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A Message of Hope for Farmers

A Message of Hope During a Stressful Spring

My heart hurts from the devastation that covid 19, milk dumping, and falling commodity prices has causes farmers worldwide. However, today I aim to share a message of hope.

There has been an incredible silver lining as a result of covid19.

First off, I want you to remember that mother nature rules all. We can see with covid 19 that mother nature yields for no one. As a farmer, this is nothing new to us. We are in a constant dance with her, we are used to her changes, and used to the rug being ripped out from under us. We will survive, we will be okay.

For consumers this has caused a huge shift. There is one major external factor at play here that nobody could have predicted, and that is that food consumers, for the first time, in a perhaps you could say decades, are realizing the importance of the American farmer.

As people found grocery shelves empty and panicked about food supply and other necessities, they realized that farmers really are the back bone and the foundation of American food, fuels, and fiber.

This is a huge opportunity for American farmers because the public opinion has suddenly changed. Farmers are important again, and it’s time we share our story. Use our voices and relate to people in a way that we have not been able to for several generations. So I encourage you today to use your social media’s to share your story, share your side of food production.

Another silver lining is that since the entire world is hurting right now we are suddenly all working together. In the past few years, tariffs and laws have separated the world. Now with this common problem of covid 19, it's providing a stage where the world can work together.

I can't promise that there will be new trade deals or changes in foreign policy however all I'm saying is that suddenly the public is hyper aware of where things come from. As we fast forward in the next several weeks and China ramps up production on goods, there is a chance some of the tariffs and laws will adjust for production and importation of all goods.

Now, this doesn’t really change things your farm today, so here are a few tips to manage stress in the meantime. These are my favorite tips and the way that I personally handle my anxiety.

3 Tips for Springtime Stress Management

When you are feeling stressed out, panicked, and like anxiety is going to swallow you whole, just remember calm comes after you purposely stopping the stress cascade.

The stress cascade is simply this: when we feel a stressor (it doesn’t matter if it’s a mechanical breakdown, an angry conversation, or just a bad thought) our body releases adrenalin. That adrenalin causes our heart to race, our breathing to increase, our palms to sweat. In essence it prepares us to fight. The problem is, we probably don’t have to actually fight anyone.

To stop the stress cascade, you have to “use up” all the extra adrenalin rushing around your body.

1.Hands down the best way to use up the adrenalin causing stress and anxiety is to exercise. Now, I'm not telling you to walk run a mile or start doing crossfit (unless that is your thing) however, when you're feeling stressed take a lap around the barn or do some pushups. Something to get your blood pumping because it essentially burns off extra adrenaline that was released during the “stress” and helps us to calm down quicker. So, the next time you are feeling pressure, overwhelmed or downright angry take a walk.

2. Fill your mind with good things, activating the five senses. Find five good things, that you can surround yourself with right now. What is something pleasant that you can hear, smell, touch, taste and see. This is actually easy to do.

For example, you are working on something and you suddenly feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and anxious. Stand up, take a deep breath, notice the sun on your face, the birds chirping, the smell of freshly turned dirt. Look up at the sky to see the beauty in the clouds. . . .and go get yourself a fresh cup of coffee (or water). This is a simple thing that will help you to ease stress. Plus, when you come back to working you will actually be refocused and have a clearer head because you “used up” excess adrenalin and now you can focus at the task at hand.

3. I saved the best for last! Did you know that stretching is proven to be the best way to reduce stress, reduce chance of injury and help you to actually sleep better at night? Simply stretch all major muscles groups (if you need help I have a free downloadable checklist called the Ultimate Guide to Stretching on my website hold each stretch for 30 seconds. It is so good for our bodies our stress level, plus it feels really good after a hard day’s work.

Don't forget to take a walk, remember your five senses, stretch, and do things that make you feel good, every single day; even in the Spring, even when we're busy, even when we have more problems than time.

~ Sarah Zastrow with Cultivate Balance


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