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January 23, 2019

Don’t Be a Victim of Collateral Damage

 |  By: Dairy Talk

The trade war with China continues to drag on and the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement has yet to be ratified, causing exports to languish, milk prices to steadily soften and dairy farmers' cash flows to slow.


We can argue who is to blame, but the longer these disputes drag on and go unresolved, the more collateral damage occurs. That damage could be to your farm business, your family, even you.


It’s important to remember that while there are many factors beyond your control, you have it within your power to prevent lasting damage to your family and yourself.


Randy Weigel, a University of Wyoming Extension specialist with degrees in psychology, human development and family life, and Larry Tranel, an Iowa State Extension dairy specialist, say many of the traits that make dairy farmers strong and self-reliant can also make them isolated and vulnerable in times like these. “Men in rural areas tend to be more introverted, thus taking more of an inward approach during stressful times,” they say.


As a result, rural men often don’t seek help thinking such assistance could lower their personal or financial reputation. That then results in often not knowing what resources are available either financially or emotionally.


The critical thing, they say, is to change your mindset. Here are 9 ways to remain resilient and strong:


Refuse to be a victim. “You may not be able to control the crisis, but you can control your attitude toward it,” Tranel says.


Embrace the crisis. “Let the crisis teach you about yourself,” he says. “Realize you will never be the same person after the crisis. But, if you so choose, you will be stronger.”


Accept your emotions. “Laying in bed at night, the chest pounding and mind racing, thoughts of anger, failure, guilt, shame and even death may surface,” Tranel says. “[These thoughts] are normal; they are who you are. Living with emotions is painful, but it builds your resolution to persevere.”


Connect with other men. Phone calls or texts to or from other men can be very comforting, offering assurance you are not alone. “Reaching out to others keeps you connected to the world,” he says.


Stay away from negative people. Research shows people with positive attitudes handle and recover from crisis better than those who are negative. Keep your sense of humor.


Decide when to worry. Everyone in crisis worries. But try to limit the time you do to a couple of hours in the morning when you have more energy to deal with it.


Don’t shut out your family. “Let the people in your family know how you’re feeling, your worries, your fears, and if you really are okay,” Tranel says.


Take care of yourself. Good physical health is critical to handling stress. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep and rely on your beliefs and faith.


Believe in tomorrow. “Keep telling yourself: I will survive, I will get through this,” Tranel says. “The future is promising in many ways: Believe you will be there to see it.”


For more on strategies to handling stress, click here.