My Journey To Self-Care

Female Farmer Central Park Farms.jpeg

As we get closer to our yearly slow-down where we attend less weekly farmers markets and move out of our long table event season I’ve been shifting my focus to self-care. Can such a thing possibly coexist with farming? I’m on a mission to find out!

Maybe it’s the weary look on my face these days as we push towards our ‘slow’ season, but more often than not lately our most frequent customers look at me with a serious pause and ask, ‘and how are YOU?’

These are the customers who are with us through it all. The ones who make shopping with us a regular part of their lives — They see us weekly or at least a few times per month. They’re are our ‘farm’ily and they see first hand how farming can take it’s toll because they see us often. There’s a very real chance you fall into this group.

As much as they love to know how the farm is, they also want to know how I’m holding up and I so appreciate that. And it’s with this, that I’m excited to say I’m starting to find little ways to fit in more ‘self-care’ lately.

This last month or so I’ve realized that ‘self-care’ looks different for everyone (it’s not always a costly day at the spa) and I can’t brush off the idea of taking care of myself simply because I feel like I don’t have time. I’ve now committed to making small and manageable changes in my life.

So what does that look like for me?

  • Ditch caffeinated coffee… I know that seems counter productive for a woman who’s constantly tired BUT I realized coffee was making me feel like crap and doing nothing for my insomnia. So I’ve made the switch to herbal teas and I’m feeling so much better since I did — My favourites are by New Moon Tea Co and they get bonus points for being small-batch and locally made. Enjoying a cup of their Sweet Dreams Tea at bedtime with Jay has become a new ritual.

  • Learn to say ‘no’! When I first started Central Park Farms I was saying ‘yes’ to absolutely EVERYTHING, whether it served me, my family, and my business or not. I feel like women are especially guilty of feeling bad saying ‘no’ but I’m slowly learning that it’s not sustainable for me to continue putting more on my plate than I can handle. The more I can say ‘no’ to the things that don’t matter or are too time consuming, the more I can focus on the things that need to be priorities. Now what does that mean for business? Well in the coming months we’ll be shifting away from by appointment pick up from the farm and opening up a little on-farm space for pick ups with set hours. I’m also looking at reducing our wholesale customer base since direct to customer is the area of this business that brings me joy — I love getting to interact directly with our community!

  • Organize my life… or at least my home and office. I’m one of those people who can’t really relax in clutter and mess, but I also don’t really like cleaning if I’m completely honest with myself. In this business, I’m forced to have a collection of things I need to run this place. Tools, farming nicknacks, decor for long table events, so the last thing I want is to be holding onto anything we don’t really need. So with that said, a couple weeks ago I started with a big purge of ‘stuff’ in our house. Jay managed the farm for me for a couple days while I dug in and was ruthless in my goal to get organized. And it feels so much better — Next up it’s time to organize the barns and storage areas on the farm.

  • Take a bath. It might not be a trip to the spa but it sure feels nice to put some quality bath products into the tub, throw on a face mask, and soak with a cup of tea. It might be because I have an irrational fear of dropping my phone in the tub so therefore it’s the only time in my day (aside from date night with Jay) when I’m truly unplugged, but it sure is relaxing.

Ok so it might not be a groundbreaking list and it likely still isn’t enough but it’s more than it has been for the last year so I’m happy to be taking steps in the right direction. This farmer just needs baby steps.

In the coming weeks as things continue to slow down and we have less weekly commitments, I’m planning to add more to my ‘self-care’ regime so I’d love to hear what little things you add to your schedule to take care of yourself!

Kendall ~ Boss Chick at Central Park Farms

Kendall Ballantine