Dakota Farmer

Take a break from your to-do list

Time in the sun after a long winter will help you recharge for the growing season.

April 15, 2022

3 Min Read
Seedlings in a field
TAKE A STEP BACK: This spring, be sure to take time to enjoy the warmer weather and the new life that comes with the season.infrontphoto/Getty Images

With spring weather delayed just a little longer after the latest blizzard, you may be stuck inside a little longer with an ever-growing spring to-do list. Even with the new snow drifts, the days are getting longer, and the air is warmer. In North Dakota, spring weather is usually just above freezing, but 45 degrees F after a long, cold winter feels warmer than it should. With those spring temps come mud, more time outside, calving and planting.

There is always something to be done around a farm, especially as the sun begins to shine and the yard begins to thaw. Spring cleaning both indoors and out, getting equipment ready for the growing season, making management decisions for the year — the to-do list can get long.

A busy season

While my family and I aren’t directly involved in production agriculture, spring can still feel rushed with planning what’s right around the corner. Summer for us means plenty of time on the road, heading to rodeos, a backpacking trip or, for me, a farm story. It can be easy to miss the enjoyment that comes with the changing season.

After a long winter spent mostly inside, as soon as spring weather hits, we’re out taking daily walks or exercising horses every chance we can. Being cooped up during the cold, dark winter days is quickly forgotten after a few weeks of getting out into the fresh air.

I sometimes feel guilty for taking time after work to get outside, instead of working on other projects, such as spring cleaning or finishing the never-ending graduate papers. Sure, there’s always plenty of work to be done, but I tell myself that can be done after sunset.

Many of us might want to be as productive as possible, without much regard for taking care of ourselves. But the blues can hit hard for many of us during the Dakotas’ snowy, dark days of winter. Those with extreme cases might be suffering from seasonal affective disorder, which hits hardest in January and February.

Seeing a specialist is vital to discuss treatment options if you have symptoms of SAD, which include:

  • sadness

  • loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities

  • changes in appetite

  • change in sleeping patterns

  • difficulty thinking or concentrating

Even for those of us who don’t directly deal with this disorder, spring weather and sunshine can be the best medicine. On top of more sunshine, spending time outside and taking care of your general health can get you on the road to feeling better. Regular exercise (outside walks anyone?), eating healthy and getting enough sleep can help us feel better in the spring and all year long.

Especially before starting the busy growing season, taking a step back from your farm to-do list and enjoying the spring weather with a loved one can help you feel better. The shop will still be messy, that tire will still need a patch, and that pasture fence will still need to be fixed.

Make sure to smell the spring air and enjoy the first winds of spring before getting caught up in the bustle of the growing season.

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