If you are reading my essay, you might think that yoga and laughter is a weird combination just based on the title. However, it is actually a reasonable combination, especially when we are talking about how to best take care of ourselves.
One of the most popular forms of self-care that I have learned over the years is yoga. For me, yoga is one of those exercises that I can comfortably do at home and feel well-rested every night. This is because I always need some kind of break or way to calm down my mind and body, in order to either focus better on my next activity or sleep better. It’s the same idea with laughter. Every day, I always try to find something to make me laugh, whether that is achieved by watching hilarious videos or listening to the jokes that other people make. Therefore, you should try out a combination of yoga and laughter, too! Let’s break down each form of self-care first, though.
Regarding yoga, I have developed a small thirty-minute exercise routine that includes a variety of stretches and meditation. Some of the stretches I usually do are squats, warrior poses, boat pose, bridge pose, plank pose, sit-ups, and push-ups. Out of these stretches, I personally like doing the squats, bridge pose, and push-ups for different reasons. Doing the squats are really beneficial for strengthening the muscles in my legs. Doing the bridge pose stretches my neck, chest, and spine. This is most effective if any of those parts of your body are really stiff. Doing the push-ups work out my shoulders, triceps, and abdominals. Because it can sometimes be difficult to stand back up while doing the squats, I usually lift dumbbells. That way, I can persevere more and become physically stronger. I repeatedly tell myself, “I can do this. I can physically and mentally benefit from doing yoga even though the stretches can be difficult.” My thought process here can be applied in any situation, whether that is work-related, school-related, or relationship-related. As long as you put in the effort, doing yoga will definitely pay off, especially in your sleep time. Like the article “Taking Care of Yourself” mentions, well-rested sleep means “avoiding using computers, TV and smartphones before bed.” This is because the stretches, including meditation, are intended for you to relax your mind and body. On the other hand, bright screens are there for you to stay alert, which is not what we want to do when we want a full rest.
If doing yoga itself isn’t a motivation, listening to sleep music might help you get in the mood. Some of the most popular examples of yoga music on YouTube that really helps me are called “Long Playlist of Relaxing Piano Music”, “Instrumental Music Playlist-Piano, Violins & Trap Beats”, “Relaxing Instrumental Music-8 Hours Epic Piano & Smooth Chillout-Long Playlist”, “2 Hours of Relaxing Music | Chinese Bamboo Flute | Piano – Meditation – Healing – Zen”, and “Relaxing Music Mix | Beautiful Piano.” The main reason I listen to these types of sleep music in order to fall asleep is that I listen to songs so often that they can get stuck in my head! I always have to listen to instrumental music so that I hopefully forget the lyrics to the songs that I listened to earlier in the day. It can be difficult at times because some parts of the songs are so addicting that I can’t get them out of my head. However, like with yoga and meditation, perseverance wins.
Meditation is another huge part of yoga that isn’t valued as much these days, but it should be! Meditation is basically a way to relax your mind by thinking about positive things and/or doing breathing exercises. I mostly implement the 4-7-8 breathing technique. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is basically an exercise in which you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. It sometimes helps if you close your eyes while doing this, because you can break free from the current moment and relax for a bit. There are also many guided meditations on YouTube for you to listen to. It is a great technique to try out if you are unable to fall asleep or just want a moment to take a break from everything. You can meditate anywhere!
My other form of self-care, laughter, is as simple as it sounds. Find ways to make yourself smile and/or laugh every day. The most important lesson I learned through laughter is to not take life too seriously. Enjoy it while you can. Trust me, it’ll benefit you so much more if you find ways to incorporate laughter in your life. As the article “Self-care challenge: a guide to building a self-care routine + 37 journal prompts,” Dr. Fry, Dr. Beck, and other doctors concluded that laughter “uplifts mood and gives you a sense of confidence.” This is especially true when you are feeling down or stressed and want something to cheer you up. One of the ways I learned to laugh more is through the korean idol groups. There are so many korean idol groups out there that can make me laugh, but the specific ones that make me laugh the most are BTS, iKon, and Seventeen. There are so many “Try Not to Laugh” challenges on YouTube that include word games, missions, and funny interviews that reveal the cute sides of the idols. It just goes on to show how special they are and how much of a positive impact they can have on you.
Korean dramas can be entertaining, too! I’m a Korean drama addict, so I have watched many Korean dramas and listened to many kpop songs. Some funny Korean dramas I recommend are Descendants of the Sun, She Was Pretty, Kill Me Heal Me, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Legend of the Blue Sea, and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. Each of these dramas have inspirational yet hilarious sides to all the characters. It is even more funny when you watch them interact with each other. Some TedTalks are hilarious, as well! Just search for “funny TedTalks”, and you’ll see many options that you’ll enjoy watching. Even the ones about learning and technology can be fun and inspiring.
Of course, YouTube videos are not the only way to make you smile. You have your family and friends to hang out with and joke around with. Malls, restaurants, beaches, and stores are some of the most popular places to hang out and be yourself. There are definitely other places to relieve stress, but based on my personal experience, I love going to the mall. Malls have everything I need, from clothes to food. It is especially fun for me to go with my family and friends. We often try out different clothes and search for delicious dessert. Through this, I was able to know my friends more.
Thus, if you practice yoga and laugh every day, you’ll become better at taking care of yourself! Just practice yoga with relaxing music in the background for roughly thirty minutes or more, depending on how much of a workout you need. Only do the stretches that you feel will help work out your muscles and abdominals. It would be best to do the stretches from about five to ten minutes each in order to successfully feel more relaxed at the end. There are also different forms of meditation that you can try out. Alongside the practice of laughing every so often that you can each day, hopefully you will find out how much of an impact these forms of self-care are.
- “NAMI.” NAMI, www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers/Taking-Care-of-Yourself.
- Shop, Concept. “Self-Care Challenge: a Guide to Building a Self-Care Routine + 37 Journal Prompts.” Minimalism, Minimalism, 30 Mar. 2019, www.minimalism.co/articles/self-care-routine.