Year-round, farming is hard work. Farmers face long hours, grueling physical labor and the farm stress that comes from everything from droughts to equipment breakdowns to pest control. Those challenges can peak during harvest season, when the pressure can feel relentless. But there are ways that farmers can manage stress during the harvest season.
1. Recognize That the Harvest Season Will Be Stressful
The harvest season brings demands that can’t wait, and you’ll probably find yourself working long hours, shortchanging your sleep and expecting a lot from other people in your life. Remember, this is a season that’s going to challenge you and your farm every year. Just acknowledging that you are headed into a demanding season can help alleviate a little bit of the harvest season stress. Remember the adage, “This too shall pass.”
2. Proactively Organize Your Time
Take some time once a week to look at the days ahead and block out time for the tasks you need to complete. In the evenings, schedule the next day. Of course, there will always be interruptions and problems that crop up, but with good time management, you’ll be able to work them into your schedule.
3. Get the Sleep You Need
How much sleep do you need outside of harvest season to function well? Harvest season doesn’t change that. You might be able to manage a day or two on fewer hours of sleep, but you’re not going to function well if you’re sleep deprived — you’ll be more likely to make bad decisions and more prone to accidents. Try to create a plan before harvest season that builds in time for the sleep your body and mind need. Getting enough rest isn’t lazy. It’s smart.
4. Carve Out Time for the Things That Alleviate Your Stress
A vacation — or even a weekend off — can help you destress, but that’s probably not an option for you, especially during harvest season. Stress management for farmers can mean taking a few minutes to do something that feels refreshing and restorative to you. That might mean savoring your coffee or tea in the morning before you start your day, practicing deep breathing for five minutes or recognizing three things you’re grateful for before falling asleep at night.
5. Seek Professional Help If You Need It
Just like folks from all walks of life, farmers can struggle with mental health issues. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2020 that male farmers have a significantly higher suicide rate than the overall population. If you need help, you can connect with the Farm Aid Hotline at 800-FARM-AID to talk to someone who will listen and help you reach the help you need.
Connect with a Farm Bureau Expert
Having the right insurance coverage for your farm gives you one less thing to worry about during harvest season. Talk to a Farm Bureau agent near you to ensure your farm has the coverage you need to protect your family and your investment.