First and foremost I am not a licensed psychiatrist nor is this medical advice, but I have found out tractor therapy is the purest and quickest cure to the doldrums and the winter blues that I have found.
From my earliest age, I awaited every spring for the tractors to come out of the shed and move into the fields bringing forth the smell of the fresh tilled soil, the rumble of the engine and the time spent with family in the tractor cab or on a tailgate eating a meal. It brings me joy like a number other farmers to have the ability to climb in up on a tractor, open up the cab windows, crank up the radio to drown out the motor noise and free our mind of only one task – to farm.
To those who have not experienced this feeling gets a small taste each time you crawl on your lawnmower and roll around your yard on a weekly basis or turn the dirt in your garden or flower beds. The ability to free your mind so easily helps reduce stress, clears your mind and actually improves your mood – or at least until something breaks. I have always referred to this as my “Moment of Zen.” I think this is why farmers who continue to farm live so long. Farmers may be stressed planting the crop in time and condition or harvesting the crop; but the ability to release your thoughts is healthy, at least for a short time.
My wife fears this time of year and my ability to clear my mind; but it is the hours of sitting in a tractor cab with not much to do other than operate the drill planting beans or working ground and me with an empty mind. This allows me to come up with ideas to improve our farm, observe nature, think about family and gain focus of all that I’m involved in. This window of clarity and stress free time is short lived and only comes once a year. After a successful planting season and the crops begin to grow, it becomes a time to rejoice in what you have accomplished and the time to become stressed again as we now focus on is it going to rain, what is the market going to do and what are we going to eat when the fair gets here.
So forgo your “auto steer,” hang up your cell phone and clear your mind to focus on the important job that we are doing, planting a crop to feed a growing and hungry world.
If you have time BASF has put together an excellent video of what farmers deal with each year and what we need to accomplish in the near future as a society. It is four minutes long and well worth the time to view it. It can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd-48Zw0Tr4.
Whether you are a farmer or not, climb on a tractor or mower and turn some dirt in your backyard and relieve some stress and get reconnected with yourself and with the world around you.