5 Tips for Combatting Burnout for Farmers


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Do you feel like you are running on empty? 

Are you irritable or angry? 

Do you dread having to do work on the farm? 

Do you feel like you are in this never-ending cycle of stress? 

If so, you might be experiencing burnout.

So, what is burnout? According to Psychology Today, “Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.” This is actually very common in farmers. In a study on Farmer Burnout in Canada with over 1000 participants, it was found that 44% of farmers were experiencing burnout at some level while 12% of farmers were categorized as burnt out. 

Why is burnout important to address? 

It not only affects the mental health of farmers, but it negatively affects their families, farm productivity, and the wellbeing of their livestock as well. 

Now that we know what burnout is and why we need to track it, how do we combat it? 

We have to be able to create a healthy balance of all aspects of our lives which includes work, romantic relationships, parenting, and our physical and mental health. This means we have to regularly take care of our mental and physical wellbeing in order to be productive and take care of others. The key word here is regularly.

Use the 5 tips below to make a plan on how you will take care of yourself.  

  • Make a list of activities you enjoy.

This could be anything from doodling, reading the newspaper or a novel, doing a puzzle, building something, or even taking naps. There is no one size fits all approach to relaxation, so you may have to get creative. These should not feel like chore! Think of something that gives you a break and leaves you feeling rested and energized.

  • Make a list of all the things that get in the way.

It is easy to tell yourself every excuse in the book when it comes to doing something to take care of yourself. There is always going to be something to tackle on the to-do list or some issue that prevents you from doing the things that you want. So, write down all of the issues, then brainstorm some solutions to work around them. This way, doing the things you want doesn’t feel impossible.

  • Share your plan with others.

Sharing your plan with friends or family is a great way to be held accountable. Maybe you want to set aside 30 minutes a day to read a book. Those around you can encourage you or check-in with you which can motivate you to pick up that book.

  • Make your plan visible.

When we see our plan written out, it will remind us to take care of ourselves. Write it on a piece of paper and put it on your nightstand, or stick it on your fridge. You could even write it into your calendar, or set alarms so that way, it is scheduled into your day.

  • Revise your plan.

You might discover that something you thought you would enjoy, does not actually bring you a whole lot of relaxation. Or, something that once worked for you is no longer fulfilling in the same way. That is okay! Creating and recreating your wellness plan is a process of trial and error as you grow, and it will help you learn about yourself.

To invest time into your mental, physical, and emotional health means that you will be able to better take care of your family, your livestock, and your farm.