By Lorie Smith

Recently, I reached out to Becky Hunt, MSW, RSW, Mental Health Counsellor, Central Grey Bruce Community Mental Health Team to get some pointers about what we can do to prioritize self care at anytime, especially right now. We hope that something here will resonate with you, and help you cope with life.

Self-care is something that works best when it is part of your daily routine, so it isn’t another thing to do on the already miles long list.  Practice grounding yourself when you find things overwhelming or you can’t shut your brain off.  Do this as many times a day as needed.  When you brush your teeth, drinking your morning coffee, walking to the barn, doing field work, caring for the animals etc – focus on what you can see, hear, smell, touch and taste.   If you need help remembering, put sticky notes where you will see them – with the toothbrush/toothpaste, coffee mugs, reminders in your phone etc.

With long days in the tractors and isolated from others, find things to help you feel connected, make a phone call, plan an event or time to spend with someone you care about, listen to a pod cast or download a comedy that makes you laugh.  Everyone has their favourites.  Ask around to see what your neighbours are listening too.

Delegate tasks as you can and are appropriate, get as much sleep as possible and eat as well as possible.  It is hard to take bathroom breaks when in the fields, but drinking water is very important in keeping our body and mind healthy!  With all the sitting and repetitive actions, try and stretch or get some cardio exercise.  The Canadian guidelines suggest 150 mins a week for adults which is 20 mins a day.  Take a brisk walk, ride your bike, go to an exercise class, swim etc.  Working this into your day is going to make it easier as well. When scouting crops, walk briskly; when choring do squats, pull ups or other exercise moves, try and make it fun!  Take breaks to walk around and stretch when sitting stationary for the majority of the day, either in the tractor or doing desk work.  Incorporating yoga will help with flexibility, soreness and grounding.  A quick search on Youtube will bring up many options –  you can find 5 minute videos or hour long, pick what works for you!

Get off the farm!  With COVID currently we are not able to travel as we have in the past, but this can be an opportunity to explore the beautiful area we live in!  Hike a section of the Bruce Trail, go to a conservation area or provincial park, explore the area you call home! Do something to contribute to your community and connect with others – join an activity as they are available – pick up hockey, curling, pickleball etc.  Join a service club – 4H, Girl Guides, brownies, Lions, the board of a local farming organization, etc.

As the FCC Rooted in Strength publication states, to take care of yourself: Take care of your body; ask for and offer help; and have some fun!

Take care all!

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