes the reason I rush to work is to support some of the people I love most in this world, my colleagues.
In my line of work, I bear witness to situations that would make some people physically sick. The environments that some of our kids are growing up in break every piece of my heart. I have a choice. I can view my days as hours spent in a world of hurt or I can sift through the ashes for the seeds I have played a part in planting.
In order to hang on to hope you have to maintain the energy to keep your heart light while your mind is heavy. That is where laughter comes in. I am of the belief that we can always find a time and reason to laugh. If you think that I am being silly (pun intended) then just check out why it is so important.
Fact #1: Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
Fact#2: Laughter triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Fact #3: Laughter can help you tone your abs. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs.
Fact #4: Laughter is healthy for your heart. It helps your heart by increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood and kicking up your heart rate.
Fact #5: Laughter is one of the ways your body can help regulate cortisol. Laughing increases your oxygen intake, which stimulates body circulation and decreases your cortisol levels causing stress-relieving effects.
Fact #6: Laughing stimulates circulation and can relieve your muscles of extra stress for up to 45 minutes.
Laughing is crucial to being the best version of you. Find your people inside and outside of work who know how to make you smile and down right belly laugh. This group of people will give you the respite in the storm. They will be the reason you can muster up the heart to return after a hellacious day. They will be the life saving energy you need to get through those never ending days.
Laugh. Laugh for no reason. Laugh because you want to. Laugh because why the hell not? When people walk around moping and grumpy no one wonders why. This is the norm of life. When people walk around with a smile, people wonder what the hell is the matter with them. We never really seem to need a reason to be unhappy, so why do we need a reason to be happy?