Feb. 20 2018 10:35 AM

    We’re not robots, we need a break every now and then

    I know mental health has been a hot topic lately, but I truly believe it’s important to talk about. It’s critical to acknowledge the importance of the discussion around this issue for dairy farmers.

    Let’s be honest, as dairy farmers we work so hard! Most of us don’t mind, as we truly love the lifestyle rewards that come with a 365-day schedule. Even in the good years there’s always plenty of work to wear us down. When you pile on the tough economic struggles of last year and looking forward into 2018, it puts an added burden on our already overworked selves.

    I know in these times of stress we are good at hunkering down and just getting done what needs to happen. It’s in our blood, our DNA, and our titles as dairy farmers. There almost seems to be a stigma in saying you need a break from the stress. But to say you don’t, in this dairy climate, is just a lie.

    So add it to your to do list this week, take a mental health day. For me and my family, that was running away to the beach last week. A quick 8 hours off the farm to recharge and just take a break from it all.

    I know a full day isn’t possible for all, but pick one simple thing for this week. Check in on your neighbor, go grab that cup of coffee in town, take the nap that your body has been telling you it needs. All the work will still be there and you’ll be the better for making yourself a priority.

    It is going to be long year, it already has been. There’s no shame in saying you need a mental health day, just make sure to make it happen.

    There’s also no shame in saying you need more help. Don’t be afraid to reach out. If you need to talk to someone, help is available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The phone number is 1-800-273-8255. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Let’s come together as the dairy community to check in on one another and make the best of a tough situation.
    Darleen Sichley

    The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of two young boys who round out the family run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.