For the week of May 30, 2016
By John Schlageck, Kansas Farm Bureau
Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system. I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt.”
Dr. Charles H. Mayo
Worry has been labeled the root of all evil. It has also been linked to farm accidents.
Worrying about finances, weather or personal problems while operating powerful farm equipment places farmers at risk. When a farmer loses his or her concentration on the task at hand, or makes hasty decisions in anger, accidents can happen.
Numerous professionals and friends can help people with stress. The key is to seek help.
While it has been suggested over and over again, communication remains a key to reducing stress.
If you are concerned about finances, you may want to visit your banker. You may also want to talk to family members. Remember, you don’t have to share exact figures, just some of your major concerns. The important thing is to keep communication lines open.
Another method to fight stress includes renewed involvement in church, school and community. This helps expand a person’s sense of purpose and self-esteem.
Approaching tasks and challenges early with and “I can” and “I care” attitude can also help alleviate stress. If a person tackles a problem bogged down with doubt, the results can be less than favorable. It is important to develop and keep a positive outlook.
Short breaks or vacations from farming and ranching can offer a fresh perspective and help producers ease stressful situations. Agricultural tours and field days can provide farmers with such opportunities.
Even if the break is for a couple hours, or better yet, a short weekend, this time away from the routine can often relieve some tension and clear the mind.
Participating in a farm or commodity organization may also provide relief from the day-to-day challenges facing farmers and ranchers. Serving on committees you believe in while cultivating relationships with like-minded people can also alleviate consternation.
Scheduling a yearly physical is also a good way to reduce stress. Going to a family doctor and receiving a clean bill of health can work wonders for a person’s peace of mind.
Eating healthy can help prevent illnesses and result in better decision making. People always feel better about themselves when they exercise discipline and eat right.
Remember, set realistic goals for yourself, family, land and livestock. Allow enough time for a restful night’s sleep and make quality time for your family and yourself.
The amount of time spent on tasks is not important if the end result is not productive. Most farmers and ranchers know when to let up physically, but they many may not recognize how mental strain can take its toll.
Keep the communication lines open with your family and friends. You will be safer and healthier in the long run.
John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.