Between the long hours of harvesting, ever-changing market prices, laborious working conditions and the stress of balancing it all, it’s far too common for the mental health of farmers to take a backseat.
Just like managing your farm, you need the right resources and guidance to manage your mental health and it needs to be flexible enough to fit your busy lifestyle; that’s where we come in. We’re sharing three tips to combat stress along with the resources GreenStone and the Farm Credit System have curated to help farmers re-prioritize their mental health.
1. Seek Gratitude: With harsh weather, low prices and daily challenges, it’s easy to feel like you are never going to catch a break. Unfortunately, this can lead to a negative mindset. There is always something to be thankful for; to reset your mind, although some days it may be more difficult to find than others, we challenge you to look for 3-5 things in your life each day to be grateful for.
2. Pause and Appreciate Yourself: When it comes to your employees, you praise or acknowledge them when they do well, but do you ever give yourself credit? You work hard, day in and day out, yet the chances of you taking the time to pause and appreciate your own efforts are probably slim to none. Change that by taking a few moments after you’ve finished a chore, task or project that’s been lingering on your to-do list too long and give yourself a mental (or physical) pat on the back.
3. Stretch it Out: Farming often consists of backbreaking and challenging activities; it’s surprising how few farmers take time to stretch, despite the benefits far outweighing the little time it requires. Taking a few minutes at the start and end of your day to stretch doesn’t just help your muscles relax, but your mind too. Stretching has been proven to calm down the mind and when added to your bedtime routine, can help you sleep easier.
Although adding these three tips into your daily life may ease stress, it might not be enough to manage your mental health. Not to worry, there are more resources available, designed specifically for farmers.
GreenStone recently teamed up with the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture to create Farmers After Hours series: Real Talk for Real People. This online webinar series focuses on mental health in agriculture and experts share advice on how to easily manage your mental wellbeing through simple changes in your life in a series of 20-minute videos. Visit www.michfb.com/mi/MiFoundation4Ag/
to learn more or watch the webinars.
Rural Resilience, a farm stress training program, provides an in-depth look at farm stress, ways to reduce stress, and a look at how stress in farming families can create a domino effect. Developed in a partnership with Farm Credit, Michigan State University Extension, University of Illinois Extension, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and National Farmers Union, this free training can be completed at your own pace and covers three units: Managing Stress, Communicating with Distressed Farmers and Suicide Awareness. Register now for Rural Resilience at farmcredit.com/rural-resilience
To view the article in the online 2020 Fall Partners Magazine, click here.