January has its own special traditions. There are rites and rituals that we go through at this time of year that help us gain insight about our hopes, dreams, and expectations for the coming year.
Examining the year that’s just gone by leads, almost inevitably, to lists of favorites, bests, and most influentials. I get a kick out of these lists, as they remind me of some high points that might otherwise slip off the radar.
Keeping a Humor Journal
Reviewing the highs and lows of 2012 on a personal level can provide us with the same chance to get in touch with the emotional highlights of our history. One way to guarantee that you’ll have something to smile about when 2013 rolls around is to keep a nursing humor journal.
Many nurses are born ‘journalists’, yet refrain from keeping a personal diary for fear that it would be someday subpoenaed into evidence. A humor journal provides an outlet to feed the need to chronicle our days, with a focus on what’s been funny. Each day, make a note of what’s made you laugh. It could be as simple as a funny sign or conversation overheard on your morning commute. It’s a selection of smiles that you can relive time and time again, any time you need to.
A variation on this concept is the humor collection. Some people make a point of writing down funny quotations, while others commit to learning a new joke every week. Adding a fresh cartoon to the collection pinned to the nursing station regularly provides an opportunity to share the humor with others.
Humor Is an Active Pursuit
A key insight to take with you into 2013 is that while laughter and joy can be found spontaneously, with humor springing into our lives almost by chance, it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to passively wait for humor to show up. Through deliberate practice and directed effort, we can make humor and happiness a central part of our approach to life and nursing jobs.
We may be a little late for resolution-making season, but you really weren’t going to go to the gym four times a day anyway. The time is right to commit to being pro-active about integrating humor into your life and to start realizing the benefits of humor, which include a reduction in nurisng stress levels, emotional resiliency, and an improved sense of wellness.
Resolving to add nursing humor to your life doesn’t have to be a chore. We’re not talking about a lot of work here! Instead, promise yourself that you’ll find time to be delighted. Carving out time to watch your favorite sit-com, browsing the funny cards available at the grocery store, and making up alternate headlines for the pictures in the morning paper won’t take chunks of time out of your day – but it will add a lot of smiles, and that’s what matters!
Yours in laughter!