Farming is one of the most stressful jobs in the country. Here are a few tips to manage stress, long-term and short-term. Crisis hotlines can be helpful to some. [https://namiga.org/georgia-crisis-and-access-line/] Talking to someone about stress can also be helpful.
To reduce the pile-up of too many stressful events at one time, farmers/ranchers can control some situations.
- Plan ahead. Don’t procrastinate. Replace worn machinery parts during the off season.
- Before the harvest discuss who can be available to run for parts, care for livestock, etc.
- Set priorities about what has to be done today and what can wait until tomorrow. Plan your time.
- Say no to extra commitments that you do not have time to do.
- Simplify your life. If possible, reduce your financial dependence on others.
- Schedule stressful events within your control, such as elective surgery.
How farm/ranch family members view situations is a key factor in creating or eliminating unwanted stress.
- See the big picture: “I’m glad that tire blew out here rather than on that next hill.”
- List all the stresses you now have. Identify those you can change; accept the ones you cannot change.
- Shift your focus from worrying to problem solving.
- Think about how to turn your challenges into opportunity.
- Notice what you have accomplished rather than what you failed to do.
- Set realistic goals and expectations daily. Give up trying to be perfect.
- Focus on relaxing your body and mind. Whether you are walking, driving or phoning, do it slowly and relax. Keep only that muscle tension necessary to accomplish the task.
- Tune in to your body. Notice any early signs of stress and let them go.
- Take care of your body. Exercise regularly and eat well-balanced meals. Limit your intake of stimulants such as coffee, sodas and tea.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes, using alcohol or other drugs, or using tranquilizers or sleeping pills.
- If your health allows, tense and then relax each part of your body from toes to head, one part at a time.
- Shake away tension as you work by vigorously shaking each of your limbs.
- Take a break. Climb down from your tractor and do a favorite exercise.
- Take three deep breaths – slowly, easily. Let go of unnecessary stress.
- Stop to reflect or daydream for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and take a short mental vacation to a place you really enjoy. See the sights; hear the sounds; smell the smells. Enjoy. Then go back to work feeling refreshed.
- Think positive thoughts: “I can and will succeed.”
- Look for the humor in things that you do.
- Balance your work and your play. Do both well.
- Find someone with whom you can talk about your worries and frustrations.
- Seek help when you need it. There are times when all of us can benefit from professional help or support.
- Unwind before bedtime. Do stretching exercises, listen to soothing music, practice rewinding deeply, and be thankful for any blessings received today. Then sleep well.