I can’t stand to watch the news anymore. At first because of the rising epidemic that was gripping the globe and threatening the lives of people I hold dear. Every report was a reminder that my 94-year-old grandmother was in a retirement community with existing respiratory issues. It made me sick worrying about her and my other grandparents, not to mention my parents who are no longer the fresh daisies they once were (no offence Dad, facts are facts). Now I can’t stand to watch the news because there is literally worse and worse news coming every day- and it’s not exclusively condensed to the News stations! I can’t open up a social media app without the bombardment of negativity.
Now, I have my own troubles to worry about beyond international news. I have to go on living my life, as most people have had to do. In the beginning I sort of laughed and said ‘Social Isolation? I’m already actively doing that. No worries here!’ But the truth of it is, the farming community can’t really handle further isolation than we’ve been dealing with. Our churches, clubs and organizations once a week, maybe one a month, are what keep us going. Mental health issues were already a major problem in our community, driven partly by the high stress we endure daily and the lack of human interaction we get. Now, with everything that’s happened, we are more alone than ever with nowhere to turn. I have never felt more alone than in these past few months. I used to drive to town and see friends, go to federation meetings, community event meetings, etc. Now I have none of that. It’s just me. I don’t even have my mother at this point, the person I have always worked alongside. I’m too nervous of contaminating her because I’m married to an essential worker.
Social media has been key in helping people stay connected through these times. It’s been the only way to stay in touch with some people. I’m guilty of spending a lot more time there. I check in on friends, see how everyones fairing, and that works as best as it can. Now though, logging into social media only causes more stress. The flooding of opinions and fighting has taken over each and every platform. Whether it be for the epidemic, or the current protests going on for the Black Lives Matter movement. Everyone feels the need to weigh in on these things which has me pulling further and further away from it.
There is already so much to worry about in my small little world that logging into Facebook is now a groaning task. Crops need to be planted, cows need to be fed, hay needs to be cut, the list goes on and on, it never stopped for us. I know I’m not alone when I say I literally cannot handle the weight of the world’s issues. I cannot handle reading about how society is falling apart, people are picking sides, the epidemic is still happening but nobody seems to care anymore, when I’m worried about beef processing issues, where I’m going to take my animals, what will these crops be worth, how am I going to pay the bills if this doesn’t work out, can I really afford to keep farming?
I have to try to focus on the sunny days. I get to live a beautiful life right now, even if the costs are high. I want to look out over a freshly planted field and just be satisfied with a job well done instead of feeling miserable, weighed down, depressed even. We, as farmers are so very lucky in so many ways and it’s important to try to keep focus on those blessings instead of all the hurt in the world. To worry about what you aren’t doing or what you’re not saying on top of everything else you’re going through will only make you sick. My recommendation? Turn off the news, unplug the phones, just sit out on a grassy hill and watch the cows eat. It’s the best we can do right now, for ourselves and for others. Who will feed the world when its farmers are burnt out and broken down?
What are you doing to get through these times? Does the News cause you distress or does it help you keep everything in perspective?
I hope everyone is getting along out there and staying healthy. If you ever want to chat my doors always open, and by door I mean emails.