Sure, you love to farm. After all, you wouldn’t be doing it if you didn’t. Everything seems to be going perfectly well. You’re operating on all cylinders and getting everything done quickly. You never say no to anything and take on all projects without hesitation. In other words, you’re unstoppable. Until one day, it hits you like a ton of bricks – burnout.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to start farming.
Unfortunately, the negative effects of burnout can spill over into other areas of your life. When you feel empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation and beyond caring, you have no time for family and friends. Burnout can also lower your immune system, making you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. This is why you have to deal with burnout as soon as you suspect it creeping up on you.
While there are easy things you can do like eating well, taking breaks and getting enough rest, most farmers put them at the bottom of their to-do lists. After all, it’s your business. If you don’t do it, who will? However, these small choices are great choices and can keep you away from burnout. So, how do you farm in a manner that allows you to remain energetic, enthusiastic and avoid fatigue, exhaustion, and burnout? Here are a few pointers:
It’s very easy to get too busy to be organised that you’re left with heaps of clutter. So, give away anything you don’t use and keep everything well stored. When you keep everything in an orderly manner on your farm, everything else becomes easier. You don’t want to look for stuff every time. Keep the same principle with your schedule. Make time to cook a proper meal and rest. In fact, eating your own food is the best part of farming.
Make time to do what nourishes you. You’re probably preparing your fields now before the rains, therefore, working 10-14 hours in the sun, every day. You’re not only sunburnt, but burnout is also lurking. Yes, it’s hard work season but self-care is also important. So, give yourself some off time to do something you truly love: going for a bike ride, a game of soccer or tennis. Whatever you love to do, make time to do it.
3. Be Content
Farming can be overwhelming especially when there’s a drought or when your animals are dying mysteriously. This shouldn’t be a reason to break down. You have to learn to be content. Being content is a state of being that you can tap into by remembering that you have the option to not take everything to heart. It’s a state of peaceful happiness despite your circumstances.
When you’re content, you become mindful. You focus on what you need to complete now and not think about everything else that still needs to get done. Make lists if you have to, write everything down you need to do for the day, and then forget it. Simply do one thing at a time. And when you do that thing, practice gratitude and contentment.
4. Get help
Farming requires energy. There is the physical energy you need to do farm work which requires help. Allow family and friends to help and employ enough farm workers. There is also the mental energy you use to manage and coordinate. Delegate and try not to take on too much.
As much as it’s important to have a do-it-yourself attitude, you don’t have to do everything yourself for your venture to be successful. Farming has and will always be a community effort.
5. Keep it simple.
It is easy to want to grow every crop, raise every animal, have farm tours… Too much of everything is a recipe for burn out. Choose one specialty first. Start smaller than you want to be. If you can maintain your farm well, and the market is there for your produce, then consider adding more. When you do something small very well, it can produce a lot more than farming big.