The Recovering Farmer

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ouch, that hurt. . . .

I have always been known to be somewhat accident prone. As a matter of fact my drivers license was once put on probation because I was accident prone. Still don’t think they were being fair. If people would get out of my way I wouldn’t hit them. Quite simple really. There I go again. Ranting. I suppose there is always something to rant about.

Let me get back to the subject at hand. When I was working on the farm I had a myriad of accidents. Many, if not most, were minor. But they still hurt. During the days of intense stress there was a significant increase in these mishaps. My mind would be churning with all the different stressors in life. Hogs would not have grown as much as I expected, or had hoped for. Finances were tight. Creditors were phoning. Kids were having issues at school. I was having breakdowns. Always had a difficult time with breakdowns because I felt so helpless and unsure of my “fix it” abilities. Lots of stress. And the more stress I had the more I bumped into things. Not concentrating on the job at hand. Made for lots of pain and, quite frankly, really messed with my ability to get things done.

The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association is having a conference to deal with safety in agriculture. I am preparing a presentation that delves into the whole issue of the link between stress and safety. I have been surprised at the lack of research and information available, dealing with this topic. An American study shows that 80% of workplace accidents are as a result of unsafe behaviors. I think it is safe to say that the same would apply to agriculture. In my experience, unsafe behaviors were a direct result of to much stress. With what I have learned over the last year, in regards to stress, I think I am very fortunate not to have operated large equipment. Would seem to me that my “ouches” would have been a lot worse.

So, what is the point you ask? Take the time to recognize when stress is having a negative impact on your life. Find ways to de-stress. Although it is obvious that stress will always be part of life there are ways of eliminating some stress and finding new ways to deal with stress that sticks around. It is well worth your while to find ways dealing with stress. Try it. It may well save your life. Make it a good one.

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