A Little Break
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Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

I took a break today. Ours is not a large farm but I am it’s only employee so summer is a little stressful. This was a rare opportunity in which failure to complete a task today would not cause stress tomorrow so I decided today was the day-I took a break.

First off, it wasn’t totally my idea. God sent enough rain to make outdoor activities counter-productive but not so much that it ruined my week. I can take a hint and it never pays to fight mother nature. I had some enjoyable indoor tasks (you’re reading one of them) so I decided to exchange work clothes for jogging shorts. I built some concrete pots for my wife and installed a weather station that will fuel my interest in weather forecasting. I also spent a good deal of time on the couch with Twitch and Magoo, who are a pair of rather charming cats that my wife, Lisa and I adopted a few years ago.

Everybody needs the occasional break but most farmers would rather be caught shoplifting Round-up than be caught enjoying an afternoon nap. Stress makes people sick and can cause depression so take a break before you get broken. I like to relieve stress by hiring occasional help. My nephew works cheap and will clean and arrange my shop with accountant-like attention to detail. We have the equipment to harvest alfalfa but lack the large tillage equipment to plant it so I usually hire the whole process. It’s a fair chunk of change but compared with the cost of equipment or the specter of cultivating eighteen feet at a time it’s a deal and a major stress relief. I also try to compartmentalize problems by placing them in a mental box. I then have clearly defined borders where the problem begins and ends plus I can forget about the problem until I’m ready to deal with it. The nap I mentioned earlier was a trick my dad used to relieve stress and many people have told me he was the hardest working man they’ve ever met.

You deserve a break today. Work and worry can erode health and your own will. Consider that if a stranger broke into your home you’d fight him with all your will. Stress can be a damaging intruder so fight it’s efforts to control your life. Spend time with your family and help your wife around the house. She’s under stress too and it will help you remember that without your family and home all that tractor and crop stuff means nothing. Choose your battles, choose not to worry and most importantly, choose a nice soft place for that nap.