Using Humor to Resolve Conflict in Your Relationship

By Roz Jones

As caregivers sometimes conflicts can brew all day between you and the one you are providing care. There are times when as a caregiver the combatants are at a crisis point, and it feels like the entire office is holding their collective breath waiting to see what happens next. At this point, they’re ready for bloodshed, or at the very least, some very strong words. 

The last thing they expect is for one of the key players in the conflict to open their mouth and… make a joke?

Maybe it doesn’t feel like a resolution to the conflict, but actually, laughter goes far beyond being the clichéd ‘best medicine.’  How? First of all, laughter takes the tension out of the situation, which exactly is what’s needed to regain perspective, build stronger bonds, and yes, sometimes smooth over the differences. 

How then do you effectively use humor to resolve conflicts?

1. Make sure that both parties are ‘in on the joke.’ By keeping humor wholesome – not at the expense of the other person, you’re focusing on inviting them to laugh with you, rather than laughing at them. How can you tell if you’re doing it right? Humor is tricky, and so your best indicator of getting it right is to gauge the other person’s reactions. If they’re not laughing, chances are they don’t find it funny. Stop!

2. Check to make sure that you’re using humor as a defensive weapon rather than as a positive tool. If you’re using humor to mask emotions that you’d rather not deal with right now, then it’s time to put a flag on the play. Stop immediately and ask yourself what it is that you’re not dealing with and why. 

3. Work on that sense of humor. Every good comedian knows how to read their audience. The same goes for using humor with another person, especially in a situation that’s already a conflict. Watch the nonverbal cues. What language are you using? Keep the tone positive and light, and mean it. That means don’t use jokes as a means of cruelty. Lastly, consider what you might use as an inside joke. Inside jokes not only keep the situation light but create a deeper intimacy with whom you conflict.

4. Most importantly, be Playful! A little bit of silly fun is a good thing. Not sure how to tap into that kind of fun and crazy side? Explore humor in other ways so that you always have a repertoire to fall back on. Watch things you find funny on TV or in movies. Listen to jokes. Read the funnies. Find that side of you that likes to play and encourage it with creativity and fun. 

And no matter what, cut yourself some slack. It takes practice to be funny. Keep at it, and you’ll find your natural sense of humor, and be able to tap into it when you need to. That conflict won’t know what hit it!

Can Exercise Improve Your Focus & Concentration?

By: Roz Jones

As caregivers it is easy to forget or remain focused when you are taking care of a loved one.  So how can you get back on track. Simply put, physical exercise is beneficial to just about every aspect of the body. Everything from improved heart health, weight management, increased vitality and, of course, looking better in the mirror are all side effects of a consistent exercise routine. 

However, the benefits available through exercise go much further than skin deep. Challenging your body physically also has the ability to greatly improve your cognitive function and brain health. 

If you tend to struggle with focus and concentration, you are certainly not alone. Today’s society is more distracted than ever before. Every waking hour of the day (and even while you sleep), there are phone notifications, noisy neighbors and a long list of other distractions all competing for your attention. 

While you may never have considered exercise as a viable method of improving your ability to focus, this article will support this notion with several research studies that should change your mind. 

In a study performed on a group of Dutch students, researchers used objective measures to gauge the attention span of students after dividing them into three groups. One group of students performed two twenty-minute bouts of moderate exercise intermittently during their morning lessons, another group was allowed one twenty minute exercise session, while the third group remained seated throughout the same time period. 

As you can probably guess, the groups that were allowed to exercise scored significantly higher on attention span assessments, with the first group scoring even higher than the students exercising for only one session. 

Another study supporting the use of exercise to improve focus and concentration was conducted in 2007 using students in Massachusetts. For the sake of brevity, this study concluded that students receiving at least 56 hours of physical exercise each school year scored higher than their peers who only performed 28 hours of exercise. 

This is an interesting proponent of the idea that physical exercise should remain an integral part of the education system. Usually, supporters of this idea state the rising levels of obesity and diabetes in school-aged individuals is the primary reason for including physical activity throughout the school year. While this is certainly an issue, the cognitive benefits available to students who exercise more is a strong argument as well. 

