Pandemic Laughter

March 30, 2020

By Toni O’Keeffe

I am amazed at how immature I have become during this global pandemic.
I’ve been spending my days eating snacks, playing dress up with my dog, laughing at a litany of silly dog videos, lounging in the same clothes for days, watching way too much TV, FaceTiming girlfriends and laughing about the most ridiculous things.
I’ve become the sloppy 12 year old kid I used to yell at to go clean “his” room on a Saturday afternoon.
Does this mean that I think this pandemic is a joke? Absolutely not.
On the inside, I have never been so scared for humanity.
On the days I have to go out without a mask, without gloves, without hand sanitizer to pick up medications and supplies for my mom, I’ve been scared. As I stand in ridiculously long (but very quiet) lineups, I’m worried someone is going to cough or sneeze on me, it’s all a bit surreal.

I’m grateful to those that go into the world to work every day putting themselves at risk so we can get groceries, medications and supplies. I’m equally thankful to the ones taking care of our most vulnerable citizens, including those taking care of my my Mom. And, my niece Shannon who’s taking care the children at her childcare centre and my neice Moira who is taking care of the employees on her construction site as their safety officer.

As I watch the news, my thoughts and heart are always with my colleagues, family and friends in the healthcare system that are working hard and diligently to get us through this. I’m scared for them and their families. I have silently prayed for their well being and wept for the fear I know they face every day.
For many of us, being silly and seeking out humour, even craving it, is a coping mechanism. It’s what we have to do.
A study done at Stanford university shows that humour is a more effective coping strategy than being solemn or sad. Projecting humor is healthier than cynicism, as cynicism can lead to depression and weakness or entire immune system.

To those that get offended by the silliness and nonsense showing up on your news feed, now is a good time to get over it and try to understand it.

To those craving humour right now, know that your desire to seek out the silly, the nonsensical or the hilarious during such a difficult time is normal and healthy for your mind, body and soul.

Laughter is like a lantern, it doesn’t eliminate the darkness, it gets us through it.
If we can find the light, the laughter, the love and the patience, during difficult times, we are heading in the right direction.

Big love ( and lots of laughter) to you all❤️🤪

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