If the Job Gets Tough, Use Child's Play
This past week we discussed all sorts of ways people complain. If you are a nanny or au pair that finds yourself complaining about your job (or even worse dreading it) we suggest using humor to face your problems at work.
People who can laugh at their own problems rise above the pit of self-pity; they begin to feel uplifted, encouraged, and imbued with a sense of power.
Allen Klein, the author of The Healing Power of Humor shows us how to find humor in our jobs, even when we feel like crying, screaming, or quitting. He explains, "A childlike view of the world can frequently put adult life in perspective."
Klein writes, "Children are an important source for righting ourselves when we feel like crying. Children have a unique way of looking at the world. Their perspective can teach adults an important lesson: Burdens can become less weighty when we use our imaginations to play with out problems."
Children are the essence of spontaneity. You're never sure what they're going to say or do and looking at the world through their eyes can give you a completely different and more positive perspective on life.
"Our imaginations are wonderful tools for turning our troubles around. We can use our childlike imagination to play with any unpleasant occurrence or turn any task into a game," says Klein.
The The Healing Power of Humor relays convincing evidence as to the psychological and physiological benefits of humor. The author gives concrete and helpful techniques and suggestions as to how we can begin to bring more joy and laughter into our lives.
For example, two nannies share with us how reading The Healing Power of Humor has positively affected their lives.
Maria Lopez, a nanny from Miami, Florida says, "I read The Healing Power of Humorwhen I was getting stressed out about mean nannies in town and a nasty mother on the street I work on. I have a punching bag hanging in the garage when I really want to unload some stress, I visualize the mean nannies from the playground and the nasty mother from down the block and pretend I'm punching them for five-minutes. It's also a great workout!"
Another example of overcoming a problem at work and making it fun comes from a nanny Susan, in New Jersey, who cares for an elementary school-aged child who used to have temper tantrums when asked to do homework each day. "I used to scold and punish the child for not behaving. But, punishments, rationalizing, and reprimands weren't improving the situation," explains the nanny.
"After reading The Healing Power of Humor, it finally dawned on me, I have to make doing homework fun. First, I had to shift my focus of attention from what I did not want him to do, to what I wanted him to do," she explains.
Susan continues, "I created a game called Once I'm Done! Each day after my charge is done with homework he is rewarded by playing this game. He puts his hand into a brown paper bag with slips of paper with something fun for us to do after homework. The slips of paper include activities such as: play a board game, build an obstacle course, make a craft project, bake a treat, play dress up, read a book together, make a fort, ride his scooter around the block, play a sport together in the backyard, and so on."
Allen Klein contends not only can you laugh at adversity, but it is essential to do so if you are to deal with setbacks without defeat.
Allen Klein explains that when you do find humor in trying times, one of the first and most important changes you experience is that you see your perplexing problems in a new way -- you suddenly have a new perspective on them. As a result of this new vantage point, you may also see new ways to deal with the problems.
We recommend this quick read if you are feeling negative about your job. It can give you a fresh new perspective.
Klein's books include: The Healing Power of Humor, The Courage to Laugh, Change Your Life!: A Little Book of Big Ideas, Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying: Embracing Life After Loss and WorkLaughs: A Jollytologist Book: Quips, Quotes, and Anecdotes about Making a Buck. His workshops and keynote presentations show audience nationwide how to find humor in their not-so-funny stuff.