COVID-19, planting delays, family strife, the loss of an off-farm job, machinery breakdowns. The list of stressors in farming is broad and deep.
How can you stay positive in the face of so many challenges? David Kohl, professor emeritus of agricultural finance at Virginia Tech University, shares some time-tested wisdom and advice.
1. Ponder the meaning of life.
Use extra time at home or hours in the tractor to reassess what is important in life, Kohl suggests. “A philosophy from years of lecturing and working with students is to turn a ‘lemon into lemonade’ and make every attempt to see the cup half-full rather than half-empty.”
Kohl recommends Simon Sinek’s book, “Start With Why” as a good guide for inspiration.
2. Take time for self-reflection and silence.
Every day, find time to meditate, hear the silence and enjoy the simple things in life, Kohl suggests.
“Much of the existing drama is magnified by the media,” he says. “Pause to reflect on the joy of a newborn calf, a sunrise or sunset to provide a platform of peace.”
3. Build in time to exercise.
“Sometimes a good sweat or the endorphins of an exercise routine can be very beneficial for the body, mind and spirit,” Kohl says. “My former basketball coach, Coach Murphy, always stressed that it is important to take a negative outcome and turn it into a positive experience through exercise. That advice has paid dividends in work-life balance.”
4. Maintain a balanced diet.
A diet full of healthy foods can help you maintain both physical and mental health. But, Kohl reminds, it’s perfectly OK to indulge in a sweet or savory treat once in a while.
5. Build and use a positive support team.
“Remember like the old Mamas and Papas song, ‘The darkest hour is before the dawn?’ Well, what we have to realize is that oftentimes to stay positive you have to surround yourself with positive people,” Kohl says. “One of the things I find is that people's net worth and self-worth are often equated or correlated to the type of people that they stay around.”
During these times of social distancing, be sure you reach out to advisors, friends and family. “We can get through this together and come out on the other side re-energized and in a better mindset,” he says.
Watch a recording of a webinar Kohl presented on behalf of Northwest Farm Credit: Hot Topic of the Times