5 tips to recognize and deal with farm stress

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With low prices affecting most grain and livestock operations, it’s easy to find yourself financially stressed. But stress doesn’t end with finances — it carries over into your personal life, affecting your mind and body, your family and your friends and co-workers.
Over the next four weeks, Farm and Dairy will publish some tips from experts about how you can manage the financial and health aspects of stress.

farming 101 (3)

1Symptoms of stress
There are many symptoms that could be stress-related. They include physical signs such as headaches, lingering fatigue, disrupted sleep patterns, and more frequent illness. Mental indicators of stress include anxiety, depression, and trouble relating to others.

2Manage stress
The action you should take depends on your level of stress. Take action on one small piece of the problem. Do what you can manage now, without trying to do everything at once.

Ask for help from family, friends or community resources, including counselors.

3Do something for you
Do some physical exercise and make personal health a priority. Protect your physical health by eating well and avoiding alcohol and drugs. Do something enjoyable each day.

4Find support
Work on accepting change as a natural part of life. But be aware of ongoing changes that contribute to stress, and postpone new commitments if they will add stress.

Increase the time spent with supportive family and friends, who are important buffers in times of stress. Communicate with loved ones by listening and expressing appreciation.

5Help others with stress
If you’re working with a stressed co-worker, take time to listen. Stressed individuals should not be rushed. By listening, you show that you care. Ask questions so you can understand the person’s problem, and so the stressed person can explain the issue.

Sources: Iowa State University Extension.

Next week: Farm and Dairy will look at how to manage the financial aspects of financial stress, beginning with income and cash flow.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

More Farming 101 columns:

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