Managing Stressful Times

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Farmer/Rancher Safety

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    Helping Alberta Ranchers and Farmers Cope With ...
    • stress
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • suicide
    • emotional or psychiatric crises
    The Help Line Is Here When You Need It:
    • We won't judge you
    • We have ideas and resources for handling stress, anxiety and depression
    • We can help identify additional options for dealing with your specific situation
    • We have experts trained to help you if you or someone you know is thinking of suicide or experiencing emotional or psychiatric crises
    • We treat all calls as confidential
    • We can put you in touch with services in your own community. There is a range of mental health services available cross Alberta covered by Alberta Health Care Insurance.
    The stress that ranchers and farmers experience on a day-to-day basis can feel like 'make or break' pressure. Know your warning signs and the resources available to help.

    Warning Signs of Stress


    • increased heart rate
    • rapid breathing
    • tense muscles
    • increased blood pressure
    • sleep and appetite problems
    • irritability
    • anger, yelling and losing one's temper
    • lack of concentration
    • feeling 'jumpy' and anxious
    If unchecked, stress can lead to...
    • insomnia
    • stomach ulcers
    • high blood pressure
    • back pain and headaches
    • heart disease
    • depression and suicide
    Healthy Ways to Deal with Stress
    • Share the situation openly and honestly with family members. Ignoring problems and hiding feelings can hurt your family.
    • Many ranchers and farmers find it extremely frustrating that hard work does not always lead to success. You are not alone. Help your neighbours and let them help you.
    • You might be feeling "What did I do to deserve this?" Accept that some things can't be changed. Learn to distinguish between things you can and cannot control.
    Don't use alcohol or drugs. Substance abuse can be an outcome of bottled up feelings.
    Don't get stuck thinking the "If only I had..." scenarios. These will not help you and can lead to more feelings of frustration.

    Give Yourself a Break!

    While you may not be able to control the source of your stress, you can manage its effect on your life. Try these suggestions:
    • Keep a structure to your day. Set priorities and plan to accomplish small goals.
    • Eat right, exercise and try to get enough sleep even if that means taking a nap if you find you cannot sleep at night.
    • For some people, keeping busy is important. Cut down on the demands, set priorities and plan to accomplish small goals. Keep a structure to your day.
    Despite Your Best Efforts...

    You may find yourself needing extra help. Prolonged and/or unresolved stress can lead to depression. Depression is easily treated. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you will feel better. Consider...

    • Do I have family or friends who I can trust and talk to for support?
    • Can my spiritual advisor/organization offer assistance?
    • Can I talk to my doctor for assistance or referral for services?
    • Are there other agencies in my community that can help? (Check your telephone book.)
    Mental Health Help Line

    (Toll-free from anywhere in Alberta)

    • Confidential
    • Serving communities across Alberta
    • Available 24 hours daily, seven days per week
    • Access to mental health professionals
    • Crisis intervention
    • Callers can choose to be anonymous
    • Available to individuals, family members, concerned others and community agencies dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, suicide and other emotional or psychiatric crises
    For non-emergency information check out:

    For further agricultural information, call Alberta Agriculture and Forestry's Ag Info Centre at 310-FARM (Toll-free from anywhere in Alberta)
    8:00 am to 5:00 pm
    Monday to Friday except statutory holidays

    It is a sign of strength to ask for help if you need it.

    Remember, there are many resources in Alberta that you can reach to for help.

    Alberta Farm Safety Program
    or toll-free: 310-FARM (3276)

    Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Farm Safety Staff:
    Janice Donkers, Youth Coordinator:
    Kenda Lubeck, Awareness Coordinator:
    Raelyn Peterson, Coordinator:
    Sharon Stollery, Manager:
    Blair Takahashi, Specialist:

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Kenda Lubeck.
This information published to the web on June 20, 2005.
Last Reviewed/Revised on November 6, 2018.