The website, Positive Psychology, describes how physical activity triggers a biological response in the brain that improves focus and concentration. During exercise, the brain releases a chemical known as BDNF, which is known to be responsible for nourishing brain cells and allowing new neural pathways to form inside the brain.

Furthermore, regular exercise increases a neurotransmitter known as norepinephrine. This results in a heightened sense of alertness, energy, and concentration. 

In conclusion, the human body is designed to remain in motion. The term, “use it or lose it,” is an extremely applicable way to describe how without exercise, many important aspects of our anatomy suffer. 

While the purpose of this article is to illustrate the fact that you can certainly improve your focus and concentration by dedicating some time in your schedule to get moving, the benefits of physical activity are critical to your quality of life as a whole. 

If you are looking for a great way to overcome the never-ending flurry of distractions present in your life that can also nourish your body as a whole, get into the habit of giving your body the physical activity that it requires. 

Works Cited 

10 Neurological Benefits of Exercise. (2020, April 16). Retrieved from https://positivepsychology.com/exercise-neurological-benefits/ 

Can You Improve Concentration Through Exercise? – EuroPace. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.europace.org/can-you-improve-concentration-through-exercise/ 

How physical exercise makes your brain work better. (2016, June 18). Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jun/18/how-physical-exercise-makes-your-brain-work-better 

5 Key Tenets of Self-Care

By: Roz Jones

As a caregiver are you at practicing self-care? Self-care entails taking the time to manage our individual physical, mental and emotional wellness. Good self-care habits are essential in terms of how we view ourselves and our ability to interact with others. 

You may be very good at taking care of others but how good are you at caring for yourself? Self-care is a component of our physical and mental wellness that we do not discuss enough. It requires us to be quite deliberate in how we go about taking care of yourself which can feel selfish and, on some levels, overwhelming. 

When was the last time you took a day or even a week off to decompress and explore the meaning of life? We often store our days and guard them like gold, preserving them for times of illness or family vacation days. Self-care practitioners challenge themselves on this philosophy. They focus on finding a healthy balance that allows for self-preservation without sacrificing all of the other things they hold as being equally important such as family, career, and community. 

Practicing self-care allows us to be there in the way they want to be for others. 

How Do You Know if Your Failing at Self-Care

Some tell-tale signs that you might be failing in the self-care department include feelings of being stressed, feeling burned out and poor physical health. Illnesses are often taxing on your body to the point you are forced to take time away from work, and it can take quite a while to recharge after such an event. 

Another sign that you may be failing in the realm of self-care is if you rarely allow others to do something for you. Self-care can also mean having the skillset to enable others to take the reins of a situation while you take a break or focus on other tasks that need your attention. 

Tenets of Self-Care

According to Psychology Today, proper self-care can create a pathway to you better managing your stress and ultimately living your best life. It can serve as armor that protects the energy that is necessary for your survival. 

Here are five tenets to put you on course to practicing better self-care. 

Know When Just to Say ‘No’

As humans, we all have limits in our capabilities. Taking on more than we can do for an extended period can wear you down, draining you, robbing you of your ability to be creative and effective in other ways ranging from the workplace to your home life. 

Practicing self-care requires you to establish clear boundaries on behalf of yourself with others who may or may not have your best interests at heart. 

Schedule Self-Care Activities

Self-care does not just happen spontaneously. You have to schedule the time and actively commit to seeing those plans through to the end. Additionally, you may have to ensure others are aware of your plans to ensure they don’t unknowingly push you to put their needs ahead of yours.

Make Sleep and Rest a Priority

Sleep may not seem like a stand-alone tenet, but you should not underestimate the necessity of recharging your body. Sleep, rest, relaxation, and meditation can all contribute to replenishing your body and giving it a much-needed restoration period. 

Additionally, it helps to keep your mind sharp and can also aid in allowing you to sustain a healthy mood and outlook on life and interacting with others. 

