Positive attitude reduces stress

The deadline to complete the Census of Agriculture can cause stress, especially when rain is on the way and there are still 500 acres of canola left to seed.

Gerry Friesen, a conflict mediator in La Salle, Man., says farmers who start to feel stressed and anxious need to step back and focus on personal care.

“At this time of year, I tell farmers to pace themselves,” he says.

“If you don’t, you can start to panic and then safety becomes an issue.

“I suspect a lot of the info required by the census will be in most farmers’ heads and, at this time of the year, they may think filling out the forms is a pain, but don’t let your attitude get in the way.”

Friesen suggests blocking time to do the census. It may not take as long as expected and having farm records close at hand to refer to will speed the process.

Whether farmers are stressed about doing the census at a busy time or dealing with a mechanical issue in the field, Friesen says the coping strategy is the same.

Eat regularly, get enough rest and take time to exercise.

“Be aware of your mental health,” he says.

The work will get done and making yourself ill by worrying about it creates bigger problems, Friesen says.

Farmers and their families who do become overwhelmed by stress can call the rural support stress line at 204-571-4180 (toll-free number in Manitoba 1-866-367-3276) or visit www.ruralsupport.ca.

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