Changing climate, conflicting family schedules, acres of property maintenance, healthy living, miles of snow covered roads…a country lifestyle comes with some unique stressors amid the open space grandeur.
Rural homeowners must balance caring for their property with the needs and desires of the family, all while remaining financially agile to react to the unpredictability of the country.
Your country home is your oasis of personal space. The outside stressors can become personal, too. Developing a skillbox to resist everyday stress is one of the most important (and overlooked) tools homeowners can use to safeguard their own health while embracing country living challenges.
What is in your anti-stress skillbox? Largely, it is the conscious ability to control personal responses to negative actions by outside influences.
Sean Brotherson, North Dakota State University Extension Service family science specialist, identifies three areas people can control:
- Your attitudes and mindset: Set realistic goals and expectations daily; dwell on turning current challenges into opportunities.
- The way you respond to stress: Create a work/life balance and incorporate regular fitness activities, relaxation or meditation. Cultivate a friend to talk to, or seek professional support.
- Events occurring within your setting: Reduce the “pile-up” of stressful events by planning and scheduling ahead, setting priorities, simplifying life, and defaulting to a sense of humor (versus irritation) when things go wrong.
Focusing on influencing just these three areas can help bring relief through re-patterning mental and physical responses to stressful circumstances and by placing a measure of control back into your own hands. The areas actively support healthy attitudes and resilient responses to negative situations.
As Larry Tranel, psychologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach points out, resiliency can be a learned life skill. “Stress can weaken a person’s spirit, appetite, physical stamina, focus, relationships, decision-making ability, and dampen happiness and satisfaction in time.” He adds, “life skills can help deal with it.”
The tools in an anti-stress skillbox may help you and your family roll with seasonal weather or family events while protecting your long-term appreciation for country living. Dealing with chronic stress may mean reaching out for professional help for depression or anxiety. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers immediate emotional support. The call is free, confidential and available 24/7 across the USA.
“Talking with someone about your thoughts and feelings can save your life."
Call 1-800-273-8255 or Text “CONNECT” to 741741
To view the article in the online 2019 Fall Partners Magazine, click here.