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Taking Care of Yourself

Source: Karen Johnson, University of Minnesota Extension

There is no doubt that farming is stressful. Adding the addition of longer hours, decreased activity by sitting in the tractor and the constant checking of the weather, only adds to the numerous other stressors in life. As farmers, we like to think that we are invincible. The fact is the stress is very common and we must do our best to actively manage it. Several signs of stress can include muscle tension, headaches, restlessness, and increased illness. Please take the necessary steps in order to take care of yourself this planting season.

Here are some tips to help you manage stress:

  • Eat Right: When it comes to diet, avoid excessive coffee, pop, and candy bars.  These products are easy to grab and go, but they have few benefits.  Extra sugary foods can lead to a sugar crash and leave you feeling more exhausted than you did before.  Caffeine is a stimulant and can be responsible for headaches, decreased sleep, and lack of calmness.  Swap these drinks and snacks for water and well-balanced meals. It’s a good idea to plan ahead with a packed lunch including healthy snacks such as an apple or granola bar to help get you through the day.
  • Get Moving: Changes in daily movement habits, such as sitting in a tractor cab for long hours, has a negative impact on your body and mind. Take a minute to stop and stretch. Perhaps a couple of laps around the tractor and implement will help to get the body moving again.
  • Get enough Sleep: Sleep is our body’s chance to recharge and recover from a day’s worth of demanding physical work.  It also gives our brains a much-needed rest.  Adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Planting tip: add another person to rotate through the tractor.  This will allow everyone time to rest.
  • Talk with someone:  We need to remember that there are certain things in our life that are simply out of our control. These things aren’t worth the extra energy. Try to focus on things that you have control over like your action or attitude. If you are having trouble letting some things go, please talk to someone. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a family member or friend, try reaching out to the toll-free Farm & Rural Helpline at 833-600-2670.

Our personal health and well-being should never take a backseat to farming. Please take the time to plan ahead with a packed lunch or some additional help to drive tractor this planting season.