Find Fitness

If fitness is not your strong point, look for ways to naturally incorporate some form of fitness into your day. Challenge yourself to find something you find joy in doing whether it’s going for walks, swimming, kickboxing, dancing around your home solo or finding a Zumba class to get you moving. Self-care is not only about getting adequate rest, taking a day off or keeping your doctor’s appointments. It’s also about helping your body to stay fit. 

Socialize with Others

Socialize with others. Self-care can also be about tending to those relationships that make us feel good. Healthy relationships are essential for our emotional and physical well-being. We all get busy from time to time and incorporating our friends and family into our busy schedule can seem impossible. However, our connections are a must-have. Look for ways to nurture those relationships –even if it means becoming the organizer of those get-togethers. 

Take the time today to assess your life and whether or not you are practicing self-care. You don’t have to make sweeping changes all at once if you find a few areas are lacking. Target a single area at a time and make small adjustments. You will be amazed by the overall improvement that begins to take hold of your life. 

Better Self-Care for Caregivers

By: Roz Jones

As a caregiver It can be difficult to make time for self-care in our busy schedules. We run from one commitment to another, filling every gap in our life with work, study, family and social events. The chaos of a caregiver modern life makes it even more important that we take the time to care for our individual wellbeing, both physically and mentally. If you are struggling with your own self-care, consider these five tips to improve your habits.

1. Add self-care to your normal routine

When planning your weekly schedule, make sure that you have time for self-care. Cementing its place in your routine means that you will be more likely to commit to self-care as you will have allocated time specifically reserved for it. The more often you practice self-care, the more it will become a habit and part of your regular life. 

2. Do what suits you

Self-care looks for different for everyone. Some people enjoy getting outdoors, others like catching up with friends and some people prefer sitting at home losing themselves in a good book or movie. Identify what makes you feel better and commit to that. Don’t feel pressured by what others consider self-care; long walks aren’t for everyone.

3. Practice gratitude

Engaging in regular gratitude practice is a valuable habit and a worthwhile way to spend your allocated self-care time. Take some time each day or week to write down three things that you are grateful for. Try to think of unique things that have happened for that week, rather than repeating the same common things each time. It may be difficult at first, but the more you practice gratitude the easier it will become. Regular participation in gratitude exercises trains your brain to be more thankful and positive about the things you have in your life, rather than focusing on the things you don’t have or things that aren’t going so well. 

4. Be brave and try something new

Trying something new is a great way to break the monotony of everyday life. Your mental health will benefit and you will learn new skills, both through the actual activity but also in regard to managing your nerves and being open to new opportunities. It’s a great way to take care of your mental, and depending on the activity, physical health.

5. Detox from social media

Social media can be a great way to keep in touch with people, but in can also lead to resentment through comparison. If you are feeling overwhelmed or finding yourself in a rut, take a break of social media to become more present and rejuvenate in the real world.

5 Fun Things To Do To Get Your and Your Family’s Mind Off Your Troubles

By: Roz Jones

There are a lot of troubles facing the world today. With Covid and pandemic anxiety causing upheaval in our lives we can easily get lost in all the fear and negativity. This does not help our peace of mind nor does it promote serenity and inner peace. 

For those with kids forced to learn remotely due to the pandemic, this year’s back to school certainly looks much different than ever before. Your kids are likely anxious too and uneasy because their routine is no longer routine. 

It is okay to take your mind off all the bad news. It is okay to not watch the news this week. AND it is okay to take some time for yourself and do something fun!

Here are some ideas for 5 fun things you can do to get your and your family’s mind off your troubles.

  1. Comedy movie night with your family. Grab the popcorn, get a hilarious DVD, or find one on your favorite movie streaming service and just laugh. Laughter is a known healer. According to Mayo Clinic, “Whether you’re guffawing at a sitcom on TV or quietly giggling at a newspaper cartoon, laughing does you good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke.”

According to Help Guide, “With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.”

  1. Game night. Games are fun to play in groups, and there are many to choose from, including the good ole tried and true charades. Gather your family or a couple of friends (keep it at 2 or 3 max maintain pandemic safety) and have a ball. 
  1. Create a hiking treasure hunt. Find a nature spot near your home and go and hide some stuff out there. Create hints for those you invite to find the stuff and give a prize to the first person to gather everything on the list. This is a great activity that you can do with your kids, family members and friends. It also gets you outdoors where nature can help clear your mind and reduce stress.

