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Taking care of your physical and mental well-being

Balance on the Farm

Taking care of oneself varies from person to person.  We advocate that farmers and ranchers make an investment in their self-care in these four areas:  1) Sleep 2) Nutrition 3) Exercise 4) Stress Management. All four of these areas impact one another. For instance, how well a person manages his or her stress will impact their ability to sleep. How much exercise a person gets will impact his or her stress level, etc. It’s vitally important that farmers and ranchers invest time and energy into their self-care to help boost their mental and physical resilience. This will help meet the demands of their daily existence.


The sleep patterns of farmers and ranchers are often at the mercy of circumstances around them.  The birthing of livestock, calm winds at dawn that allow for spraying, the threat of impending hail storms and many other factors can mandate the farmers forego a “regular” sleep schedule.  That being said, strategies to get enough quality sleep are still vitally important for one’s mental and physical well-being.

Strategies for better sleep:


With long, hectic days, it can be easy to overlook nutrition and sacrifice good choices for convenience and speed.  It can be helpful to keep a well-stocked fridge full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains so healthy nutrition is always convenient and at your fingertips.  Additionally, we are beginning to learn more about the importance of gut health and its impact on our mental health.  Don’t forget to stay hydrated.  A well-hydrated body is more resilient to stress and sickness.  A body that isn’t hydrated isn’t functioning at its peak, and is more prone to stress.  Aim for 8-12 cups of fluid each day, with at least 5 of them being water. 


The benefits of exercise have been well-documented in helping relieve stress and anxiety. More specifically, exercise helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression by positively altering our brain chemistry. Exercising helps increase endorphins, often associated with “the runner’s high”. Exercise also helps relax us, promotes better sleep, and builds self-confidence. Farmers and ranchers get plenty of exercise, right? Well, most of the time, probably yes. However, it’s important to keep fitness in mind year round. For example, during the long days of harvest we probably don’t have time to hop off the combine and go for a run. Think about your OVERALL daily activity levels. Aim for a total of 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week to boost your moods and help keep stress levels in check. Need some ideas? For your consideration:

Stress Management

Unmanaged stress is severely hazardous to a farmer’s health. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress impacts us in the following ways:
Common effects of stress on your body

Common effects of stress on your mood

Common effects of stress on your behavior

What works for one person to manage their stress may not work for the next. What speaks to YOU to relax and unwind? Need a few new ideas? For your consideration:


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