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Making New Year’s Resolutions…Fun?? A question for you: Who says that New Year’s Resolutions have to feel like a chore? Who made up that rule? Why do most of us talk about committing to exercise more, eat healthier, de-clutter the house? Yes, these could all possibly be beneficial things, but no, they don’t often seem to stick. By some accounts, only 9% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually follow through on them. But what if we weren’t so focused resolutions being “healthy” – the sort of healthy like Brussel sprouts, where we feel like we should incorporate more of them into our life…but really don’t want to. What if we could just make our resolutions…fun? What if, instead of focusing on what we think we should be doing, we simply made resolutions around more of what bring us joy in life? Joy is a powerful emotion, after all.…

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Winter is a time for rest and renewal for those who work in agriculture. However, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season combined with family obligations, occasional high emotions, and the reduced, yet ever-present work on the farm or ranch often overshadow the need for personal well-being. Yet, finding balance during the holiday season is paramount to a joyful and healthy experience.  1. Prioritizing the Essentials  In a fast-moving world that moves even faster during the holidays, time is a precious commodity. Prioritizing tasks and events based on two the following two factors – significance and impact – helps create a realistic schedule.  When making that to-do list, write everything down and then go through each item, asking yourself, “What is the significance of this task/event?” and, “What is the impact of this event?” Then review your lowest scoring items and consider if those items can be condensed, compacted,…

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Make an Offer How do you show support for a friend who is going through a rough patch?  Most of us can probably name someone who lent us a hand during a hard time. That person who said or did just the right thing when we needed it most. Being on the other side of that equation, however, is difficult. We see someone struggling and want to help, but don’t know how. We want to offer support, but we don’t want to say the wrong thing. We want to help, but we don’t want to be pushy.  How do we strike that balance?  In a previous AgWell column, we touched on the importance of active listening: listening just for the sake of listening, without any attempt to solve the problem at hand. By simply using phrases like, “Tell me more,” or “What’s on your mind these days?” we can hold…

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The Importance of Completing the Stress Cycle  We all know what it’s like to feel stressed.   Unfortunately, most of us also know what it is like to feel chronically stressed, weighed down by a cycle of worry that robs us of sleep and upsets our peace of mind.   We are rolling into yet another busy season of farming and ranching: long days, short nights, endless to-do lists, and the inevitable crisis that pops up when we least want it. The growing season is stressful, and managing that stress is key to farmer and rancher wellness. To do so, it’s worth understanding that stress comes in two types: acute and chronic.   Acute stress occurs as a result of a specific incident but resolves itself quickly once the stressful situation is resolved. Acute stress is when you’re driving down the highway and a tire blows out, making your heart race until you…

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Healthy Stress vs Unhealthy Stress As any farmer or rancher knows, life in agriculture is often stressful. We love what we do, but the hours are long, the workload heavy, and much of the day-to-day – from commodity prices to weather – is out of our control. The constant demands of running a farm or ranch combined with the inherent unpredictability of agricultural life can result in a feeling of being chronically stressed. Yet, despite the negative connotations stress has earned over the years, all stress is not created equal. Recognizing the difference between healthy stress and unhealthy stress is an excellent first step in learning to manage overall stress levels. Healthy stress is short-term. It motivates you to take needed action, but once action is taken the stress passes and you feel a sense of relief. Say you’re out working a pasture and your bull decides to charge. That’s…

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Wellness Check-In Challenge To the extent that any farmer or rancher has a “quiet” season, winter is it. There is still plenty of work to do, certainly. However, winter, with its frozen fields and short days marks one of the more reflective times of year. A season to take what rest we can get and gather ourselves before the next busy season begins. Now, with winter ending, we here at AgWell are offering a simple challenge to all our farmers and ranchers: before you leap into the spring take five minutes to do an honest wellness check. We’ve created a simple one for you, here. Read through each category, answering the questions honestly in your head. Then, rank yourself on a scale of 1 (terrible) to 5 (excellent.) Physical Wellness: How are you feeling physically, today? Does any body part hurt? Are you having trouble completing any tasks? When was…

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The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. Jon Kabat-Zinn How often do you find yourself saying the word “busy?” As in, “Man, things are really busy right now.” Or, “I’ll take care of that project when it’s a little less busy.” How about, “I’d love to make it, but things are so busy at the moment.” Or, perhaps, you simply wake up in the morning with that to-do list racing around your head and just feel in your stomach that things are going to be busy. Busyness in itself is not inherently bad. In the agricultural world, it’s often simply the way of life. There has been a meme circulating the internet world that kind of summarizes ag life in a nutshell: And that, there, is the inherent danger of busyness: that we rush and run and work our way right through life, without stopping to take note…

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Summer Sanity – Managing Stress During the Busy Season When do you go into overdrive? Is it when you first roll out of bed, with that to-do list in your head, already knowing there aren’t enough hours in the day? Or is your overdrive in the evening, when you should be wrapping up, but realize that you still have so much to do? The goats need to be milked, the greens beds weeded. The chickens are out of feed and their coop is overdue for a clean-out. Or maybe the center pivot isn’t working right, you’re supposed to be cultivating fields, but you’re also behind on fertilizing and the tractor still needs its “regularly scheduled” maintenance that never seems to be as regular as it should be. Or, maybe, the cows got out (again!) resulting in an unscheduled wild goose (ahem – wild bovine) chase when actually, really, you needed…

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May Mental Health Resource Round-Up! May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as a group focused on well-being, including most certainly (and importantly!) mental health, we thought we’d make a shortlist of resources and recommendations relating to mental health and agriculture. While some of these are specific to the Rocky Mountain region that we serve via the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, many are national, some are international and some are available to anyone and everyone via the amazing miracle of the interwebs! Check them out. Click on a few links. Watch a few videos. Pass them on to someone who needs them. Connect in person, connect virtually, help us build a community of people who care! Crisis Helplines and Resources for Tough Times Are you in crisis now, or are you concerned that someone you know is? You are not alone! We have sourced free, reputable crisis hotlines available for…

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It’s spring! It’s planting season, it’s calving season, it’s a busy time for farms and ranches. While we might be coming out of the winter months feeling rested and recharged, spring is a good moment to pause and plan for this year’s busy season before it gets overwhelming. It’s an excellent time to set priorities and routines and make them habits before the full chaos of summer hits. This spring, we’re encouraging you to begin the season thinking about YOURSELF. As the old adage goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. How can you plan now to keep your cup full through the busiest months of the year?  Over the next twelve days, we’re challenging you to take some small steps to care for yourself. We’ve compiled a bunch of easy-to-execute ideas, we’ll throw out one a day on social media, we’ve got the whole bunch listed for you here,…

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