Self-care means ‘the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.’
Are you taking care of yourself? Chances are, you could improve your personal self-care practice by leaps and bounds.
The CYFF is here to help you with that.
On this page you’ll find our series of Self Care Sunday articles to help you learn about self-care and how you can begin implementing it into your daily routine.
You’ll also find mental health resources, sorted by province and territory, so you have the details you need to get the help you need when you need it.
We all know that our job as farmers is a tough one. You don’t have to struggle every day or feel like you’re alone. Read, learn and grow as a farmer by taking care of yourself, inside and out. We’re here to show you how.
2020/21 CYFF Mental Health Initiative Sponsor:
DR. DAVID POSEN
Dr. David Posen was a family physician for 17 years before devoting his time exclusively to stress management, lifestyle counseling and psychotherapy in 1985. As both a keynote speaker and seminar presenter, David has spoken widely to education, government, business and professional groups across North America. David is the best-selling author of five books: ALWAYS CHANGE A LOSING GAME, STAYING AFLOAT WHEN THE WATER GETS ROUGH, THE LITTLE BOOK OF STRESS RELIEF, IS WORK KILLING YOU? and AUTHENTICITY. His magazine articles have appeared in Canadian Living and Readers Digest as well as several medical journals. David has appeared many times on TV and radio across Canada and has been quoted in many leading U.S. media outlets. Married with two adult children, David lives and works in Oakville, Ontario. In addition to his busy schedule of seeing patients, writing and public speaking, he is an avid reader, musician, baseball and tennis player.
Ten Ways to Manage Your Time
- and Your Stress!
BY JESS CAMPBELL
It should be no surprise that higher stress levels can be linked to poor time management. Absolutely no one would be surprised to know that farmers are busy people. Do farmers always manage their time in the best, most efficient way possible? No. But nobody does.
But if everybody understood how time management affects stress levels and how managing your time more effectively could help decrease your stress, many, many more people would likely pay more attention to how they spend their time. Farmers included.
Dr. David Posen is an author, keynote speaker and stress management expert. Here, he provides 10 ways to improve how you manage your time and, by default, lower your stress levels.
- KEEP A SHORTER TO DO LIST
“When you try to do too much, you inevitably become overwhelmed,” says Dr. Posen. “Don’t try to conquer the world in a day. If you keep carrying items over to the next day, you’re trying to do too much.”
- BE REALISTIC ABOUT TIME FRAMES
“People often underestimate the amount of time something is going to take. If you’re often running behind, do a reality check on yourself. Something you thought would take 15 minutes might actually take 20 minutes. So give yourself a realistic timeframe to get things done.”
- LEAVE BUFFER TIME
“Don’t book things one right after another. Give yourself a little breathing room. Leave early for things so that if you get held up, you still won’t be late. The worst thing that may happen is you’ll have extra time on your hands. And we could all use some of that, right?”
- AVOID MULTITASKING
“Multitasking is a myth. You cannot do more than one thing at a time. There’s a saying that goes, ‘Attention is a zero sum game.’ If you think you can have a conversation with someone while also scanning your text messages, you can’t. If you try to listen to the TV and read the paper at the same time, you can’t. You miss things. You lose time and here’s the kicker: you make mistakes or risk injury from inattention. Multitasking is not only unproductive but also, and especially on a farm, it’s dangerous.”
“A lot of people are reluctant to delegate but then find themselves rushing and hurrying to get things done, or sweating it when they feel they won’t meet their deadlines, etcetera. Delegating certain tasks alleviates this worrying and rushing. Ask yourself, ‘Who could be doing this other than me? Who should be doing this other than me?’”
- TAKE TIME OUTS
“Time outs are when you purposefully decide to take a break. Even 10 or 15 minutes will help you break up the day. Time outs help you reduce your stress, rejuvenate your energy and give you time to think about what you’re doing. I take a mid-morning, lunch and mid-afternoon break just to clear my head, especially when I’m seeing patients all day.”
The next four tips can be practiced at any time of the year but have a particular focus on what Dr. Posen calls “crunch time.” For farmers, that means planting and harvest.
- CLEAR THE DECKS
“Focus on what you have to do; if it’s harvest, focus on that and nothing else. Don’t try to do a renovation in the house or buy a new vehicle. Just focus on the task at hand, as much as possible.”
- GET THE HELP YOU NEED
“Hire extra people. I call that trading money for time. Someone will say their margins are too thin and they can’t hire someone to do the work. But you have to ask yourself what is worth more – the money you’re going to spend to pay someone for a handful of hours, or all the time you’ll need to spend doing that work, on top of everything else? Sometimes, trading money for time is worth it even when margins are thin.”
- PACE YOURSELF
“You need to take breaks. It’s a bit of a discipline. But remind yourself that if you don’t take a break, you’re going to be less effective and efficient at what you’re doing. A great analogy is hockey players. They play in one or two minute shifts for a reason. After two minutes, in the NHL at least, they become almost useless! They need to come in and rest because they just can’t keep up.”
- AVOID LONG HOURS
“I’m not saying don’t work long hours, ever. But you have to understand that if you are tired, you’re going to be less efficient. If you’re less efficient, it’s going to take you longer to get things done which will leave you less time for sleeping and eating and time with friends and family, which will keep you tired and less efficient. It’s a vicious cycle. I have a 35-year history of getting hundreds of patients to cut back on their work hours. They think I’m nuts; they tell me, ‘I can hardly get my work done as it is. Which part of ‘I can’t get it all done now did you not hear me say?’ But the deal is that you have to give yourself the saved time for things that nourish you, like sleep and exercise and time with friends and family and hobbies and so on. Never once in those 35 years have I had a patient who couldn’t get their work done in less time when they took better care of themselves. My motto is: Sometimes, Less is More.”
“As a family doctor, have I worked long hours at times? Absolutely. But it was always for a limited time. Our work can be open-ended; we can always do more. But we’re limited by our physiology. It’s the same with hockey players, with doctors and nurses, and farmers during planting and harvest. I’m hugely respectful of people who choose to be farmers. You have chosen a very challenging and often difficult way of life. I commend you for that. But it doesn’t mean you have to throw every piece of common sense and energy management out the window just because it’s harvest time. It’s not healthy but it’s also not sustainable. It’s not that I want you only working 8 hours a day at harvest time. I just want you to work 10 or 12 instead of 14 or 15. I want you to go to bed at a relatively decent time at night, so you’ll have energy for the next day. That’s all.”