Dairyland Peach E-Edition Dairyland Peach E-Edition - Page 22

Dairyland Peach, May 10, 2020 Page 22 Farm Manage stress to better manage the farm By UNMC, Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health Stressors on and off the farm have seldom been more prominent than they are today. While some stress can result in positive out- comes, how much is too much? Extension educator at the University of Ne- braska/Lincoln, Brandy VanDeWalle, said per- sistent stress that causes prolonged sleeplessness, marked changes in behav- ior, or dependence on sub- stances such as drugs or alcohol, are red flags that generally signal a need for professional assistance. “Stress that motivates us to get things done, such as planting and harvest, can be a good thing,” VanDeWalle said. “If stressful situations drain our energy and make us overly anxious or with- draw from socializing, we may need to seek help to deal with it.” Signs of stress overload may include a sudden lack of ability to make deci- sions, abrupt agitation, declining quality in work such as caring for live- stock. “That kind of situation could lead to increased ac- cidents, which hopefully aren’t fatal,” VanDeWalle said. Stress is defined as “anxiety, strain, or ten- sion caused by a new burden or outside force, resulting in an internal struggle that often causes apprehension or uneasi- ness.” Increased levels of stress over a long period of time may threaten an individual’s mental and/ or physical health. The key to dealing with stress can lie in our acceptance skills, which allow us to see the stressor as control- lable or uncontrollable. Additional symptoms may include moodi- ness, neglecting personal health, low self-esteem, loneliness, hopelessness and thoughts of suicide. To help cope with stress, begin evaluating your ability to deal with it by asking yourself some questions: 1. Has this happened before? 2. What did I learn the last time this hap- pened? 3. Are my fears real- istic? 4. Next year, how im- portant will this be? 5. What else can I do? Helpful self-talk includes: 1. I did the best I could in that situation. 2. Things are hard, so I will focus more. 3. Someday we will laugh about this. 4. This is a learning experience. 5. Focus on control- ling what is controllable. Maintaining a posi- tive attitude and avoiding automatic assumptions about negative outcomes helps in living and work- ing with others to identify solutions to stressors. Other ways to reduce stress include: • Regular exercise • Prioritize times for leisure activities • Eating healthy • Managing time and planning work/activities • Begin a new hobby or revive a past one • Get enough sleep and maintain a regular sleep schedule • Look for something positive in each day • Connect with sources of support • Set realistic goals and expectations • Balance work and play • Don’t be afraid to ask for help “Pride, reluctance to admit to any weakness and fear of stigma related to a need for counseling or help with stressful condi- tions are all reasons peo- ple avoid reaching out,” VanDeWalle said. “Farm- ers are sometimes fearful that a counselor won’t tru- ly understand the stresses of farm life. Anyone who has an uncomfortable ex- perience with a counselor should know they can seek a different counsel- ing source. It’s like ob- taining a second opinion for a health issue. Don’t hesitate to look further for the source that fully meets your need.” Signs of excessive stress may be apparent to family and friends well before a person sees their Farmers, like anyone else, need to find ways to reduce stress. need for assistance. In that case, active listening is an it’s critical to use a non- to contact them.” fidential mental health important tool in discov- judgmental approach. If the offer to help is services and information ering the best path to well- “On my phone, I use met with a negative re- about farm mediation ness. the name AAA to keep sponse, let the person clinics at 800-464-0258. “It can be very difficult the National Suicide Pre- know that the gesture was Farm Mediation, a to know how to approach vention Hotline number made because their per- service to help resolve someone if you believe (800-273-8255) at the top sonal well-being is impor- disputes involving farm they’re of my list,” tant to you. loans, etc., is available by struggling VanDeWalle “You might also tell calling 402-471-4876. “It can be very to cope,” said. “That them you believe it’s bet- Nebraska Resource difficult to know way, if I’m ter to lose their friendship and Referral System VanDeWal- le said. “We how to approach talking to than to see them lose their (NRRS) lists toll free should be s o m e o n e life,” VanDeWalle said. numbers, websites, and someone if you empathetic, who needs “If they are angry, it’s email contacts to help in believe they are help, I have likely they’ll get over it in quickly connecting to spe- sympathetic and per- struggling to cope.” i m m e d i at e time. If not, it’s still better cific services. Visit nrrs. haps share access to as- to act on an instinct than ne.gov. some in- — Brandy VanDeWalle sistance.” regret not helping some- sight gained Anytime one who ends up harming Additional resources: in our own struggles with a person acknowledges themselves.” Crisis Text Line – Text a similar situation. We thoughts of suicide, it’s “There are many HOME to 741741 could ask if the person recommended that they stressors that farmers National Suicide Pre- has considered talking are not allowed to be iso- can’t control,” VanDe- vention Resource Center to someone about their lated and by themselves Walle said. “Commod- at www.sprc.org – find in- situation and shouldn’t before receiving help. ity prices, weather, equip- formation about suicide, hesitate to ask if they’ve “If you’re able to con- ment breakdowns. When effective prevention in- considered hurting them- nect them with a resource, families farm together, it formation, resources and selves or taking their life.” you might offer to follow may involve unique types programs, training, news While confronting sui- up with them in a few of stress. All of us can and highlights and more. cidal thoughts may be days to see how they’re adopt the attitude that uncomfortable, research doing,” VanDeWalle said. we manage what we can Funding for this educa- documents that those who “If you extend that offer, and do the best with those tional article comes from attempt suicide say they be sure to follow up with things that are out of our the Central States Center were less likely to try hurt- them. 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