Self-Care for 2020 Holiday Blues: Pt. 2 – Start Laughing!

My previous post was something of an introduction to facing the 2020 holiday season when feeling less than jolly. I mentioned the need to develop what I call your personal Emotional First Aid Kit. Your Emotional First Aid Kit (EFAK) is your kit – it includes a plan and items that work for you. Your kit won’t look like mine, and vice versa. Remember to include things that nourish, heal, and uplift your soul wherever you may hurt. I recommend having something in your kit that:

  1. Makes you laugh.
  2. Makes you move.
  3. Helps you express how you are feeling in healthy ways.
  4. Enables you to affirm and nurture yourself. And,
  5. Helps you rest.

In today’s post, I’ll give some examples of things to include in your plan for care and your kit that are meant to make you laugh.

A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22, NRSV

Laughing is, and will always be, the best form of therapy.

-Dau Voire, author

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m no stranger to depression. In fact, one of my closest friends accurately assessed that my natural “setpoint” is pretty low. Knowing that about myself makes me particularly vigilant when I approach major life changes, ongoing stressors, and yes – impending holidays and anniversaries of major events in my life, both good and bad. Any and all of these things can trigger in me so much blues that, if left unattended, transforms into outright depressive episodes. I have learned that laughter is one of my best weapons against the sadness. Once I learned that, it became a mission for me to learn what types of things (and people) make me laugh. This also required me to be okay with my corniness, my “adolescent brain” despite knocking at 40’s door, and the reality that my sense of humor isn’t always so holy or reverent. I say all of this to say to you, my dear reader: do not judge yourself for reaching for the ridiculousness and hilarity that will lift your spirit. Your EFAK is not in competition with anyone else’s, and there is no need to compare or judge it. Here are some things to think about:

  • Who are your favorite comedians? Can you access any of their stand-up on a streaming channel?
  • What is the last movie you watched that had you laughing so hard that your stomach hurt? Or maybe you were wiping tears from laughing so hard?
  • What was that TikTok or Instagram post that made you chuckle and choose to share to make someone else smile?
  • Is there a TV show that is just so stupid that you can’t help but get tickled when you watch it?

Pull on those resources. I don’t care if you’ve watched the same episodes or movies a thousand times! If they make you laugh to this day, write them down and place the list in your EFAK. It’s good to have the list on-hand because in the middle of a depressive episode, you may not remember those resources.

Sabrina’s Go-To Humor

(Be warned that the content on most of the following links is for mature audiences only.)

I’ll let you in on my EFAK humor. Back when DVDs were a thing, I made sure to have within my reach almost any Will Ferrell movie (especially Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Elf, and Blades of Glory), White Chicks, any of the Friday movies, and some Madea plays (not the films, the actual filmed plays). Those movies and plays usually had me in stitches. I’m also a HUGE adult animation fan (because I’ve embraced my childishness). Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, American Dad, Boondocks, and South Park have me hollering in my house! I keep my streaming services JUST so I can watch those shows. Some of my favorite stand-up comedians are (in no particular order): Rickey Smiley, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Sheryl Underwood (who happens to be my Soror…ZphiB!), Ali Wong, Tiffany Haddish, Gary Owen, Kevin Hart, Katt Williams, and the late greats — Bernie Mac and Richard Pryor. I’m also into who I consider to be the newer, social media-driven comedians like Trey Moe, KevonStage, and Notkarltonbanks. Note my list of my favorite comedy/comedians is not exhaustive.

Now that I’ve let you in on some of my comedy favorites, share yours. What will you put in your Emotional First Aid Kit to make you laugh during difficult times?

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