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Harvest on our farm finished October 7th which is a whole lot better than December 18th of 2019 for last year’s harvest. I can only imagine what you might be feeling as you read this, sitting down for a break wondering when the mental chatter in your brain is going to calm down.

I’m a student of the Do More Ag Talk Ask Listen Mental Health workshop where we learned 75% of farmers are highly stressed, and when that is chronic, your life becomes overwhelming.

Zoom fatigue, eye strain, brain fog, huge workload, family dynamic irritations…are those part of your Great Pause story this fall? (Winter starts December 21st!)

In August I invested in special glasses to reduce eye strain in front of my computer where I spend heaps of time coaching families, writing, and business planning. I am not getting on a plane anytime soon, so my stress comes from digital overload. I would encourage you to take 90 minutes after supper to watch the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” featuring Tristan Harris along with many other smart Center for Humane Technology folks. People are not getting good rest because they have been sucked into the vortex of social media’s digital persuasion. There is much food for thought in this film when we consider how much our brains need mental rest.

I’m encouraged by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s work on rest. She has a free personal rest deficit assessment tool at www.restquiz.com to discover what kinds of rest you have been missing.

In her book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she found lacking in many patients and how rest impacts every part of our lives:

  • Physical: The chance to use the body in restorative ways to decrease muscle tension, reduce headaches, and promote higher quality sleep. The Do More Ag workshop suggests that sleep deprivation leads to impairment. Where is it written that it is a badge of honour to work with little sleep before freeze up ?
  • Mental: The ability to quiet cerebral chatter and focus on things that matter.
  • Spiritual: The capacity to experience God in all things and recline in the knowledge of the Holy. I take great comfort during this chaotic time knowing that God is in control.
  • Emotional: The freedom to authentically express feelings and eliminate people-pleasing behaviours.
  • Social: The wisdom to recognize relationships which revive from ones that exhaust and how to limit exposure to toxic people.
  • Sensory: The opportunity to downgrade the endless onslaught of sensory input received from electronics, fragrances, and background noise.
  • Creative: The experience of allowing beauty to inspire awe and liberate wonder.

I’ve bolded Dalton-Smith’s definition of mental rest. As a farmer who might be mourning the inability to go to Arizona this winter, what are your options for creating deeper rest at home or in Victoria?

I find playing with my grandchildren a great emotional boost, and we get creative on the swing sets , sled , and playing with playdough. I wonder if you are taking stock of simple pleasures on your farm with horses, walks, or puttering in the shop that help rest your brain.

Mental chatter for farmers needs to be addressed. What we think becomes an action and actions drive behaviour. Many coaching clients have a family member who is dealing with anxiety , depression and sometimes substance abuse. I don’t just attract complex dynamics as a coach. I want families to find harmony through understanding what they can take hold of to make changes, and what they need to let go of. We all get to choose to have a “learner mindset or a judger mindset driving others into the pit” says Marilee Adams, author of “Change your questions, change your life”.

Succession articles keep telling us that we are not doing a great job of getting plans in place due to a sense of overwhelm, procrastination, and the fear of family fights. My thesis is farmers are not paying attention to self-care, their physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. What if you dealt with the emotional factors affecting planning ? Start with being rested and emotionally connected to yourself. When there is no family drama there is energy to direct to sound collaborative decision making for transition and business legacy.

When we feel great, well connected to others, and rested we can do amazing things. Television is not life-giving to me, picking up my phone to have a real time conversation with friends helps me socially and emotionally. What are you intentionally doing to have better social connections, even with physical distancing challenges in place ? I did enjoy bi-weekly learning time with a group of women in a church basement. I get energy connecting on zoom and sharing family pictures with other women in agriculture.

In our online course, Get Farm Transition Unstuck we take an unconventional approach to transition plan activation. We want folks to look at the barriers they need to break to get unstuck:

  1. Anxiety and overwhelm. (Sounds like some mental rest is called for !)
  2. Fear. Which could be fear of conflict, failure, and lack of financial well-being.
  3. No time to talk or plan. A function of what you make a priority in your life.
  4. Procrastination, apathy or lack of motivation. This is a choice not to act.
  5. Passivity, giving up your power. Everyone has a right to choose and a voice to speak in a way that can be respectful and heard.

I’m working with trusted advisors to help farm families get talking, resolve issues, and find harmony through understanding. Do you have a trusted advisor? Have you checked out your physical and mental health lately with your doctor who now can serve you by phone?

Here’s some quick tips to start decreasing overwhelm:

  1. Write it out on index cards or post it notes. Do a brain dump and make a list of everything bothering you.
  2. Sort the cards into priorities, only looking at one card at a time.
  3. Chuck any cards you don’t have to do or should not do.
  4. Write the first action step on each card or post it note.
  5. Look at and deal with one care or note at a time.
  6. Share your cards with your spouse. Keep taking the next step.

Did you enjoy this post on trading overwhelm for mental rest? You might want to check these articles out too:

The Gift of Contentment
11 Ways to Get More Time Off the Farm
TransFARMation: Avoiding “Burnout” on the Farm

Building Your Farm LegacyLooking for a thoughtful Christmas Gift? Give your loved one the gift of a farm legacy.

Building Your Farm Legacy: Tools to Empower Better Family Communication Buy now on Audible!

 

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.

$15

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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