Nurturing mental health and wellness on the farm

Bad weather this year could contribute to anxiety, feeling of being overwhelmed

Most Alberta farm operations are family-based businesses where farmers live, work and play. It can be hard to get away from the daily grind.

Daily chores, inclement weather, business planning and financial management can be a lot for a person to handle. It is important that farm owners and family members know the signs and symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and depression.

“When you begin to feel overwhelmed or burnt out, one of the best things you can do is call a timeout, step back and take a moment for yourself. When you take time for yourself, you are giving your mind and body a break and time to re-energize,” says Dr. Nicholas Mitchell, Senior Medical Director with Addiction and Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network.

Those who are feeling effects of fatigue, anxiety or depression may:

feel sad, grumpy or moody

lose interest in their usual activities

eat more and crave carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta

gain weight

sleep more but still feel tired

have trouble concentrating

have thoughts that life is not worth living

“There is no reason to wait until you are feeling burnt out to make time for yourself a priority. Building breaks into your days can help keep stress from mounting,” says Dr. Mitchell.

Some ways to help focus on yourself and combat these feelings include:

Getting regular exercise.

Getting more sunlight may help. Try to get outside to exercise when the sun is shining.

Being active during the daytime, especially early in the day. It may help increase energy levels and lessen feelings of anxiousness or depression.

Ensuring your body is getting proper nutrition and hydration.

Speaking to your physician if your symptoms go on for two weeks or more.

For more information on stress and stress management, contact Health Link Alberta at 811, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca or call the Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642.

For more information on farm safety, visit the Farm Safety webpage.

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