Farm Safety Check: Stress and Wellness


9/17/2019

Check the weather, check the markets, pay the land rent, prepay seed, contract next year’s crop, The to-do list and bills can seem non-stop.

In farming, there’s a lot out of your control, creating stress that can potentially lead to serious impacts on your well-being. Check in on yourself, employees, or family this month to manage stress and remain resilient.

Remember that to take care of others, you must take care of yourself.

Chronic and uncontrolled stress can be detrimental to your health and interpersonal relationships. It might not be possible to get rid of the things causing stress in your life, but there are things you can do to help manage the stress. The following are some simple ways that a person can decrease stress:

  • Exercise: Many farmers feel that the physical labor that they do on the farm is enough, but having a regular exercise or stretching program provides a break in your daily routine, benefits your overall health, and provides a constructive way to relieve excess energy. Strive to exercise three times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes.

  • Caffeine: Reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet. By eliminating this stimulant, a person may have reduced headaches, increased relaxation, improved sleep, a calmer mood—and, counterintuitively, more energy.

  • Humor: The old adage “laughter is the best medicine” isn’t inaccurate—laughter might help to reduce your stress, so explore ways (social groups, books, and so on) to add some laughter to your life.

  • Talking: Having a strong network of friends and family can help provide necessary support during stressful times.  Make sure that you have a couple of people to whom you can vent your problems to help reduce built up stress.

  • Relaxation Techniques: There are simple relaxation techniques that can help you clear your mind and reduce tension. Techniques include deep breathing and taking mini-breaks during the day.

  • Sleep: If you are not getting enough sleep at night to be refreshed in the morning and energetic enough for the day, then you may need to consider a midday power nap.

  • Nutrition: Make sure that you are eating balanced meals throughout the day.

  • Breaks: Take some time from the stressful situation by going for a walk, spending some time alone, working on a hobby, meditating, and so on.

Getting Help

There are times when things get too difficult, and you might need professional help. Professional help can include your family physician or health care provider, a mental health professional, or a support group. Listed below are some signs that indicate that you should seek professional help:

  • Depression

  • Changed sleeping patterns

  • Abusive behavior

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Hallucinations

  • Consideration of changes in your marital status

  • Inability to express positive feelings

  • Excessive alcohol intake

  • Feelings of guilt, isolation, panic, or being overwhelmed

Resources

For more detailed information, consult the following sources:

Mental health is a serious concern for farmers and ranchers and their families and employees. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. If texting is preferred, text HOME to 741741 for free crisis support 24 hours a day in the U.S.

http://articles.extension.org/pages/70313/production-agriculture-and-stress.