I recently purchased one of those ridiculously expensive exercise bikes. I debated for months about spending the money on something like this for myself. There were so many other purchases I could make: feed or a new ewe. We could have put it toward the cost of drilling a new water well in the pasture (that was a fun surprise expense). A farm girl doesn't have to look for ways to spend money.
But, I was working on developing some content on farm and ranch mental health for National Suicide Prevention Month. It stressed fighting for one's mental health on a daily basis, not only in crisis. One thing I have learned about myself is that exercise is therapy for me. There are few things I like more than breaking a sweat running down an old dirt road or feeling sore muscles after a hard workout.
Finding that something that helps you find yourself, relax and refocus and feel a sense of peace every day is important. Maybe that is reading a book or sitting on your front porch watching the sunset or taking a walk first thing in the morning. Maybe it means making time for breakfast with your spouse or throwing the football with your kids or riding horses with your grandchildren.
When we are busy on the farm or ranch, it is easy to put me and us time on the back burner. Farm work also involves a lot more mental exercise and less physical exertion than in the past. So, I'm committed to keeping my seat on this fancy new bike, because fitness and mental health go hand in hand. It is more than a ride, it's a journey. Investing in me makes life, family and farm better.
-- Tiffany Dowell Lashmet balances getting fit with family, farm and a career in ag law from the Texas Panhandle. Find her blog at theillinoisfarmgirl.com, on Instagram alwaysafarmkid and Twitter @TiffDowell
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