ST. CLOUD, Minn. — In part 2, we talked about positive behaviors we could apply to our diet to make our bodies and minds feel tip-top. Now that we are eating well and setting ourselves up for success, we can focus our attention on behaviors we can use to lighten our emotional load. This article will continue our conversation around stress in agriculture and what you can do about it.
Keep your sense of humor- Laughter is quite frankly a tool. We can use this lens to change our perspective of a given situation, breaking the cycle of increasing stress. That tool is a little bit easier to use when we are around other people. That’s one of the reasons gathering spaces like coffee shops, restaurants, sporting events, and churches (places that have been a little hard to get to during COVID) are so popular during stressful times (Donham & Thelin, 2016). Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to grab a friend and get laughing! I will be revisiting my old Calvin and Hobbes comic books, then watching some “I Love Lucy” greatest hits.
Avoid Unhealthy De-stress Methods- One of the unfortunate consequences of too much stress is an increased risk of drug, alcohol, or tobacco use and abuse. For example, today, a person can escape a given, looming problem. Down the road, this can result in complications long term. If you are concerned about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and your health and personal safety or the health and safety of a loved one, support and assistance are available at Extension’s Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline 1-833-600-2670 x 1. This confidential helpline connects callers to financial help, mental health counselors, and legal assistance. Never be afraid to ask for help.
Talk about it- Have you ever had a good friend or loved one asked out of the blue, “are you ok?” and you reply “everything’s fine” when it’s not? I think we all have. I propose that next time that situation happens, you openly respond. Share how you are genuinely feeling. Families and farm couples who handle stress well communicate freely. Unquestionably there is a learning curve. When individuals share all the information, what they fear and have questions about, we can assist each other in finding solutions, and problems become easier to solve (Donham & Thelin, 2016). It’s not easy, but it helps, and we can be stronger because of it. The information for this article was compiled from Ohio State University Extension, “Farm Stress & Decision-Making During Challenging Times” linked here (https://z.umn.edu/OSUFarmStress). Residents of Stearns, Benton, and Morrison counties can direct questions to either my email (email@example.com) or call my desk phone at (320) 255-6169 x 3.
— Dana Adams, University of Minnesota Extension
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