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Farmer Wellness Minute - Harvest Stress Happens; Tips To Deal

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

By Tracy Hansen, APRN, FNP, Family Medicine

I honestly do not remember my Dad ever getting mad at me in all the years I helped him during harvest… or anytime really (pretty rare, I know). This is definitely not the case with my husband…. I never seem to be in the right spot with the header trailer, seed tender, or (on the rare occasion) grain cart. News flash, reading minds is not my specialty!

Anyway, I get it. Just like most things with farming, timing is everything. We have waited all season (enduring many things out of our control, i.e. rain fall, hail, heat units) for this moment to harvest the crops. We want everything to go smoothly, be efficient, and get the grain in the bin before the snow flies. But as usual, there are hiccups; equipment breaks down, the corn snout gets run into the fence post by your father, weather happens, the wet bin gets full, the auger plugs… you know how it goes.

Self-care goes a long way to keep and maintain a level head. When you are out there this fall, make sure you are drinking enough water (coffee/pop and the caffeinated drinks don’t really count), eating healthy foods at regular intervals, and sleeping at least 6 hours a night. Our moods are much more labile, if our basic needs are not being met. Another technique to use if you feel your anxiety building is called squared breathing. It goes like this: Breath in and count 1, 2, 3, 4, hold your breath and count 1,2,3,4, exhale and count 1, 2, 3, 4, hold your breath and count 1, 2, 3, 4 and repeat as many times as necessary to calm your mind and nerves. If anxiety or irritability is something you struggle with most of the time, we do have medications that can help as well. These increase certain hormones in the brain that can help us to roll with things a bit smoother.

Wishing you all a safe, smooth, and low stress harvest!

Long live the farmer,

Tracy Hansen, Nurse Practitioner

If you have any comments on this article or ideas to address in this publication, email me at

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