Wellness tips

Like taking care of your body, it’s important that you take care of your mind. Here are some quick takeaways for better mental wellness.

Helping a loved one

Having a family member with a mental illness is stressful. In addition to coping with day-to-day living, families can experience tremendous guilt, fear, grief, anxiety, self-doubt and uncertainty.

Each family member may react differently to the situation, but it's important everyone understands that the person dealing with a mental illness must always be treated with dignity and respect.

  • Keep notes about what has been happening; it can help you see patterns, etc.
  • Make a list of questions you may want to ask the doctor.
  • Offer choices to the person such as, "Will you go to the hospital with me, or would you prefer (name a friend) go with you?"
  • Have a plan for dealing with crisis situations such as who to call, what services are available, and who can support the person and family through a crisis.
  • Make sure you are looking after yourself too.

If you’re struggling to help someone you love, call your local branch of Canadian Mental Health Association or visit CMHA.ca/Resources. Many self-help organizations offer information and support to families.

Adapted from Mental Health Resources for Winnipeg CMHA 2017

How often do you run on empty?

What is the one piece of machinery you can’t do without in your day-today farming operation? Most people I ask say a tractor. Farmers know that working machinery needs maintenance to stay working. The oil needs to be changed. The motor needs to be maintained. The tires need to be in good condition, and the tractor constantly needs to be fuelled. What happens if a farmer doesn’t take care of the equipment, like running on dirty oil, low tires, or without fuel? The tractor comes to a sputtering, grinding halt. It sits useless, and the work doesn’t get done.

The human body can be compared to a running piece of machinery. Your brain is like the motor in that tractor. Your organs and limbs are like the tires and moving parts. Your body also requires fuel. For some reason, we’re far more prone to care for our machinery than we are to care for ourselves.

You are the most important machinery in your operation, and a little self-maintenance goes a long way. Eating balanced meals, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep are all important in maintaining your physical and mental health.

Your mental health matters.

Source: Cynthia Beck

3 tips for taking care of yourself

  1. Take care of your body: Regular exercise reduces symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety, especially if your work means you spend a lot of time sitting.
  2. Ask for and offer help: Assess your mental health from time to time and ask for help if you need it. Learn to recognize when someone else may be having problems and assist them in contacting resources for support. Helping others boosts their self-esteem and improves resilience.
  3. Have some fun: Once a week, do something you are passionate about. Having interests that are all-consuming and that we can “get lost in” bring us into increased happiness and creativity.

Adapted from hr.UBC.ca

Mental well-being is the combination of:

  • How you feel about yourself, the world and your life
  • Your ability to solve problems and overcome challenges
  • Your ability to build relationships with others and contribute to your communities
  • Your ability to achieve your goals at work and in life

Adapted from hr.UBC.ca

Common stressors on the farm

What would top your list of stressors? Identifying the cause is the first step to better managing stress.

Source: Agricultural Health and Safety Network

3 signs you might need a break

  1. Careless mistakes
  2. Tiredness and stress can lead to poor performance that has nothing to do with your ability to do your job. If you find yourself making frequent mistakes, schedule a decent break.

  3. Resentment towards farm and family
  4. Stress of tiredness can affect your ability to cope. When you start to resent the chores you need to do or feel you're just going in circles, that resentment creeps into your behaviour towards others. And that puts all your relationships at risk.

  5. Fantasies about quitting farming
  6. It's natural to have plans for the future, but if you spend hours dreaming about quitting this industry you once loved - without any plans about what you're going to do next - take it as a warning sign.

Adapted from Business Optimizer

How stress impacts your physical health

Feeling stressed for periods of time can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Our bodies respond to stress by releasing stress hormones. These hormones make blood pressure, heart rates, and blood sugar levels go up. The first symptoms are relatively mild, like chronic headaches and increased susceptibility to colds. However, with increased exposure to chronic stress, more serious health problems may develop. Some stress-influenced problems may develop such as:

  • Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety
  • Acne and other skin problems
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart beats
  • Weaking of the immune system
  • Menstrual problems
  • Obesity, bowel disease

Source: The Agricultural Health and Safety Network

Information provided on this webpage is general content and is not a substitute for professional advice. Concerns of anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health impacts should be discussed with your doctor or other mental health professional. If you are in crisis, please visit your local emergency department or call 911 immediately.