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Farm life tension audit — time to fix your stress mess

Complete this checklist to see how you could help fix your tension this year

Recently Mike Lipkin offered me a checklist of champions, and it encouraged me to think about being more intentional about identifying how to be a champion. Here is another checklist of what might be creating tension on our farms when you don’t feel like a champion! Take a few moments for self-care and self-awareness to complete this checklist and see where you want to be more creative about fixing your farm stress mess this year.

Farming with family: Why the stress and tension?

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  • Job dissatisfaction, no ability to make decisions, founder won’t let go!
  • Future job potential, no agreements in place.
  • Work project, the farm work is “never done.”
  • Deadlines, well actually we don’t have any, that is the problem.
  • Expectations are unrealistic, this is 2016!!
  • Education, would like more but how can I make this work?

Money. Financial tension: Why?

  • Income is irregular, we need to meet our family living needs.
  • Credit card debt is too high, should we cut up the cards?
  • Farm debt for land is overwhelming us.
  • Operating loans are maxed out.
  • Retirement plans are nil, parents will just “reinvent and take on new roles.”
  • Savings, sounds good, how do I feed the tax-free savings account?
  • Cash flow/spending habits are an issue. We don’t track our spending.
  • Emergency fund needs to be built. Three months of salary is $9K!
  • Future money needs, it is all going back into the farm.
  • Past financial mistakes have scared parents about hiring expert advisers.
  • Investments all go back into capital purchases for the farm. No personal wealth bubble.
  • Mortgage on our house is difficult.
  • Living expenses/bills seem to be increasing with young children.
  • Care-giving costs are something our aging parents refuse to talk about.
  • Planning for the future sounds good with a certified financial planner.

Health tensions: Why?

  • Overall health status is not where I would like it to be.
  • Appearance could be improved, I don’t like muffin tops!
  • Weight has been an ongoing issue and now my doctor is encouraging weight loss.
  • Fitness is not staying on the couch. I need to walk and work out more.
  • Current health challenges are my sleeping patterns, and ______________.
  • Stress load will always need managing. I need more time for self-care.
  • Mental well-being is critical. Am I depressed? Ask my doctor for the test.
  • Future health is a concern as my aging friends are getting sick.
  • Chronic conditions are being managed. I need to check family history.

Personal tensions: Why?

  • Time management. What is the important thing to do, not just urgent?
  • Household management. How can I ask for more help or delegate?
  • Personal hygiene/upkeep. Grooming is slipping. Slob alert.
  • Priorities/organization. Need to write my action plan down with deadlines.
  • Faith is growing with connection to other believers and community.
  • Ability to get things done/goals.
  • Making a difference/giving back.
  • Happiness/emotional stability.
  • Confidence/self-esteem grows as I become a lifelong learner.
  • Sense of balance is fleeting, more like buoyancy. An unresolvable issue.
  • Sense of personal fulfilment is great. I love farming with my family.

Relationships… People tensions: Why? Helping or hindering your vision?

  • Spouse/partner , we are working on making our relationship stronger.
  • Siblings are in contact and understand our vision for our farm.
  • Parents are transparent and sharing their future life chapter expectations.
  • Children are engaged with farm chores and learning to be independent.
  • Extended family members can celebrate good times with us.
  • Friends are part of our weekly plans to stay connected.
  • Neighbours know they can ask for help, and we appreciate each other.
  • Co-workers at the farm are appreciated, engaged, and happy to be on the team.
  • Farm manager is learning to let go and delegate responsibility to others.

In which category did you check the most boxes?

Are your sources of tension mostly about relationship?

List your top five sources of tension:

  • Are your relationships drawing you closer to your vision and goals or blocking you?
  • Are you paying attention to your intuition and inner voice to take better care of yourself?

Once you identify the main sources of tension in your life, you can start to work on them. Knowing which areas of your life need improvement will help you be more intentional about working on those areas.

  • What do you want to let go of?
  • What do you want to hold on to?
  • What do you want to take on?
  • What do you want to move on?

New paths will appear. New beginnings.

About the author


Elaine Froese is a certified farm family coach and farm partner. Seek her out at www. or call 1-866-848-8311. Buy her books for your mom. Share your stories of how these phrases have impacted you. Elaine wants to hear from you on Facebook at “farm family coach” or Twitter @elainefroese.



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