DOES Santa Stay So Jolly?
This time of year brings lots of joy, friends and family. It also brings stress. Lots and lots of stress. This is usually the time of year when I start fantasizing about falling into a deep sleep or escaping to an island in the south pacific until mid January. Problem is I don’t want to miss out on joy either. It occurred to me that there is someone who has more stress than anyone this time of year, Old Saint Nick!. Just think of the stress that comes with a global enterprise with one make it or break it, mega customer deadline each year. Not to mention dealing with reindeer bullying, fighting among the elves, production glitches, travel schedules, demand fluctuations from the naughty/nice list and social media tracking every glass of cheer.
And yet, year after year he motivates his team to pull off the greatest feat of all – delivering happiness to millions. Maybe we can learn a thing or to about stress reduction from the Big Man himself. After all , he was born in 270 AD so he’s 1,747 years old. You don’t live that long without some sort of strategy. How does he do it? It’s a simple, one-step process – he laughs loud and he laughs a lot! Yes, Santa’s “ho ho, ho” is jolly for more selfish reasons than you would think.
Leaders can take a lesson from Santa by adding more humor, fun and laughter into the end of the year work life crunch time and personal holiday madness.
Here are some tips from my upcoming book, Heartitude Works, for bringing a little stress reducing laughter into your team’s day.
– Abraham Lincoln
What if you start your day with a humor intention?
- Be Yourself: Find your own style – It’s more important to have fun than to be funny! What if you took a funny perspective on:
- The biggest complaint you have today…vent in a paragraph rant;
- Now, rewrite your rant as your favorite sitcom or comic would see it.
- Play your funny version in your head whenever you need a laugh.
- Spend time with your favorite toddler. Children laugh 500 times a day! For adults, 5 times a day is a stretch. It’s hard NOT to laugh with a child present.
- Fake it. Force a smile, it’s okay. Your brain doesn’t know the difference, so if you are smiling you will start to feel happier and less stressed.
- Got lots of frustration on your team? Start your next team meeting with a complaining Olympics.
- 5-7 minutes of complaint brainstorming
- In groups of 2 – 4, turn the complaint list into a song or a poem
- Give prizes for the best, the worst, the funniest.
- Avoid the Humor DOO-DOO’s by Always AVOID:
- Sarcasm or “wit” at the expense of others
- Jokes that insult, belittle, embarrass or hurt
- Humor that demeans specific ethnic backgrounds, gender or religious beliefs.
- Lead by example: Have fun at your own work and role model positive humor.
- If you are extra brave, offer to do something silly as a reward for meeting a big milestone or deadline. Nothing sets an example or relieves stress like laughing with the boss. Better they laugh with you than at you.
- Put a large piece of newsprint on your door or office wall. Invite people to write, draw, scribble, or attach G rated funny headlines, cartoons or jokes.
- Create stress free zones- Use an empty office/other space as a retreat area w/fun stuff, punching bag, blow up people or palm tree, toys, bean bag chairs, books, cartoons.
- Ask your team. Communicate that you want to increase the fun quotient and ask your people for their ideas. Give them permission and direction and you will be amazed at the creativity, productivity and reduced stress that can result.