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Farm families are learning to manage stress differently

Many farm families are stressed — emotionally strained or tense due to the demanding circumstances of getting a crop out in the field. Farming is stressful because because they are dependent on the weather. Wet fields keep farmers out of the field, and if they want to harvest a full-season crop (maximum yield = maximum $ return) –  they need to have it planted withing a specific time frame. Due to the cool, wet spring North Alabama farmers are putting long hours in – getting equipment ready before daylight and often planting after dark with tractor lights.

Managing stress is hard for everyone – farmers especially need to effective ways to manage their stress. The following is a 5 Step Approach to Managing Stress

5 Step Approach to Managing Stress

(Adapted from SDSU http://igrow.org/up/resources/04-1004-2017.pdf )

1. Assess Needs and Impacts

This helps to give you perspective — things that are in your control versus things that are out of your control.

In your control – making sure gasoline is in the tractor

Out of your control  – the drying rate of your bottom-land field

Assess Needs & Impacts

2. Identify and Access Resources

Do you have a spouse, children, employees, or extended family that can help out?

3. Pursue Good-Quality Decisions

Think about your decisions when you are stressed. Don’t communicate in anger.

4. Connect with Sources of Support

Talk to your spouse. Go out into nature – take a few minutes to focus outside of the things that cause you stress. Are there individuals you know that seem to manage their stress? – find out how they do it.

Connect with Sources of Support

5. Use Effective Coping Strategies

Are you relieving your stress in healthy ways – by eating healthy and exercising ? Not by overeating, alcohol or prescription drug abuse.

Eat Healthy

Do you laugh enough? Try to find humor

Go out into nature

Are you getting enough sleep? A person needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Take a power nap during the day if possible.

Link to eXtension article on Farming and Stress http://articles.extension.org/pages/70313/production-agriculture-and-stress