The Best Medicine

I think we all can agree that this has been quite a year. 

So much uncertainty and heartache hang in the air. I don’t have to spell out the ways COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our peace of mind — not to mention people’s health and livelihood. 

We asked Julie A. Palm to write this month’s cover story on overcoming adversity because we all could use a little help getting through this time. While we’re waiting to come out on the other side of this pandemic, we can focus on the spot-on tips included in the article. We can make peace with whatever situation we find ourselves in. We can surround ourselves with encouraging people, ask questions and spend time outside. Many of you have looked for new opportunities and found them by making personal protective equipment. There may be more opportunities to come.

However, one tip stood out to me more than all the others: Keep a sense of humor.

Yes, this is a serious time with unknown implications for years to come. How can anyone laugh when so many people are hurting? 

Yet, as the saying goes, laughter is good medicine. It relieves stress and tension, in part by releasing feel-good endorphins and dopamine. Our brains and our bodies, not to mention our relationships, need it.

In a May 27 article, the Harvard Business Review noted the importance of laughter in keeping work teams connected. People normally laugh 18 times a day, and we are 30 times more likely to laugh with others than to laugh alone, the article said. Isolation has kept us from laughing as much and connecting as well as we normally would.

Luckily, some are back at work producing components and mattresses and interacting with colleagues, and others are able to connect with family members and friends at home. The other night, I watched a YouTube video with my daughter and an unexpected funny moment came up. Snuggled next to my almost 14-year-old and laughing so hard our bellies hurt was the very best thing that’s happened to me during quarantine. It felt so good to take a mental break and enjoy this moment. 

I also think there’s another tip we could add to the list of adversity strategies — get good rest.

When we’re tired everything seems so much worse. Bad news hits us harder. People get under your skin more easily. Simple interruptions become insurmountable obstacles. In many ways, bedding manufacturers and suppliers understand this better than anyone. You know you’re putting something valuable into the world. Helping people sleep is critical — maybe now more than ever. 

Take care of yourself. Go outside when you can. Find ways to laugh. Always get enough sleep. And be glad you’re helping others do the same.

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