Winter can be a productive time

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It happens every time. The ice cream is setting before me, and in my anticipation for the first bite of this creamy confection, I rush the process and the result is a “brain freeze.” It is easy to prevent if I would just eat more slowly.

Supposedly the cold stimulates a nerve in the roof of the mouth that kicks into overdrive and sends off a barrage of signals to the brain, and the brain interprets these as “ouch.”

The long months of winter can also turn into a “brain freeze” if we are not careful to plan for the possible “ouch” when spring arrives. It can be the triple threat at the beginning of each year.

Whether it is the residue of Christmas indulgence, the lack of sunshine or cold weather, these next few months can be quite productive as we wait patiently for the next season. It is the perfect time for personal and professional maintenance before we are lured again to green grass and short sleeves.

Balance

How is your winter list coming? According to Cheryl Tevis, risk management editor for Successful Farming, 90 percent of all Americans say that balancing work and life is a problem, and more than half say it is a significant issue.

However during winter months when you toss in some depression, lack of exercise, and cabin fever, a “brain freeze” can induce a bumper crop of stress. For most OSU extension offices, it is one of the busiest times of year.

David Marrison, extension educator, is involved with educational programs that offer current information before producers are out in the fields. Turning the page on 2012 has brought about many changes for 2013 that need to be addressed. I realize this is the primary reason for the meeting, but these interactions not only yield economic benefits, but also a time to share opinions and social interactions with friends not seen for awhile.

Ohio 4-H Dairy programs will also have some remodeling. Changes include a makeover for the reasons workshop in February, updates on the Ohio 4-H dairy judging contest at Spring Dairy Expo and Quality Assurance training at Dairy Palooza (now offered in May). Much of this was sent by mail in December.

The devil is in the details and winter plans bring spring and summer success. It is wise to stay informed by viewing the Facebook page (Ohio 4-H Dairy Program), our website (www.4hansci.osu.edu/dairy), and simply by calling me if technology is a challenging resource. A live voice on the other end of the line will greet you. That’s a promise.

Blue Monday

As I write this, the morning news related today is nicknamed “Blue Monday.” According to the report, most people do some shopping to lift their spirits.

Perhaps that is one way to overcome the doldrums, but my day will be spent with good folks at a banquet and I will have the opportunity to thank that group for support and even recognize some college and 4-H judges.

If I eat too much, I will have exercise with barn chores, and then maybe some time to watch re-runs of the Farm Kings reality television series. All of these activities provide balance in my life and perhaps in yours too.

Tips

Following are some of the tips that Cheryl Tevis offers for fine-tuning and recalibrating our roles.

Doing it all is a myth

It’s O.K. to ask for help.

Appreciate and embrace your current stage of life.

Avoid comparing yourself to others. Find activities that suit your soul and make time for it.

Realize that sometimes O.K. is good enough.

Mother Nature affords wooly bears the opportunity to hibernate, but those of us involved with agriculture can thank her for an occupation that allows us the time only to nap.

Here’s hoping you can create a list that will keep you on the cutting edge of balancing your work and family life this winter, and the rest of the year. My resolution for 2013 is to avoid a brain freeze … especially when I eat my ice cream!

About the Author

Bonnie Ayers is a dairy program specialist at Ohio State University, coordinating all state 4-H dairy programs and coaching the OSU collegiate and 4-H dairy judging teams. She and her husband also own and operate a Brown Swiss and Guernsey cattle farm. In 1994, Bonnie was named Woman of the Year at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. More Stories by Bonnie Ayers

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