Do you ever think about how much farmers need vacations, too?
Farmers need vacations just like anyone else. It’s a common misconception that farmers work 365 days per year. I say this with observation and plenty of experience. No one works 365 days per year without a break to do what they want to do.
Because everyone’s mind and body needs a break every once in a while. Especially when the work seems like it’s never ending. Even when it seems like there is no help or no one to cover.
In this post, I will cover:
- The 5 reasons why farmers need vacations or time away from the farm.
- Solutions for how to take a vacation when you have a farm or homestead.
- How to manage farm caretakers to ease your mind and theirs’ while you are away.
Listen to the Podcast Episode 29:
So, I’m a farmer. My husband and I have livestock and crops. You can read more about our farming operation HERE. And you can read how much we have going on in our lives day to day.
I get it. It can be so hard to leave the responsibility. To leave the animals and garden behind for a few days – even just a day. Believe me, I love farm life and all that comes with it.
That’s why I endorse vacations. I take several vacations each year off the farm. Most of them are very short, such as a weekend or even just a day away. Because vacations are much needed gems in the journey of life no matter what you are doing.
But, here’s 5 reasons farmers need vacations.
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Farm Life can be Stressful
This life is so awesome. as it is wonderful. But rural farm life is anything but simple.
Imagine every emotion imaginable in a short amount of time. There’s sadness with the death of an animal. Anger when the weather fails to cooperate. Frustration when work doesn’t get done due to weather failing to cooperate. Happiness when it all works out. All these different feelings and emotions can make a person feel overwhelmed. And even a little burned out.
So, plan a vacation to clear your head. Some time away from the farm can really get your mind back on track. It’s a retreat for your mind to reconnect with goals.
Because it’s one thing to reconnect with reality. It’s another thing to realize you’re burned out from farm life.
The Feeling of Burnout is Real
I know how much you’ve already invested into your farm. Time. Money. Stress.
Because even out here on the farm, there have been times I’ve needed to just take a break. A way to clear my head from all the clutter and stress of life on the farm.
Have you ever felt like you could quit something you love because things just weren’t going your way? Try getting away and see how you feel. Your mental health depends on it. Believe me.
To be sustainable in farm and business, the journey needs to be clear. Goals need to be well-defined. Lessons need to be learned. And the greatest “Aha Moments” can be learned away from the farm.
The best lessons in life are learned visiting a new place. It is amazing what you can learn when you get out of your comfort zone to clear your mind.
Get Out Of Your Box
It’s great to see another world besides your own. This statement really is the truth. Get out of your little farm box and see some different territory. See something new. Expand your brain and learn from the experience.
Even if it’s just another farm stay vacation, working farm stay or homestead vacation, every place is different. You might enjoy seeing how someone else lives their rural life. It might give you some ideas for some things to try.
So, plan a trip you can enjoy and learn something of value. Find that “Aha Moment” with a clear mind on your vacation. This is one of the biggest reasons why farmers need vacations, too.
Find a way to clear your mind so you can find that “aha moment”. These moments define goals and direction. They influence motivation and self-assessment.
Seeing other places can also help you to feel grateful for your life. It can help you feel fortunate about where you live. Farmers need vacations to appreciate the amazing lifestyle they live.
Finally, plan your vacation around the opportunity to visit family. Whether you’re traveling an hour or eight hours away, maybe you have some family near your vacation of choice. Take the time to reconnect with them. They can be your best tour guide and help you learn about your vacation spot.
So, we understand family time is important. During the busy seasons on the farm, family time can seem non existent. Vacations with the family is a great time to reconnect with each other. Enjoy and cherish the time you have as a family off the farm.
When planning your vacation, plan events and sights for every member of the family to enjoy. Do your research before you go to explore the local hot spots while on vacation. This is a great opportunity for your family to learn about a brand new area they’ve never been to before.
Also, visit other family along your journey. I’ve already mentioned this. It’s a great way to reconnect the family with extended family in a different area. Yet, they can be an awesome tour guide as well because they know the area. And they know you.
Plus, spending time with people you love can make the time away from the farm a lot easier. Farmers need vacations, but it can be hard to leave. I get it. Leaving animals behind can be a huge risk and a big step to take.
Don’t be afraid to leave the farm. It’s very understandable to want to stay. Staying is the easy way out. But, there are several ways to work around those feelings. The hardest part is driving out of the driveway and not looking back. This is extremely important. Because farmers need vacations, too.
You Need To Take Care of Yourself
Farming is such a thankless job. And it can be so stressful at times with all the uncertainties. So, why do we do it?
