My Coping Strategies Plan - At Home and on the Farm

(FS1928, Aug. 2019)

Creating a coping toolbox and planning steps to a more sustainable lifestyle can help you manage farm and ranching, family or individual stresses in a healthy way. This publication is part of a series called Managing Stress and Pursuing Wellness in Times of Tight Margins.

Lead Author
Lead Author:
Sean Brotherson, NDSU Extension Family Science Specialist
Web only
Publication Sections

A helpful step in managing stresses in farming and ranching is to consider the “tools” or “strategies” that are available for dealing with particular stresses. This handout provides a list of useful coping “tools” that can be part of your toolbox for managing individual, family or farming/ranching stresses. Also, you can use this resource to create your own “action plan” for a healthy lifestyle—at home and on the farm.

Strategies for the Coping Toolbox

Figure 1
Figure 2

Steps to a More Sustainable Lifestyle – At Home and On the Farm

Just as farms need to be operated in a sustainable way that preserves resources for the long term, an individual’s life needs to be managed in a sustainable way for long-term well-being. Feeling overly tired, overwhelmed by stresses or under constant pressure is not a recipe for a sustainable lifestyle.

Plan your “12 Steps to a More Sustainable Lifestyle” by selecting and prioritizing two strategies for each category from the “Coping Toolbox” list (or others that make sense to you). Seek to review and incorporate these strategies daily and weekly for a four-week period and see if your life feels healthier and less stressful. Also, share and discuss these strategies with someone you trust and visit twice a week to assess and encourage progress in your efforts.

Figure 3

My Healthy Lifestyle Partners

List two people you will share your plan with and discuss your healthy lifestyle efforts twice a week.

• Partner 1 _________________________________________

• Partner 2 _________________________________________

Selected Resources List – Managing Farm and Ranch Stress

This is a short list of selected resources that may be useful for finding further information and support in the process of working in agriculture and related fields, managing stress and accessing resources.

Farm and Financial Management Resources

  • Cooperative Extension Service and state Extension Service programs — Contact your county or state office of the Cooperative Extension Service for information and programs on farm and financial management. Link: https://nifa.usda.gov/extension
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency — Link: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/

Farming/Ranching and Stress Resources

Mental and Emotional Health Resources

  • Call a state helpline — Most states have a toll-free, 24-hour helpline for health and human services information and referral. In North Dakota, call 2-1-1.
  • Refer to a local health-care provider or mental health professional — If you or someone you know needs help, contact and connect with a local professional such as a clergy member, medical professional, law enforcement, school counselor or social worker. Link: https://healthfinder.gov/
  • SAMHSA, Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator — Online confidential system for locating support or treatment resources in your area. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or link: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
  • Psychology Help Center, American Psychological Association — Online resource center providing information on daily physical and emotional well-being. Link: www.apa.org/helpcenter/
  • Real Men, Real Depression short video series — National Institute of Mental Health. Link: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/men-and-mental-health/men-and-depression/index.shtml
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

For more information on this and other topics, see www.ndsu.edu/extension