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Proper footwear is essential for farmers – in fact, your shoes are one of the most fundamental bits of gear that you’ll buy for this job. As such, it’s important to think carefully about which footwear you choose. These are, after all,  the boots that you spend most of your waking hours wearing.

Not all work boots are created equal, but it’s also easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options out there these days. So what are the most important factors to consider when choosing a work boot?

  • You’ll be standing, crouching, and walking in these boots for hours at a time, so they need to feel comfortable and provide both arch and ankle support. You can also add sole inserts for extra support if you need to.
  • To prevent injury, you need boots with plenty of traction so that you won’t fall down in wet conditions. You might also want to buy boots with toe protection, such as a steel toe, depending on the type of farming you’re doing; but keep in mind that steel-toed boots are rigid and not as comfortable.
  • Leather is a go-to material for work boots – it’s natural, reliable, durable, and breathable. It also molds to your foot with wear, which leads to a customized fit over time. If you decide to go synthetic, make sure the material is breathable and durable.
  • Farming in wet conditions is unavoidable at times, so waterproofing is a must. Keeping your feet dry isn’t just a matter of comfort, either. Moisture leads to blisters, fungus and other issues.
  • Not all waterproof linings are created equal. Look for boots that have a breathable lining material, such as Gore-tex, Dry-lex or Keen Dry, so your feet stay dry and comfy. Some materials are also antimicrobial, which helps prevent odor.
  • A great pair of work boots will likely come with a pretty price tag. But the better quality boots you invest in, the longer they’ll last.
  • A second pair. You should, ideally, have a second pair of work boots so that you’re not wearing the exact same pair every day.
  • Don’t forget the socks. It’s not all about your boots, believe it or not! You should also wear high-quality socks. Go for thick, soft performance socks made from natural fibers, such as merino wool, which will help keep your feet dry and prevent blisters.
Maintaining Your Boots

Buying a great pair of boots is step one. Maintaining your boots is step two. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to protect your boots from damage and keep them in tip-top shape.

First, make sure to clean your boots regularly. Yes, they will get ridiculously muddy and dirty, but dirt and mud can damage leather over time, so give them a good cleaning when possible.

Also, dry your boots out properly when they get wet. Stuff them with newspaper or another absorbent material, or invest in a boot dryer.

And lastly, don’t forget to condition your boots occasionally, particularly if they’re made of leather.

Up Next:

Too Much Time In Your Boots Can Mean Too Much Sweat And Odor

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See the Light and Fight the Winter Blues

Often called the winter blues or seasonal depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can actually occur during any season. It is a more common affliction than most people realize and affects millions.

Causes

There is no exact cause known for the disorder. Yet, most experts agree that it is connected with changing seasons, shorter days, and lower light levels. Our natural circadian rhythm is also thrown out of whack whenever we don’t follow a normal day to night routine. This is quite common for people working the night shift and sleeping during daylight hours.

The amount of light we are exposed to every day has a direct effect on our body’s chemistry. A connection to the level of substances such as melatonin and serotonin has been found. Melatonin affects our sleep patterns and serotonin balances our moods. Patients suffering from SAD often have diminished amounts of both.

Risks

Seasonal Affective Disorder can affect anyone, but women seem to be more susceptible to it than men. The largest population age-wise that appears to be affected are mid-teens to late fifties. Studies have shown that the chances of people getting SAD for the first time goes down as they get older.

It has been found to run in families so if a close relative has SAD, it is likely that you might also experience it. It is also clear that the farther away from the equator a person lives, the higher their chances are of having SAD. They are exposed to even less sunlight than those in closer proximity to the sun’s rays.

Symptoms

Because having the winter blues is essentially a form of depression, many of the symptoms can be the same or similar. Those with bipolar disorder can also be affected adversely from SAD. Some of the symptoms can include:

  • Low energy, feeling sluggish
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Feelings of depression all day, every day
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Easily becoming agitated
  • Craving and eating more carbohydrates
  • Loss of interest or joy in activities you once loved
  • Feeling hopeless, guilty, or worthless
  • Frequent suicidal thoughts or death fantasies

It is always a good idea to contact your doctor if you are having any types of the symptoms listed above. Medical professionals can do tests to rule out things such as thyroid issues or other health concerns. A mental health evaluation can be useful. It may help determine if it is just SAD that you are dealing with or something more serious.

Therapies

The most common therapy for treating SAD is getting more light into your life. Getting out into the sunshine is one of the top prescriptions for SAD. In areas that receive extraordinary amounts of rain and gray days, this may seem impossible – but it’s not. There are many products on the market that can mimic sunlight and help your body adjust.

Most doctors will prescribe light therapy or phototherapy. This is the practice of sitting in front of a special light box that emits a powerful fluorescent light. It is said to be more than 20 times brighter than normal light found indoors. Researchers claim that the extra light stimulates the body to produce more serotonin. This, in turn, elevates your mood. Lightbox therapy is usually an ongoing treatment and not something that is a quick fix.

There are several medications that may also be prescribed for this type of depression. They will vary with the type of symptoms you exhibit as well as with each individual doctor. Different drugs have a wide variety of side effects so be sure to do your research before beginning any new prescriptions.

Get Out and About

If you think there is a chance you might be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, you can do several things to help your body adjust to the shorter, darker days of winter.

Get outside as much as possible and seek that sunshine. Exercise and get the blood flowing even if it is just walking in your sleeping garden. Finally, try to get as much rest and sleep as your body needs. These simple things can improve your mood as well as your overall health and help you fight those winter blues.


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