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!

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.

Managing Adversity: The Resilience Mindset

By Roz Jones

In order to move from a place of simply surviving in life to a place of thriving, resilience is a necessary trait. At a basic level resilience is our ability to bounce back from tragedies and difficulties we encounter in life. 

At a more complex level, the resilience mindset embraces the idea that true resilience is our ability to navigate life, adapt to change, learn through adversity, and understand our feelings and emotional responses to situations. In order for this to be achieved, there must be a high level of personal awareness and insight which leads to a deep understanding of self (O’Keeffe, 2019). 

Resilience is an asset when it comes to managing adversity and taking on the role of a caregiver because it helps us to overcome it. Rather than crumbling under the pressure and weight of every challenge we encounter, we become able to assess the challenge, learn and grow from it as we go through it, and then move forward with the lessons we’ve been taught (O’Keeffe, 2019). It is resilience that empowers us to continue moving forward, learning, and growing, and building on the things we are learning in life. 

Keys to Developing a Resilient Mindset

In order to develop a resilient mindset, there are several qualities and practices that can be implemented. The following outlines several of those qualities and practices and their relation to the development of resilience. 

  • Optimism: A strong trait of those with a resilient mindset is an intentional optimistic outlook when approaching challenging situations. The way a person views a situation shapes the approach they take when dealing with the situation. 

A more positive outlook tends to yield a more positive outcome because individuals see opportunities as opposed to obstacles, and thus enthusiastically address issues versus hesitantly avoiding them (Mind Tools, 2020). Leading psychologist Martin Seligman explains that optimism is linked to resilience in that it helps people’s views on permanence, pervasiveness, and the personalization of hardships. 


Optimism leads people to see bad events as temporary rather than permanent, to prevent setbacks from impacting unrelated areas of their lives, and to not blame themselves when bad events occur. Thus, people can better pivot ad recover from challenges they experience (Mind Tools, 2020). 

  • Focus on What You Can Control: Learning to focus on what is within your control and releasing those things that are not is an important part of developing resilience. It is only those things within our control we have the ability to influence, thus exerting physical or mental and emotional energy on things outside of our control is mismanagement of time and energy (Miller, 2020). Individuals who spend their time and energy on what they can control become more resilient because they put their efforts towards those things that will have the greatest impact and produce the most results. This allows them to actually be effective and respond better to situations that arise (Mind Tools, 2020). 
  • Self-Awareness: Self-awareness is critical to the development of a resilient mindset. Self-awareness helps us to assess areas of ourselves and our lives where we need to improve and areas of our lives that are producing favorable results.

Self-awareness offers us key insights about ourselves that we can use to change, adapt, grow, or alter ourselves, our environment, or other elements. This ultimately contributes to resilience by helping us keep patterns and habits that help us adapt and respond to challenges while becoming aware of and purging patterns and habits that work against our goals and pursuits. 

If we can cultivate a resilient mindset our ability to cope with challenges in our lives will be strengthened. Rather than being overcome by negative situations and circumstances we will become empowered to overcome those situations and circumstances. By implementing the practices mentioned and others like it, we’ll be one step closer to better navigating the difficulties we encounter. 

References:

Miller, K. (2020). 5+ ways to develop a growth mindset using grit and resilience. PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/5-ways-develop-grit-resilience/

Mind Tools. (2020). Developing resilience: Overcoming and growing from setbacks. https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/resilience.htm

O’Keeffe, S. (2019, March 11). 4 aspects of a resilient mindset. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/4-aspects-of-a-resilient-mindset/

Care for Caregivers

By Roz Jones

If you’re caring for an aging parent or facing the challenges of assisting a loved one or friend who is chronically ill, disabled or elderly, you are not alone. You are one of the 22 million Americans who care for an older adult. Caregivers provide 80 percent of in-home care, but unlike nurses and home health aids, they are unpaid for their labor of love. 

“Caregiving is a difficult job that can take a toll on relationships, jobs and emotional well-being,” says Dr. Elizabeth Clark, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers. “Those who care for others need to be sure to take care of themselves, as well.”

Here are some important tips for caregivers:

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help 

We tend to wait until we are in crisis before asking for help and consultation. Seek out the help of a licensed clinical social worker or other trained professional.

It’s Not Easy to Tell Your Parents What to Do 

The most difficult thing about caring for a parent is the day you have to tell them they need to have help, they can no longer drive or they may have to move from their home. Discuss long-term care wishes and desires before any decline happens. 

Take Care of Your Mental Health

It is not unusual to feel frustrated with your parents or children when they refuse your input and help. Seek a referral to a professional who can help you cope with your personal issues and frustrations. 

Stay Informed

We live in a world of constant change. Medications and treatments are constantly changing and the only way to keep up-to-date is to stay informed with the latest news. Attend local caregiver conferences, participate in support groups, speak with friends and relatives, and talk with professionals in the field of gerontology and geriatrics. 

Take Time Out

Caregivers who experience feelings of burnout need to accept that occasionally they may need a break from their loved one in order to provide him or her with the best care.

Laugh

Humor and laughter are tremendous healers.

Hire Help

If possible, you may want to hire help. The most important thing is to find trustworthy people to provide assistance. Use recommended home care agencies, talk with friends about their experiences and interview professionals before deciding on the one you are going to retain.