Are you feeling homestead burn out? Here are 6 simple strategies to help you prevent and manage burn out as you create your homestead.
Recently I saw a Facebook post asking about homestead burnout, how others avoid and overcome it. The poster specifically identified their longing to take vacation but a lack of qualified farm help was preventing it. This post really resonated with me and based on the number of comments it did for others also.
After reflecting on the journey as we turned our hobby farm into a business I’ve come up with 6 strategies to deal with homestead burn out. These tips are especially useful to those planning or just starting out in their homesteading journey since it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the amount of tasks that seemingly need to get done.
Avoiding Homestead Burnout
I admire other homesteaders who seem to have ticked off all the “homesteading boxes”. They raise different types of animals, grow and can all their own veggies, live completely off grid, make their own soaps, live plastic free and so on. But guess what? Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a homestead. The best advice to prevent homestead burnout is to start and master one thing at a time. Don’t take it all on at once or you will very quickly become overwhelmed.
Set expectations early
What are your expectations for your homestead? To answer this question ask yourself the following – is my homestead a hobby or a business? The answer makes a real difference on how you run things. If it’s a hobby treat it as such, only take on what brings you joy so you can still have time for other things. If it’s a business, most if not all of your time will be spent building your empire. Setting expectations early in your farm plan will help you realize what lifestyle changes you are going to make and what will need to be sacrificed.
Understand the commitment
Whether it’s planting the perfect garden, growing your own livestock feed, or planning for goat kidding everything you add to your homestead will also add time. It’s extremely important understand how much time you have and only take on what fits. When we have bottle calves we feed them at 5am, 5pm, and 9pm. This means coming straight home after work and having friends over instead of leaving the house. We know the commitment and are prepared make adjustments in our life to accommodate. Having responsibilities at home unfortunately means you need to be at home.
Prioritize, Plan & Organize
People are always telling us we’re too busy because in addition to the farm we both have day jobs, my husband is in school, and I run this (awesome) blog. But guess what – we’re happy and wouldn’t change it for anything! I’m not saying we don’t ever feel overwhelmed, shit is always bound to hit the fan but when it does we quickly reassess and re-prioritized. We spend a lot of time researching and planning our projects around the farm which goes a long way when navigating uncharted territory. We have also found a great system for keeping ourselves organized on the farm, you can read about it here.
Build a support system
Our area has large populations of both Amish and Mennonites and for the longest time I could never understand how they “did it all”. Then I realized that they pool their resources together and work as as community, not as individuals. Building a network of family, friends, and like minded people is an invaluable resource to a homesteader. Having access to tools and equipment, learning a new skill, or getting help with farm chores are all things that come from a great support system . But remember, if you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours and reciprocation is key.
When we first began caring for livestock other than poultry we would feed hay twice a day by ripping off flakes from small squares and placing it in feeders. It probably ate up close to an hour of time a day for us. Over time we eventually made this process more efficient and were able to cut our hay costs by 50%. Three years later and hay is a once a week chore that takes under 5 minutes total. Finding efficiencies and improving processes takes time, and unfortunately making many mistakes along the way. If this is something you really want to do, be patient and know that overtimes things will get easier.
I know it can be very overwhelming at times and some days you may wonder if it’s worth all the fuss. Then imagine if you can see yourself living any other way anywhere else. If the answer is no, then take a deep breath, relax, and trust that things will improve over time!
Have you suffered from homestead burnout? Let me know how you overcame and prevent in in the comments below!