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Have you ever found yourself thinking, “All I do is take care of everyone else”? If you’re a woman who farms, the answer is almost certainly yes. After all, there’s a huge amount of pressure on female members of the farming community to take on multiple caring roles. You’ve probably found yourself working on the farm while looking after the family, keeping the house in order, and dealing with suppliers, buyers, vets, and the thousand other little things that require attention. But who’s taking care of you?

If you’re used to putting other people’s needs before your own, it can be hard to break the habit. Sadly, there can be a lot of guilt attached to taking time for yourself. In reality, taking a bit of “me time” can be hugely beneficial for your physical and mental health, but it’s often easier said than done. The most important thing for you to realize is this: prioritizing yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Once you’ve put in a full day’s work, you need some downtime to recharge and bring your mind and body back to a healthy, productive state.

It’s natural to have busy days or times when your energy is focused on someone who really needs you. Sometimes these things cause you to cut back on time for yourself. However, this shouldn’t be an ongoing issue in your day to day life. A few days without time for yourself is unfortunate; a few weeks without it is unacceptable. You’ll be a more responsive, effective, and balanced person when you’ve taken some time to recharge, so make it a priority. Schedule me time into your day, if that’s what it takes. Stop responding to emails after a certain point in the evening so you can make time to relax. Delegate manageable tasks around your home and farm to family members or other workers. If you’re a parent, tell your partner to watch the kids for half an hour so you can read a book, take a bath, or chat with a friend.

If anyone around you passes comment on your me time, shut them down firmly but politely. Tell them that taking some time for yourself allows you to run at full capacity the rest of the time, providing the level of work and care that they expect from you. It’s as simple as that. In reality, the biggest hurdle you have to leap over is your own guilt. You understand the importance of nurturing your work and loved ones – now you just need to accept the importance of nurturing yourself.

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