Nurturing mental health and wellness on the farm

  From the January 21, 2019 issue of Agri-News
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 Most Alberta farm operations are family-based businesses where farmers live, work and play. Because of this, 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 are:

  • Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself
  • Particularly this time of year, getting more sunlight may help, so try to get outside to exercise when the sun is shining
  • Being active during the daytime, especially early in the day, may help you have more energy and feel less anxious or depressed
  • Ensure your body is getting proper nutrition and hydration
  • Speak to your physician if your symptoms go on for two weeks or more
For more information on stress, stress management and how to identify stress, contact Health Link Alberta at 811 or visit For more information on farm safety, visit the Alberta Farm Safety Program at
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Kenda Lubeck.
This document is maintained by Christine Chomiak.
This information published to the web on January 18, 2019.