Farm Stress During the Holidays

The holidays are known as a happy time for gift giving and holiday cheer, but for many farmers and ranchers, the end of the year brings with it an oversupply of stress.  Uncertainty of the future, winter farm tasks, taxes, determining profits and losses, and providing gifts for the family all pile up.  Your mental health is just as important as the health of your crops, livestock, and business, so it is important to take time to manage your stress during this season.

Photo of barn in snow

How can you manage your stress when you may not have control over the weather, prices of your crops or livestock, or the seasons?  We have included some helpful tools for times when you feel like the stress is piling up.

Make Priorities

The reality is, there will always be things you are not able to finish.  Sometimes it feels like the world will end if you do not get everything complete on your to do list, but reality is, it will most likely be there tomorrow.  Set some time to prioritize your tasks so you tackle the most important things first.  You will feel better if you can check off the biggest things on your to do list.  The small tasks will be there tomorrow.

Give Yourself a Break

You are doing the best you can.  Worrying about not completing everything on your to-do list does not make it any shorter.  Often times, we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves.  Making sure all your livestock is fed, equipment is winterized, making a 5 course holiday meal, having the best decorated tree, and attending all the holiday events is just not possible.  If you need to order a pizza and use a gift bag instead of wrapping presents in order to spend quality time with your family, that is okay.

Let Others Help Out

Whether asking family to help with farm chores or letting the grandparents watch the kids so you can get holiday shopping done, it is okay to take assistance.  Letting others help you gives you more time to focus on those important tasks that only you can do.

Be Present

Presents are all the buzz during the holidays, but what about PRESENCE.  It is easy to let stress take over your mood and steal your joy.  This time of year is full of special moments spent with family and friends.  Take a few minutes this holiday season to just be present and enjoy the memories being made.  The farm chores will be there after the holidays, so enjoy the time you have with the ones you love.

Set a Budget

Finances may be one of the most common stressors during the holidays.  Buying gifts for your family and friends on top of regular expenses can be overwhelming.  Set a budget for gifts and holiday spending and only spend within your means.  Research shows that stress increases when you feel like you are not in control. Creating a budget puts you in control of your finances, instead of your financial situation controlling you.

Get Help if You Need It

It’s okay to not be okay.  For many people, the holidays brings grief and sadness.  Getting help from a doctor, counselor, or therapist is okay.  You would not expect someone to heal a disease without help, and your brain and emotions are no different.  For resources to assist in your area, dial 211.

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