    According to Stress.org, “A study by Science Direct found that spending time outdoors can help improve mental health. According to their research, nature excursions can help alleviate feelings of time pressure and mental stress.”
  1. Cook a gourmet meal and have a family formal dinner party. If you like to cook but never had the time, now is a great time to make that gourmet meal. Gather the recipes, go shop and get cooking. Have your family including the kids engage in the cooking and set up process. Get out the fine china and have a formal dinner party with formal attire and all. This is a great experience for the kids to have and something they are not usually exposed to. If you are single, do the same by inviting a couple of friends over. 
  1. Disco Saturday Night. You likely can’t go to a nightclub right now, but you can create one at home. If you can swing the cost buy a cheap disco ball on eBay, or just get some blue and red light bulbs for your living room. Create a playlist, or perhaps you have some old disco CD’s laying around (don’t worry we won’t tell anyone). Set up a bar and make drinks, turn out the lights, and let the music take you to fun zone! 

Don’t wallow in your troubles, distract your mind, and have some fun! It’s good your mind, body, and spirit!

6 Constructive Ways To Deal With A Challenge

By Roz Jones

Life would be boring without challenges, even if you wish for just a day without some type of complication. However, just because you face difficult times doesn’t mean you won’t overcome them. 

It doesn’t matter whether you face challenges in your personal life, relationships or in your career, it’s common to plunge into a fight or flight and run in the opposite direction. 

It’s normal to feel compelled to run from problems instead of dealing with them head-on. The worst possible way to deal with challenges is to run, you have to face them. Luckily, we have six constructive ways for you to deal with a challenge. 

  1. Accept Reality 

You cannot control or change people. There are also things in life that you cannot control. You don’t need to understand why, all that matters is that you accept the reality that you can’t change anyone. You might see this challenge and think it’s your job to change it, but that just isn’t the case. You are more likely to progress the situation if you are able to accept the reality of it and deal with the challenges accordingly. 

  1. Don’t Lay Blame

It’s easy to paint yourself as the victim and blame everyone else but it is much more productive to take responsibility for the actions you take, the words you speak, and the decisions that you make. When you blame others for your challenges, you make yourself unlikeable, and simply make the challenge more difficult to overcome. Don’t point fingers, problem solve. 

  1. Detachment

It won’t be easy to do but detach yourself from the outcome. This allows you to analyze a situation from a more objective standpoint. It’s difficult to make the right decisions when you are attached to a particular result. 

For example, imagine that your challenge is the nerves you feel ahead of a public speaking appointment. How does this relate? You’re nervous and you are afraid of how people will react to you and your content. 

The fact of the matter is that not everyone will appreciate what you have to say. That doesn’t matter – you can’t allow yourself to get worked up over that, your job is to deliver the speech in the best way you can. The most efficient way to do so is to detach yourself from the situation. 

  1. Don’t Over-analyze

Overthinking is the worst possible thing you can do in any challenging situation. When you allow yourself to think about it too much you give doubt too much say. Over-analyzing in any situation makes it more difficult for you to accept the reality of it all, you will just increase that little voice that’s whispering that something isn’t right. It’s going to take you away from reaching your goal and just increase your frustration. 

  1. Embrace Change

Change happens all of the time, and challenges are a daily occurrence for so many people. No one really likes change, and while there are people who just get on with it, others can’t help but resist it at every turn. Often, the reason for this is that change forces people to live outside their comfort zone. You may be unhappy about change, but it’s not a permanent state and that’s what’s important to remember. You have to learn to accept change.

  1. No Comparisons

Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing – don’t worry about how they overcome challenges. This will just result in more frustration and you will always feel like you’re second (or third) best. You are responsible for creating your own success, you write your story – remember that when you find yourself facing a challenge.

One of the biggest reactions to dealing with challenges is overreacting – if you don’t learn how to control your emotions you will make decisions you later regret. Remember that when you next face a challenge.