"I'm excited about being on farm today. I love what I do."
You know that feeling when you have a goal, and the challenge of reaching it excites you? That’s good stress. It’s when we feel motivated and slightly pushed, but not overwhelmed.
For example, you’re facing a wet, challenging spring, and you need to make some critical decisions. Working through the options and scenarios is encouraging, and makes you feel like the end is in sight. This motivates you to carry on and find the solution.
"I don't really want to deal with the farm. I'm dreading what it will throw my way today."
When you’re experiencing negative thoughts and feelings, rather than excitement and motivation, you’re probably under excessive stress.
For example, you’re lying in bed at night thinking/worrying about all sorts of things: the round length is too short, the cows are losing weight, we have a herd test next week, the calves need drenching. Everything piles on top of each other and you start to get a feeling of helplessness, like it’s getting out of control. Despite this, you carry on each day.
"I don't feel like I can cope with the farm today, but I know I have to."
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged excessive stress.
For example, you’ve been under financial stress for such a long time that you just don’t have any energy left to deal with the issues. Even so, you plod along and do the best you can.
"I can't think straight. I don't know where to begin with running this farm. I just want to stay in bed."
This is that state where our normal functioning – eating, sleeping, daily tasks – is seriously impaired. It’s a mental or bodily condition marked by the disorganisation of personality, mind, and emotions.
Any of us can end up in this situation if we get too overwhelmed. It’s important to get help if you find yourself in this place. There’s a huge amount of support available for farmers.
If you want to talk to someone right away, please call these numbers:
"I'm useless and a waste of time. I don’t want to be here anymore."
If you’re feeling like this, please seek professional help right away. Talking to someone is so important, and there are caring people who want to help you. Many people have felt this way and found their way out.