On the 26th of November, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 named Omicron. It was first discovered in southern Africa and was labeled as highly transmissible. Though there’s not much knowledge about the actual risks and effects of the new strain, it’s considered to be the next big thing in the COVID-19 pandemic story.
Yet again, this has left the world in shock and some countries have already started tightening travel rules with a few already announcing lockdowns. However, even in the most difficult situations, people still find a way to carry on laughing. A new wave of Omicron variant memes has taken over social media in order to ease up the anxiety with a light dose of humor.
Bored Panda has collected some of the funniest memes and jokes that are floating around the Internet. Make sure to check them out below and upvote the most hilarious ones!
While this new Omicron threat opens up the mental trauma we only started to let go of with the help of vaccination, internauts decided to deal with it straight away. And the method they chose is definitely closest to our hearts—by creating countless hilarious memes and jokes in reaction to it. This time, mainly about the fact that many of us already have big plans for the future and the fear that we might need to cancel them once again.
Throughout the whole pandemic, we’ve had plenty of stuff to laugh at: from toilet paper hoarding memes and funny Zoom fails to the never-ending jokes about life in lockdown. All of this really helped because instead of just sitting around and feeling the anxiety creeping in, people were able to break into a smile. In fact, Mayo Clinic Staff states that laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke.
There’s plenty of short-term benefits: a good laugh can enhance your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulate your heart and other vital organs. It also activates and then cools down your stress response which leaves you feeling relaxed. Lastly, "Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress."
Thinking about long-term effects, laughter is known for strengthening your immune system. Plus, it’s a great way to relieve pain, since it makes the body produce natural painkillers. Not to mention that it significantly improves your mood: "Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression, and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem."
Having a good chuckle helps you to cope with sometimes hard and difficult situations. If you’re scared that you’re missing out on all of these benefits because you have no sense of humor, don’t worry, humor can be learned. You can start by watching funny movies or TV shows and hanging out with friends that make you laugh. Looking at funny images and reading jokes can also help you improve, and if you’re scrolling through this post, you know you’re in the right place.
A study published in the Psychology of Popular Media journal found that memes helped people cope with life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers with Pennsylvania State University and the University of California Santa Barbara found that those who looked at memes during the pandemic reported having "higher levels of humor" and feeling calmer and more content.
They conducted an online experiment with more than 748 participants to see how looking at funny pictures will affect them and influence the way they're coping with the pandemic stress. These people reviewed a variety of memes and were asked to rate the cuteness, humor, and emotional responses prompted by the materials. Also, report if they made them think about COVID-19.
"Compared with viewing other media content, viewing memes resulted in Internet users experiencing greater humor and positive emotions. When Internet users viewed memes with captions focused on COVID-19, they reported lower COVID-19-related stress levels than if they viewed memes focused on other topics, suggesting that tackling a stressor directly with humorous popular media content can benefit our emotional state and stress levels."
The lead author of this research, Jessica Gall Myrick, Ph.D., said that "as the pandemic kept dragging on, it became more and more interesting to me how people were using social media and memes in particular, as a way to think about the pandemic." They found that viewing just three memes can already help you cope with the stress that a global pandemic causes you.
“This suggests that not all media are uniformly bad for mental health and people should stop and take stock of what type of media they are consuming. If we are all more conscious of how our behaviors, including time spent scrolling, affect our emotional states, then we will better be able to use social media to help us when we need it and to take a break from it when we need that instead,” the professor at Pennsylvania State University explained.
If you already scrolled through the list and still feel like the dark cloud of the pandemic is looming over your head, we’ve got you covered. There’s plenty of funny things to laugh at, from "My Plans vs. 2020", the best Covid vaccine memes to jokes about the first year of the pandemic.