Taking Care of your Mental Health - Tips for Farmers
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #10 #FarmingTogether
Need help starting the conversation? Here is some guidance from Siezetheawkward.org
- Be there for them – sometimes just knowing that someone cares and is there for them is all someone needs to get through a difficult time
- Let them know that it is possible to feel better and they are not alone
- Don’t feel like you have to give advice, problem solve, or know all the answers. Just talking with someone as they try to navigate their distress can be very powerful
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #9 - restful sleep
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #8
Telehealth is now available at many health centers. This means you can connect with a mental health provider from the comfort of your own farm, over the phone or video-conference.
Find the community mental health center in your area here: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bbh/documents/mhr-list.pdf
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #7
Self care is not selfish and it does not need to be an elaborate process. A simple walk, turning off a device, stepping away from your computer, taking a deep breath.
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #6 - BACK to BASICS
- How do you integrate physical wellness on your farm? Do you or your crew practice yoga, or pre-harvest group stretching? The National AgrAbility program works with farmers with disabilities, and has a BACK TO BASICS Exercises for Lower Back Injury Prevention poster here:
- Can you integrate a daily stretching program into your farm day? Maybe when you rise in the morning, while drinking your morning coffee, or to wrap the day. Encourage your crew to practice a daily stretching routine to keep them strong and healthy throughout the season.
- Avoid working in awkward positions or standing for long periods of time.
- When changing directions turn with the feet, not at the waist, to avoid a twisting motion.
- Wear boots with high-quality insoles to support the ankles and reduce back pain.
- Use correct lifting posture every time. Use your legs to lift, instead of your back.
- When carrying items keep them close to your body and make more trips carrying smaller loads.
- Limit repetitive tasks and chores involving poor posture. Alternating this type of task with less strenuous tasks can be effective at preventing back injuries.
- Use long-handled tools to increase leverage and reduce the need to bend or reach.
- "Push" rather than "pull" objects.
- Carts and wheelbarrows are efficient when feeding animals or hauling heavy tools.
- When in the tractor seat, adjust the seat to position your thighs parallel to the floor.
- Consider installing mirrors or cameras in equipment to reduce the need to turn.
- Replace older equipment seat cushions with new ones that have adjustable lumbar support, arm rests and adjustable thigh support.
- Modify tasks or work methods to reduce the number of times needed to get on and off equipment.
- Minimize stumbling or fall hazards by practicing good housekeeping methods in all areas of the farm. This includes keeping tractor platforms clear of tools and clutter. (Source: Ohio State Extension)
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #5
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #4
Five Steps to Help Someone at Risk (from American Farm Bureau Rural Resilience Program)
- Keep them safe
- Be there
- Help them connect
- Follow up
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #3
Depression affects one out of five farmers.
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #2
- Turn off your devices
- Connect with family or friends over the phone or video chat
- Pick a routine and stick to it
- Go for a walk
- Stretch, sleep, relax
- Eat healthy meals
Self-Care for Farmers Tip #1
For additional help:
- NH Agriculture Mediation Program provides free mediation services to the agricultural community to help resolve disputes before they end up in court.