| Published: July 13, 2020

Taking Care of Yourself During Stressful Times

Kristina McAllister, regional manager with Horizon, recently discussed the importance of taking care of ourselves and the resources available to help farmers.

Kristina, you grew up on a farm and your husband is a farmer. From your perspective why is it important that farmers take time to care for themselves, especially during this time?
Farming is a stressful job, even in good times, and the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic turmoil have only added to farmers’ stress. Most farmers I know don’t take time for themselves. There always seems to be field work to do, animals to care for and equipment to fix!

Squeezing in a bit of time for rest and relaxation away from the busyness and chaos is essential to help us be our best for our families, employees and businesses. With a refreshed mind, it allows us to better tackle the day’s challenges and react to situations, even those outside of our control, with a clear plan.

We all need to do a better job asking for help when we need it. Instead of piling more on ourselves, we need to be comfortable leaning on others when we need a helping hand or a listening ear.

What resources are available through Horizon to help customers in this area?
Horizon has several resources to help our customers manage stress and seek help. 

One new benefit we are pleased to offer is access to our Member Assistance Program (MAP). MAP is a confidential and free counseling service for Horizon customers and their family members. Help is available 24/7, 365 through a specific phone number. When customers and their family members call the MAP, a licensed, experienced clinician conducts a counseling session and assessment over the phone. Members and family members may opt for a video counseling session as an alternative. Reasons to use the MAP include concerns related to marriage, parenting, stress, depression, work, alcohol, drug use, abuse and grief or as a preventative measure. Online resources are also available for legal services, financial services, seminars, relocation center and a searchable database for providers.

Another new resource from Farm Credit, launched in the last couple of weeks, is a free, online farm stress management course. This course is offered through a partnership between Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, Michigan State University Extension and University of Illinois Extension. It is open public and helps farmers develop the skills to learn how to manage their own stress and support their friends and neighbors.

Are there any other thoughts you'd like to share with our listeners today?
We know that farming is a 24/7 job, 365 days a year. Farmers work hard every day to take care of their families and businesses. I encourage farmers to take advantage of these resources available, and don’t be ashamed to take some time off and take care of yourself.

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