Self care in agriculture isn’t something we’ve talked about. As farmers, we’ve learned that you take care of the farm and those around you first. It’s also engrained in us that during hard times whether that’s hard times on the farm or hard times you are going through personally, you put your head down and physically work through it.
That may work for some but for others, not working through those challenges, giving the attention, energy and help those hard times need, it can create even more issues, challenges for you and others. I hope the perception around self care changes from one that is selfish, a weakness, “girly” to one of productivity, health, and needed for us farmers.
When we first started talking about self care on the farm and within our family, we thought it was having more bubble baths and yoga which Matt didn’t want to have any part of it. For me, on the other hand, I’d love that.
That’s when we learned taking care of yourself is different from one person to the next. We’ve also rephrased “self care” to “putting you on the list.” Your list will be different but your list has things that fill you up. They fill up your “slip tank.”
Self care isn’t always about doing things that bring you joy. Sometimes self care is uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s calling your banker to let them know about an upcoming bill payment. Sometimes it’s telling a loved one you are having a hard time. Sometimes it’s telling a friend no and sometimes it’s taking a 10 minute break, getting off the combine to refocus and breathe. Self care may be hard but it also may be a step in the right direction for you. Self care isn’t selfish, but productive.
There’s so much to do on the farm and if something has to give, it’s usually the farmer. I hope that changes in the future. I hope that as farmers, you are on your list. You deserve to be #1. You’re #1 on my list