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We all need a break; make sure to take one

Christina Winch for Progressive Dairy Published on 20 August 2019

Rest is both a noun and a verb according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. A bodily state characterized by minimal function and metabolic activities and peace of mind or spirit are a couple of the definitions you will find for rest as a noun.

Rest as a verb can be defined as to be free from anxiety or disturbance. As farmers, we are not very good at resting as either a noun or a verb, but in order for us to be the best we can, it’s important to make sure we are resting.

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I am not going to quote any statistics about the mental health of farmers because I feel that other forms of agriculture media have done a good job of making those numbers public. I will also admit that I am not very good about resting myself, but over the years, my husband and I have found some simple ways to rest. What follows are a few things we do on our farm to rest that I am hoping will help you find ways to relax as well.

1. Make it a point to call it quits early every so often. When milking is done for the evening, don’t do extra work late into the evening. Throw a frozen pizza in the oven, put a movie on or watch your favorite television show. Crack open your beverage of choice. Snuggle with your significant other or the children. This can last half an hour or two, but the time together allows us to rest.

2. From April to October, we visit a little ice cream shop just up the road. We will hop in the car, often still in our barn clothes, and drive to the shop for a treat. Then we take a drive to check out the countryside, crops and God’s creation. My children often take their cameras and catch great shots of wildlife, sunsets and nature. I always feel rejuvenated after these outings.

3. Our work on the farm sometimes gets in the way of enjoying community activities. One of the best ways to visit friends and rest a bit is to say that things on the farm can wait. Hop in the truck and head out to the town festival, Friday night football game or county fair. A bit of time off the farm and in a different environment is a good way to rest, even if just for a moment.

4. Don’t be afraid to take an afternoon nap. 

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5. Take a sunset walk, or drive around the farm. This is one of my favorites to do this time of year.  Peter and I will leave the kids in the house and get some time to soak in God’s creation. These walks and drives can be relaxing after a long, hard day on the farm.

6. Get away. This can be accomplished in different ways. I recall when I first start dating my husband, my in-laws would just check into a hotel in a neighboring town for the weekend. We have done this every now and then too. Kids can swim, a soak in the hot tub does the body good, and maybe there are some hiking trails nearby. We try to do this at least once a year.

These ideas are nothing fancy – just a few simple things you can do even in these tough times to rest. It’s amazing how an hour of rest can get you through a few rough days. Farmers tend to take care of their animals and crops first, but we can only do so much if we don’t take care of ourselves too. What are you going to do to rest this week?  end mark

Christina Winch
  • Christina Winch

  • Dairy Producer
  • Fennimore, Wisconsin
  • Email Christina Winch

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