Practical Winter Wellness Tips for Farmers

Winter comes every year, and some years are better (milder) than others. In order to live in the Midwest, we must be blessed with short-term memory, because when spring comes, we tend to forget about why we wish we lived further south.

What is it about the winter blues?

Well, one month turns into three… and then four… and then five. We tell ourselves that, “it’s just winter,” and we can deal with it because, “What choice do we have?” The fact is however, that many of us feel depression during the cold winter months simply because there is a lack of sunshine. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the season, typically from fall and winter to spring, and can be brought on by being indoors and not getting enough sunshine. We may know spring will come eventually, but our emotions scream out, “WHEN!?”

Taking care of ourselves means looking at and valuing the little things that we can do to help get through the (sometimes long) winters.

Daily self-care during the winter months:

  1. Look forward to spring and a new season. Sometimes we skip over feeling better because we don’t think it’s enough to think about what’s ahead. We tell ourselves that spring won’t come any faster if we go to a movie or have friends over. But it will help us through the day and help us to look forward to something next week, which puts us in a healthier survival mode..

  2. Identify what you’re feeling and communicate about it. As humans, our moods swing whether we like it or not. Allowing ourselves to identify our feelings is healthy and productive. Blowing it off by saying, “There is nothing I can do about winter,” sets us up to do nothing and stay in the same place. Take the time to understand how you’re feeling so that you can then share that with loved ones who are able to relate. Talking about how we’re feeling is important.

  3. Spend time with loved ones. Going to my grandson’s basketball game recently made me focus on the game and watching him play. For that time, the weather was not on my mind. The team lost, and I felt bad for my grandson, but that’s another story. In other words, be honest with yourself and say, “I am over this weather, but I can do something!”

Getting through the cold and sometimes dark winter months is all about thinking positively and finding activities that improve your attitude!

For more helpful advice about improving farmer mental health visit www.farmcounseling.org.


The views expressed in this article are the author's alone and not those of Farmer's Business Network, Inc., its affiliates or members.