There's a reason they say laughter is the best medicine. It releases endorphins, relaxes your muscles, buffers you against discomfort and connects you to others. All the things we crave whilst working from home, alone, in a lockdown.
With most of the country under strict restrictions and as more festivities are cancelled, it's very easy to feel bleak about this winter. Dark weather can be difficult enough for people suffering with low mood.
That's why it's important to be proactive. Set aside time for your team just to focus on being happy. I know that sounds silly but I'm very serious about the importance of being, well, silly. Here are 5 reasons why an online improv session is just what your team needs to keep the blues at bay this winter:
1. A safe space to act daft
Of course we want to act professionally at work and it's natural to care about what your colleagues think of you but this often means we guard ourselves and get into our heads. I always like to start the workshop by explaining that this is a safe space to let go. No idea is too stupid. We're all here to have fun, support each other and loosen up.
2. Not all things that are contagious are bad for us
Humans have evolved to use laughter as a way to communicate and bond, which is why we're far more likely to laugh at something if others are there and not even the funniest comedian can make us laugh as much as our friends. Wanting to join in with laughter is a primal instinct and is why it's so contagious, however restrictions on socialising during covid has limited our access to this vital human past time. Scheduling time to laugh together might be just what you need to return balance to your mind and body.
3. Create new experiences together
Two years ago I performed a comedy show in an intensive care unit to four patients and their nurses. It was an intense experience and I was worried that I was going to let them down. But it was lovely and a week after the nurses said they were so grateful as it had given them so much to talk about with their patients. I hadn't even thought about this aspect but I was so pleased to hear it. Not only does trying something like an improv comedy workshop break up the monotony, it will provide your team with new and positive shared memories and maybe even some in-jokes!
4. A guide through gallows humour
Dark humour comes naturally to some but it's not always appropriate in the workplace. However, being able to laugh in times of hardship has proven to be a steadfast coping mechanism. Laughing at what makes us sad doesn't change the problem or even how we feel about it but it can reduce the amount we let it negatively affect us. It also creates a sense of camaraderie and reminds you that you are not going through this alone. While I tend to keep the tone of these workshops light, you may find that humour will help you navigate these tougher subjects together.
5. Fun for all
Coronavirus has culled many teams' options for socials and retreats, including the age old British favourite, the pub. Most have opted for zoom calls with drinks but even these can start to feel forced, especially if you don't drink. Having me there to facilitate means everyone has a chance to get involved and feel included without having to spend too long in the spotlight. I play games of multiple sizes so you get a chance to mix with different people and at a steady pace - so you don't need to worry about awkward silences!
That said, I'm not against drinking. If your upcoming Christmas party or social has been cancelled and you can't stomach another zoom quiz, why not try some improv games? They often make the best drinking games and this wee elf would be happy to teach you some...
I hope this is helpful. If you're interested in booking a bespoke online improv workshop please get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Workshops are from 30 min to an hour depending on the number of participants.
Take care. x