Monday, September 25, 2017

Stresses in Agriculture

Harvest, moving cows, and weather changes are just a few causes of stress in folks working in agriculture. Whether it is a miscommunication or things just aren’t going your way, there is bound to be a few stressful situations in when you are working with livestock and Mother Nature. Today, I am leading a workshop with the Toole County Natural Resource and Conservation Services about stresses for women in agriculture and how to manage the day to day stresses of ag life. I can’t profess to be a therapist or a doctor but I can give you a few extension recommended tips and tricks to dealing with stress on the farm or ranch.
First, it is important to be aware that stress happens to everyone. Stress is your body’s reaction to the demands of life. Stress can be positive or negative too. Getting married, having a birthday party, or just loading the kids up to go to town can be stressful, but not bad. Things like, losing a loved one, divorce, or a drought are the bad stresses that you would like to do without. Stress is different for every person and each person deals with stress differently.

Second, now that you know what stresses you out, you need to identify your symptoms of stress. Do you get stomach aches, do you experience muscle tension, and do you grind your teeth at night? Are you feeling depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed? Some symptoms are more serious than others and require medical assistance, but it is important to understand these symptoms to be aware of them before they get any worse!
Now that you know what stresses you out and what your symptoms are I can give recommendations on how to relieve your stress.  MSU Extension has a MontGuide called 50 Stress-Busting Ideas for Your Well-Being. I won’t list all the ideas today because then my extension minute would turn into an extension hour! But there are some helpful tips such as exercising, journaling, traveling, visiting with friends, and just being mindful of your well-being and your mental health. I’ll post links to the entire list on our Toole County Extension Facebook page.
These are just a few ideas for stress busting and I know jobs in agriculture can be very stressful at times. Please remember, that I am not a doctor, but I care about our farmers and ranchers and their well-being and mental health, please visit with an actual doctor if your stress symptoms are too overwhelming.

Kim Suta Woodring
Toole County Extension

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