You sharpen the blades on your hand tools. You change the oil in your tractor. You check your fencing and water systems regularly to ensure your livestock is safe and cared for while out in the pasture. This is all considered good management — after all, these are your farm assets and without them you will be out of business. So what are you doing to protect your farm’s most valuable asset? Ummm, that would, of course, be you.
Body, mind and spirit can all take a beating in the craziness of the production season. You owe it to yourself to put a few systems in place that will encourage you to engage in some self-care. Not doing so can result in decreased efficiency, professional burnout, and even physical injury. Any of these consequences can make the difference between a successful season and trouble.
Caring for your body. A few simple, common-sense tips can make a huge difference in how you feel at the end of the day.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Eat. Don’t skip meals. Your body needs the fuel for the grueling work you are going to ask of it.
- Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun–don’t forget your lips, tips of your ears and back of the neck. A hat is important equipment to keep the sun off your head and to help shade your eyes.
- Take frequent breaks when you are doing repetitive jobs like transplanting or weeding — your joints will thank you later. Remember to stop and stretch periodically.
- If you are spending time in areas where ticks are common check yourself several time throughout the day and remove any ticks you find.
- Get your rest. Eight hours of sleep may not be possible every night but your brain needs at least six hours in order to restore itself from the day’s exertion.
- Switch gears occasionally. It is easy to be consumed with work related details but make some time to read a book, listen to music, meditate or just day dream.
- Watch out for stress. A little is good but a lot can be toxic.
- Laugh often. Not only will it release endorphin, it actually relaxes major muscle groups.
Caring for your spirit. There are many things beyond your control but keeping everything in perspective can help you manage what you can a little more effectively.
- Have a little “me” time every day. Even a short walk in the morning can help you be more mindful throughout the day.
- Don’t let social interactions fall by the wayside. It is important to maintain contact with your social network –especially when you are the most busy and have the least time.
- Ask for help. If you feel overwhelmed reach out and ask for help.
- Keep a journal. Writing can be a powerful way to connect with your spiritual self.
- Be grateful. Find time to reflect on the things in your life that you are truly grateful for.
So, we want to know…How are you taking care of yourself this season?