Signs of Stress
- Panic attacks, including heart palpitations, sweating,
trembling or shaking, sensations of shortness of breath,
chest pain or discomfort, difficulty swallowing, nausea
or abdominal distress, lightheadedness, derealization or
depersonalization, fear of losing control, fear of dying,
loss of sensation in extremities, chills or hot flashes.
- Restlessness, with inability to relax.
- Feeling easily fatigued.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Muscle tension and occasional residual pain.
- Sleep disturbance with difficulty falling asleep and awakening
with a start.
- Preoccupation with thoughts of dread.
Signs of Depression
- Feelings of sadness.
- Loss of interest in activities.
- Significant weight loss, not due to dieting or illness,
or weight gain of more than 5% of body weight per month.
- Excessive sleep and/or late night insomnia.
- Feelings of lethargy, but also feelings of agitation.
- Loss of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness.
- Diminished ability to concentrate, preoccupation with
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide.
Steps To Control Stress
- Take a good look at yourself. How do you feel--both physically and mentally?
- Make a list of things that cause stress in your life.
- Think about how serious a problem stress is for you. Do you feel under constant stress, or does it come and go? Think about how stress hurts you. How has it affected your health and work? How has it changed the way you treat other people?
- Finally, try to decide if you are under more stress now than you were a year or two ago. If stress has increased, have the pressures changed or your attitude toward them?
Learn How to Manage Stress
Talking about problems is a good way to relieve stress. Choose someone you can be honest with, and then share your problems and discuss solutions with them.
Learn how to recognize stressors. These might be a tightening of the neck and shoulders, stomach problems, or changes in behavior or relationships. The body is equipped with a complex system that give warning signs when the stress level is too high.
Look at the list of things that cause you stress and think about how serious each of them really is. Pick out things that no one can control, such as prices and the weather. Then, when feeling stressed, evaluate the cause. Is it something minor or something you have no ability to control?
When dealing with a major problem, try to break it down into smaller parts. If the barn needs repair, pick out one job and concentrate on getting it done. Once that task is completed, go on to the next one.
Schedule the time realistically. Don't try and squeeze more work into a day than can be completed.
Take occasional short breaks from work. A few minutes will provide a refreshing start at the job.
Learn how to relax. Sit back in a chair and concentrate on relaxing tense muscles.
Develop other interests that will help you forget about your problems for a while. Go to a movie or get involved in sports, hobbies, or crafts.
Consider outside help, such as counseling or group clinics. Visit the web links in the resources section of this web page or call your county Health Department or Mental Health Association.
Take Care of Yourself
Fight stress by taking care of yourself. Here are some tips from the American Heart Association:
- Exercise. Regular physical activity makes a person
feel better and eases tension at the same time.
- Eat well. A balanced diet is good for physical
and mental health. Food is fuel for the body. The better
the input, the better the output.
- Sleep and rest. Make sure to get enough sleep and
rest to refresh the mind and body.
- Balance work and play. Besides being just plain
fun, recreation can help a person enjoy work more.
- Learn to accept the things you cannot change. Look for the best in people and situations. Remember, no one is perfect. Realize that fiscal and time pressure challenges due to weather, crop prices, and market demand are beyond your control.
Farm Safety Association, Unit 22, 340 Woodlawn Road West, Guelph, Ontario, Phone: 519-823-5600
Mona Lee Brock, Crisis Line Coordinator, Ag-Link, Farmers Union Foundation, P.O. 24000, Oklahoma City, OK 73124, Phone: 800-AG8-LINK (800-248-5465)
American Heart Association