How to Maintain Morale at PacRopes: Laughter
The Where's Waldo social distancing edition has been circling around the internet for awhile now but I still smirk every time I see it. It's funny. And although it may seem inappropriate to laugh during this serious time, laughter may be exactly what we need to survive the pandemic. After all, laughter has many benefits such as:
- stress relief-a good laugh relaxes your body and pumps up your endorphins.
- increase immune system-laughing decreases our stress hormones resulting in an increase of our immune cells.
- distraction from the negative-when we laugh, we take a break from focusing on the negative such as anger or resentment. In this more productive state, we can look at our problems with a different perspective and move forwards. Have you ever had a toot in the middle of a fight? That brief second of laughter is an opportunity to reconnect and to figure a way out of a conflict. Not saying it's a tactic you should hold onto...but it is funny.
I asked our team at Pacific Ropes what keeps their spirits ups during this pandemic, and some of our crew has found morale by laughing and connecting with each other.
"COVID has affected my life in a number of ways and adjustments have been made at both work and home to try to better manage the situation. At work we are being more diligent in sanitizing equipment and wearing gloves, not sharing snacks or sitting together for breaks, and maintaining distance while working in the field. Obviously this can affect our morale, so we try to maintain a light attitude and fill the days with jokes. Home life can be more challenging with the need for grocery shopping, gas, transit, etc. and the difficulty to maintain social distances. With the change of season we are aching to go camping and enjoy many of the things BC has to offer, but with the state of the world a lot of things have been put on hold. The worst part is not knowing for how long." Charley-PacRopes Supervisor
"Covid is pretty worrisome. But luckily, rope access is pretty "socially distanced." So we can keep ourselves pretty safely away from each other. We try to tell stories and jokes to keep each other smiling. And I try and remember, we're very fortunate to be working in such an awesome industry." Wake-PacRopes Supervisor
"I've been very lucky to have some work during the pandemic. Because I get to go to work, my big morale boost have been my coworkers. My work teammates are the best part of my job. While we are sure to maintain proper social distance, we still talk, joke, laugh, and encourage and teach each other in the workplace. Our job can be very physically and mentally challenging, so having the positive support from coworkers feels great."-Laura-Rope Access Technician/Safety Rep
But, how can we laugh in a time like this? It seems tactless to try to make someone laugh when they are sharing their stress and anxiety. After all, we are all grieving a collective loss together. The loss of our old lives, the loss of connection with each other, loss of jobs, certainty, future plans. This sense of loss came about almost immediately overnight and many of us are still trying to process it.
If you have five minutes, I would recommend watching this video by psychotherapist, Esther Perel.
She talks about our collective grief and that the antidote to our grief and loss is....life. To live is to embrace the vibrancy of life. So, we laugh and we celebrate. It's important to keep living. It's important to stay connected with each other. Because it's through these small moments of celebration and connection, that we find hope and survival through our collective grief.
It's not an easy thing to do, to acknowledge our grief but also remain hopeful. We're trying our best here and we hope you guys are too! Hope this week, you can find a little laughter and joy. If all else fails, google some corny jokes or check out this webpage for a collection of COVID jokes.
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