Can you envisage a day when you awaken feeling refreshed and confident, ready to cope with most eventualities whilst maintaining good balance in life? There are several identifiable differences between those who cope under pressure and those who don’t.
In actuality, living with pressure and stress may be fine temporarily; it helps us dig deep and deliver more than we thought possible. But continual stress is counter-productive and can ultimately be detrimental. 360 physical symptoms of stress have been documented!
Intermittent symptoms, headaches, sleepless nights, irritability, poor concentration, can be excused due to being busy and overloaded. But if they continue unabated you may need to address how you’re living your life. If not, stress can start to negatively impact and cause problems.
Tips for managing stress;
1. Start as you mean to go on. Keep open conversations with those closest to you. It’s often expected that farmers will ‘man up’, stay strong and get on with it. That may work for a while, but where’s the joy in continually living like that? Talk and share your stresses when you’re needing to offload a little. Others often want to help or may come up with some great unexpected ideas and suggestions.
2. At busy times you may need to be firm, prioritise, say ‘no’ and delegate tasks. Even children can help with smaller tasks or chores. Ask for help and let others be supportive. Don’t expect them to be psychic!
3. Avoid catastrophising problems. Negative thinking can become a habit, but not everything’s about you. When you revise your perspective and start to see issues from other angles they often become less personal and more solvable.
4. Outsource tasks that are outside your area of expertise. Rather than struggle with something new or that you’re unclear about, explain the situation and let someone help you whilst you reciprocate and help them.
If you’ve got several diverse, stressful elements to your farm business, like maybe running a B&B, farm shop or market garden, could you manage stress by hiring professionals to do your accounts or advertising, so enabling you to utilise your time more effectively? Sometimes it’s worth paying for occasional domestic help too so that you return to a comfortable home after work.
5. Turn off technology each evening, unless there’s an ongoing emergency situation. Give yourself a break, a time when you switch off and invest your attention in your real relationships.
6. Ensure you have pleasant family time, perhaps a weekly meal together. If you work with family it’s especially important not to lose sight of each other as individuals, with separate personalities, opinions and lives. Show a genuine interest in each other, maintain mutual respect and follow-up on conversations.
7. Sharing fun together is important. Maybe plan a walk, game of football, time for playing together and have valuable time connecting properly with family and friends.
8. Pause and be kind to yourself, even if your efforts don’t deliver immediate tangible success. Genuinely acknowledge and appreciate your own efforts. Be generous with others too and help them manage stress, making everyone’s lives a little easier. Working on the land is hard enough and can be exceptionally unforgiving.
9. Invest in good quality sleep especially during busy seasons. Aim to wind down, relax a little and allow time to de-stress. Learn to say ‘no’ and avoid taking on other commitments if you’re already full-on and needing to focus on existing demands.
And if you find you need to temporarily reduce your working hours or responsibilities due to overwork, injury or burn out, aim to be gentle with yourself. Take life a day at a time, review future options when you’re ready and take the stress out of stress.