While we cannot control all the events of our lives, we can learn to manage the symptoms of stress. Here are a few stress management techniques that you can try:
- Think about the events that stress you out. Write them down. Now, think about (or write down) which of these stressors are within your control and which are not.
- Focus on the issues that are within your control; Decide whether the situation is a "big" or "little" deal.
- Ask yourself these questions: "Does this event put me/someone I care about in physical danger? Will this situation have long-term impacts on my life? Is there anything I can do to change the situation? Can I do something to change it right away, or can it wait? Will getting angry (or another emotion) help?"
- Learn to accept the things you cannot change. Take time to grieve losses (personal, financial, relationships, the farm) but be prepared to go on and not dwell in the past. Stop blaming yourself or others. Instead, focus your energy on resolving those things that are within your control and sphere of influence.
- Break tasks down into manageable pieces and set priorities. Learn how to say no sometimes!
- Celebrate your accomplishments. You're worth it!
- Balance work and play - especially on the farm where home and work are so connected;
- Listen to your body: pay attention to the signs of stress and look after yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep, and do moderate exercise;
- Avoid the chemical haze (incl. alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, coffee);
- Develop a positive attitude: "He who has a 'why' to live can bear almost any 'how'".
- Laugh! Under severe stress we often lose our sense of humour. Children laugh an average of 400 times a day, compared to the 15 laughs/day that the average adult experiences.
- Nourish relationships with others. Go out of your way to make someone else happy with small but meaningful gestures;
- Practice being a better communicator in all your relationships; both as a listener and a speaker.
- Enjoy nature - emotional pain can awaken a deeper sensitivity to life and all its gifts;
- Reach out for help. Talk to your doctor, trusted friend, clergy, mental health professional, or the counsellors at the Manitoba Farm & Rural Support Service. Taking care of yourself will have a ripple effect on those around you as well.
For more information on Stress Management, go to: www.de-stress.ca