Burnout recovery tip 4: Giggling like a schoolgirl

This post was written by Megan on September 28, 2010
Posted Under: burnout and recovery

Laughing buddy cartoon

To be honest, I didn't giggle when I was a schoolgirl. I tended to snort accidentally or let loose an almighty guffaw that ricocheted around stairwells, swung around corners and marched across ovals.  

I knew I had an unattractive laugh, but I couldn't help it. And, as you can imagine, having a laugh like mine during childhood was tough. Kids can be cruel (while also being funny). I would have killed to giggle.

My laugh is so distinctive that recently I was in a library chortling uncontrollably – as you do – and a friend from my school days appeared from behind the mountainous book stacks proclaiming 'I knew it was you when I heard THAT laugh'. Ha ha.

The thing is: I was laughing. So there.


Life isn't so funny while trapped under an invisible piano. 

We both know laughing can be hard work when you are feeling burnt out. Fatigue can suffocate the titter out of any comedy-appreciating soul. So I recognise that this recovery tip is more challenging than some 'normal people' might expect.  


Why is laughing important for recovery?

I'm sure there is a stack of scientific evidence out there about how laughing gees up your blood circulation, which pleases your organs no end. The white coats probably also have something to say about how laughter yells "Open bar!" in your brain and kicks off some neurotransmitter cocktails. There's a happy hour for you.

But you can Google that yourself…if you have the energy.


I know that laughter helps.

It just does. And I'm talking the real deal. Not some false try-hard chuckle pushed through clenched teeth as if you are trapped in the eternal party from hell. This is about experiencing the genuine article from your cingulate sulcus to your distal phalanges (i.e top to toe…gotta love Google). 

If nothing else, having a hoot stops you thinking about how crappy you feel – even if it's for a few seconds. That's got to be a good thing, right?



What worked for me:

  • comedy DVDs
    Best to stick to ones you already know are funny. There's nothing more depressing than getting out a comedy DVD that's all-banana peel. I recommend brilliant animated films like Wall-E and Finding Nemo - warning: they might also make you cry…but in a good way.
  • bad French films
    Yes, this involves reading sub-titles if your French est non bon, but it's worth it if you find a good bad one (no, I can't remember what any of them are called…chronic fatigue syndrome tampers with one's memory recall…well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it).
  • Jeff dancing 'conceptually' to movie soundtracks.
    At the end of a DVD, Jeff (my guy) treats me to theatre-style dance moves in sync with the credit music. Sometimes he uses lamps, couch pillows or the cat as props.
  • cartoons
    Try My Cartoon Thing (okay, shameless self promotion). After this (and only after this…) you can check out: Gary Larson's Farside cartoons, Hugh McCloud's Gaping Void, Doug Savage's Savage Chickens and the short animated films on Simon's Cat.
  • stand-up comedians
    I think it's a service to society to support people who have jobs as terrifying as neurosurgeons, but without the insurance. Find a good stand-up comedian and laugh so hard he/she can hear you though YouTube (I'm rather partial to Dylan Moran and Marcus Brigstow).


What makes you cackle? Share the love and laughter (post a comment, pweeezzee!) 


Note: This is the fourth post from my series: '13 things towards recovery from burnout'.

And the premise remains the same: what works for me might not work for you.
So this is about sharing my experiences and giving you advice that I:

  • expect you to ignore (because who actually takes advice??)
  • dream that you use like rainbow play-doh to punch into any shape that tickles your fancy



This post was written by Megan Hills. Megan is a writer and cartoonist who hopes that you laughed in all the right places…and in the wrong ones too. Find out more about Megan

Reader Comments

Thanks Megan. Things that make me laugh:
Calvin & Hobbes
David Sedaris

Written By Erica on September 29th, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

Hi Megan
Just thought I would warn your readers that I am not a public performer and I don't do gigs…..Ha


Written By Jeff on September 29th, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

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