Cyndi's Two Cents
Get back in rhythm for better health
And so, the holiday season has begun. I hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving with family and friends. I hope you had the opportunity to take some time to relax and re-energize your mind and body. I hope you allowed yourself some time to rest.
We all know that farming can be both physically and mentally demanding. We also know how both physically and mentally exhausting farming can be. We know the value of a good night’s sleep, but it takes more than that to prevent fatigue, which is different from sleepiness.
The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) says that fatigued workers cost an estimated eighteen billion dollars a year and farmers are at increased risk from the effects of fatigue because they work with machinery and animals, which require them to be one hundred percent alert at all times. It is especially important during those times of the year when physical and mental demands are higher, perhaps even off the charts, that those of us in production agriculture pay attention to our own mind and body and of those around us.
UMASH recently published a farm safety checklist focused on farmer fatigue that is a good reminder to help keep us from checking out. The list includes eight potential hazards and how to avoid and/or address them. My translation of those hazards:
For some crop farmers, a return to a more regular schedule following harvest allows a return to a healthier biological or circadian rhythm. The same can be said for livestock producers after calving season. We all have an internal clock that controls wakefulness and sleep, body temperature, hormone secretion, and more. Our bodies maintain a biological rhythm that is both maintained and disrupted by light exposure, eating habits, and other environmental cues.
The holiday season can be stressful. Give your mind and body a break and try to focus on the gifts in your life that cost nothing to give or receive. Spend time with those you care about.