Because we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. And that feeling drives us. Motivates us. We were put on this Earth to grow and care for food to help feed the world. As well as our families. And we all know that this work is not easy on our body or mind.
I have since discovered how easy stress leads to burnout. If you want to keep living this life, you have to care for yourself. You need to care for yourself before you care for other.
This may involve finding some extra time to sleep. Taking supplements for your body. Getting a workout in. It all comes down to establishing a healthy mind first and foremost.
It’s hard to be leaving goats while on vacation as well as the backyard chickens. However, it’s something you need to try to do. You need a break. And the best way to do that is to find and invest in responsible farm caretakers to ease your mind while you’re away.
Believe me. They are out there.
Trust in a Farm Caretaker
Trust me. The farm will still be there. But, there is some details you should plan before you decide to leave the farm for a vacation.
Even before you decide what kind of vacation to take, you should have a plan in place. There are certain questions you should ask before taking the big step.
First of all, who will do your animal chores? We usually plan to go on longer vacation while the majority of our animals are on pasture. There is very little feeding and chores involved with this schedule. But, you still need someone you trust to come to the farm, check animals and feed those who need to be fed daily.
We like to ask neighbor kids to come and do our chores for us. They are plenty responsible and will do an awesome job. Or, we ask Matt’s father to come since he’s nearby, too.
So, think about someone responsible nearby in your life who would be willing to handle livestock and garden care for you. Then, ask them. Have them come over for a test run through of chores a few days before you leave for your vacation. They will need to understand the farm caretaker job description.
If you don’t know anyone in your area, you could post a job application at farm stores, such as Tractor Supply. Be sure to check references to be sure you hire the right person to care for your farm while you’re away.
Farm caretaker jobs are great opportunities for anyone who someday want to work on a farm. Next, are some options for a farm caretaker salary.
How to Pay a Farm Caretaker
You understand the risk of leaving the farm. Your trusted farm caretaker understands the risk of you leaving the farm. You know you have a great responsible caretaker when they are willing to accept your responsibility you are choosing to leave behind for a well-needed retreat.
So, decide what pay your awesome farm caretaker will accept for doing chores for you. We usually pay our farm caretakers $20 per day. Our caretakers also get all of the ripe fresh garden produce and eggs available while they are choring for us. We have even given fresh meat bundles as gifts for taking care of our farm while we were away. This is an agreement that is well taken by our caretakers.
Because who doesn’t enjoy farm fresh products?
It’s ok to trust in a farm caretaker. We have never had a farm caretaker who has failed us. All of our farm caretakers have been amazing and serious about caring for our livestock and crops as if it were their own.
Maintain the understanding that you would do the same for them when they go on vacation, too. Because all farmers need vacation to stay motivated and for the farm to be sustainable. It’s all about mindset. Putting your mind at ease thanks to a responsible farm caretaker will help you to enjoy your vacation.
How to Prepare to Leave the Farm
Well, I’ve already discussed the most important way to prepare. You need to have a responsible and trustworthy farm caretaker. This person needs to be responsible and nearby. This person needs to know your schedule as well as their tasks for animal and garden care while you’re away.
Preparation for leaving the farm begins with a plan. How long will you be away? How far away will you travel? Who will you have come to do chores for you? These are all questions to ask while preparing for a vacation away from the farm. Because farmers need vacations, too.
Before you go on your vacation, you’ll need to make a plan with your farm caretaker of choice. We like to have our farm caretakers over a few days before we leave for a run through. I also write out a detailed list of chores. This list includes what is fed and the amount of food each pen needs.
I also include the number of our veterinarian as well as our phone numbers. I’m more than open to phone calls with updates from our farm caretakers if something is wrong and we need to return to the farm. Yes, farmers need vacations. But, there’s no sense losing our animals or crops because we were enjoying ourselves away. This has never ever happened before but it’s always best to be proactive.
In fact, nothing bad has ever happened while we were away. Our farm caretakers have always taken excellent care of our farm while we were enjoying ourselves. So, accept the challenge to plan that vacation this year. Because farmers need vacations, too.
Easier Said Than Done, Right?
Because the hardest part is packing up, driving out of the driveway and not looking back. But, you need to.
For your own sanity. Take yourself away from the stresses of farm life. Go on vacation with your family. Farmers need vacations, too. Because you’ll appreciate your farm life more when you return.
Because the hardest part is packing up, driving out of the driveway and not looking back. Instead, look forward to returning back to farm life.
Now, what do you think? Are you willing to take the chance and take a vacation with your family this year?
[Tweet “I always feel refreshed and ready to take on the business of rural life and farm life once again.”]
~ Much Love ~