NOTE: Farm Bureau is in the fight against farm stress and the too-long-overlooked challenges to farmers’ mental health. We’re sharing resources with every available audience because you never know when you’ll have an opportunity to help someone through a tough spot.
At some point we’ve all had to answer a doctor asking if we’ve been exercising. We all know we should, but when a farmer’s work demands so much, both physically and mentally, how do you find the time to exercise? How do we get from farm to fitness?
You understand the importance of soil testing and precision-application of nutrients, but it often takes a lot of convincing to go in for our own regular health screenings.
We plan crop rotations to avoid soil depletion and enlist nutritionists to fine-tune feed rations for livestock. But when we sit at the kitchen table we don’t always look at the diversity on our plate to ensure a nutritious balance. Are we fueling and maintaining our bodies as well as we do our equipment?
According to the Mayo Clinic, physical fitness fights stress in three ways:
In the big picture of addressing farm stress, working exercise into your schedule might be as challenging as seeking help in the first place. Between running the farm and being the best spouse and parent you can be, where’s the time to squeeze in physical activity?
Consider splitting 30 minutes into separate 10-minute bursts. Also factor in the physical demands of the on-farm work you’re already doing — that counts if you remind yourself some of that on-farm work doubles as exercise. When your brain makes that connection, endorphins can be released and something called cortisol takes a back seat.
Cortisol is the stress-triggering alarm hormone — and preventing its build-up in our bodies is key to effective stress management. That means implementing the kind of coping tactics we’ve been sharing: physical exercise, mediation and breathing, practicing gratitude and remaining mindful of what’s within — and beyond — our control.
Work those skills into your routine and enjoy a clearer mind ready to plow through whatever life dishes up!