A series of 4 module webinars was presented by the Do More Ag Foundation in support of Mental Illness Awareness week from October 5th to October 8th. Here are some highlights from module 3. It was made clear that throughout each session that the information laid out in the four modules do not make us mental health professionals and we should always be ready with support resources to provide to someone who may want or need help. This is information to help you on your Mental Health literacy journey.
Module 3: Supporting within Your Means
This webinar started off with some interesting statistics from the study by Dr. Andrea Jones-Bitton at the University of Guelph, noted in Farmer Burnout in Canada, that 35% of farmers met the criteria for depression classification, 45% were classified as having high stress, and 58% met the criteria for anxiety classification.
As of May 2020, Farm Management Canada reported that more than 3 out 4 farmers are experiencing medium to high stress. Their report on Healthy Minds, Healthy Farms offers recommendations to improve farmers mental health and business practices.
Reviewing those statistics allows us to reflect to how full our cup or battery actually is. Dr Bill Howatt from Howatt HR expressed in the Maintaining Mental Fitness during COVID19 webinars that “we are like batteries, and like batteries we can be anywhere from charged to empty on a daily basis.”
Personal and situational stressors can drain your battery such as stress, burnout, anxiety, and depression. You need to intentionally recharge your battery by prioritizing sleep, being active, eating fruits and vegetables and finding a connection rather than self-medicating. We need to find creative ways to stay connected and charge our battery or fill our cup.
In order to charge our battery or maintain a charge, we support others within our means. To do that we need to consider the following:
- How close we are to the person who is disclosing.
- Understanding our availability in a crisis.
- Redirecting appropriate resources.
To support within our means, we also need to evaluate self-care. Ensure there is an outlet or a recharge method, when supporting someone else. Everyone has their limit and staying within those boundaries is key to maintaining our own mental fitness. As the old saying goes, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Setting boundaries or limitations of being able to help others can be difficult to do especially if it is hard for us to say no as we don’t want to disappoint or let anyone down. You are not responsible for the reaction others may have to the boundary but communicating the boundary clearly.
Think about where to set your boundaries when supporting others. Do you need to consider personal space? What emotions or thoughts may be off limits for discussion or if you are not prepared to respond to? How much time and energy do you have to give? Are there topics such as culture, religion and ethics that you need to set boundaries?
Healthy boundaries are clearly outlined and they may be different from person to person. We have more control over the situation when we have healthy boundaries as it forms respect and we take responsibility for ourselves. Loose boundaries result when we just can’t say no and may lead to breaking points. Unwavering or rigid boundaries may be unhealthy and you may want to revisit these boundaries.
Understanding balance of life by evaluating how well your wagon wheel rolls. Each spoke is an aspect of your life. For each aspect of your life rate it from one to 10. How satisfied are you with each aspect of life? Then connect the dots, how well does your wheel roll? You want your wheel to be able to roll and function. May need to look at changing some priorities to have the wheel more balanced in life.
Farm Family Support Center
The Farm Family Support Center is a member assistance program by Morneau Shepell. Farmers and their families have access to up to 3 hours of service at no cost. The service is supported by Farm Safety Nova Scotia and is confidential. Your information is not shared with the NSFA or FSNS.
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