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Hadfield and Hughes: Mental health tips from two iconic Canadians

  • 1 min read

Uncertainty, pressure and stress are common to Canadian agricultural producers, and recognizing the negative impact of those and other factors, can have on a farmer’s mental health is important.

Learning through others can be an important step in caring for our mental health.

Two iconic Canadians, Col. Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian commander of the international space station, and Clara Hughes, summer and winter Olympic champion, are familiar with coping with high mental demands. During a recent FCC Virtual Event, Hatfield and Hughes shared their experiences with farmers and offered tips for managing mental health.

For Col. Chris Hadfield, the mental demands of commanding the international space station were high.

“How do you deal with the danger of it? If you make one mistake, everyone dies,” he says.

He reduced stress by taking control where he could – understanding the risks and preparing. And he created a list of questions that farmers can ask in their own lives:

  • What are the actual risks?
  • What do the risks look like?
  • How am I going to deal with the risks?

Identifying the risks allows us to plan, prepare and learn from them.

Hughes recommends finding mental health resiliency tools to help cope with mental stresses.

With a background of addiction and depression, her number one resiliency tool is hiking, where the rhythm of her steps and breaths is like meditation. She recommends that everyone figure out what calms them, whether it’s walking or something else like reading.

For more mental health tips and advice, check out the resources in FCC Wellness.

Article by: Myrna Stark-Leader