Managing Stress during Harvest Season

Harvest time can be one of the busiest and stressful times of the year for a farmer and their family.

Harvest photo

Farming is a multi-faceted way of life for many families in Pennsylvania. However, harvest time can be one of the busiest and stressful times of the year as farm families try to balance school, fall activities, and harvest while battling unpredictable weather condition.

Stress can negatively impact your health so it is important to take rest and stretch breaks, stay hydrated, eat healthy, and get adequate sleep. These tips may be easier said than done but are a step in the right direction to keeping yourself healthy during harvest season:

  • Exercise: Many farmers feel that the physical labor that they do on the farm is enough, but having a regular exercise or stretching program provides a break in your daily routine, benefits your overall health, and provides a constructive way to relieve excess energy. Strive to exercise three times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Caffeine: Reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet. By eliminating this stimulant, a person may have reduced headaches, increased relaxation, improved sleep, a calmer mood—and, counter intuitively, more energy.
  • Humor: The old adage "laughter is the best medicine" isn't inaccurate—laughter might help to reduce your stress, so explore ways (social groups, books, and so on) to add some laughter to your life.
  • Talking: Having a strong network of friends and family can help provide necessary support during stressful times. Make sure that you have a couple of people to whom you can vent your problems to help reduce built up stress.
  • Relaxation Techniques: There are simple relaxation techniques that can help you clear your mind and reduce tension. Techniques include deep breathing and taking mini-breaks during the day.
  • Sleep: If you are not getting enough sleep at night to be refreshed in the morning and energetic enough for the day, then you may need to consider a midday power nap.
  • Nutrition: Make sure that you are eating balanced meals throughout the day.
  • Breaks: Take some time from the stressful situation by going for a walk, spending some time alone, working on a hobby, meditating, and so on.


For more tips, resources, and information about stress, read the
Ag Safety & Health eXtension Community of Practice article.

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