Farm Credit Services of ND recognizes how all our lives have changed in recent weeks due to the
COVID-19 pandemic. We also understand how challenging these times can be and offer the following
remarks provided by today's Face of Farm Credit that is WORKING FOR YOU to help you find your
"secret ingredient" to deal with our changing environment.
What’s Your Secret Ingredient?
by Darren Dobrinski
I wrote an article in the winter edition of Inside FCS on stress and anxiety in farmers and ranchers. In that article, I provided some guidelines and strategies on
dealing with those issues. Fast-forward a few months and we now have a new stressor that is affecting all of us. The guidelines explained then can also be applied
today when dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Our daily lives have been turned upside down, and we have been forced to adjust accordingly. This has caused
inconvenience, uncertainty, and apprehension. Similar to the hope the farmers and ranchers who are dealing with the consequences of the current ag-economy have,
we all have the hope that we can come out strong on the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the current environment we all need to learn how to accept the situation, maintain a daily routine, and focus on the positives. As a psychologist, one of the
“secret ingredients” in working with clients was having them focus on the “here and now.” Instead of talking about the past or the future we focused on what we could
control today. What does that look like? For me, knowing that I can’t control the uncertainty and consequences of the pandemic, I’m learning to accept the situation.
I have concentrated on adapting, while maintaining some normalcy. Instead of driving to the office, I walk down the hallway. Instead of making small talk with colleagues
while we have our morning coffee, I pour a cup of coffee at home and call a few colleagues. Instead of meeting a customer at their farm, we talk on the phone. The list is endless.
The point is we still have some control and are accomplishing our daily routines, they have just been modified. Positivity is part of the “secret ingredient” as well. Although this is
a time of uncertainty that can cause stress and anxiety, it is important to look actively for the positives. I have witnessed many positives that I am not sure I would have recognized
nor experienced without the Covid-19 pandemic. My parent involvement has improved. My family and I have set a record for consecutive days of having sit down meals together.
I have a better sense of my daughter’s life, her dreams and aspirations. I have a deeper understanding and appreciation of my wife’s ability to logistically keep our home running
on all cylinders regardless of the chaos. Receiving phone calls from old friends and reconnecting with others that would have likely waited for another time. I’m grateful that my family,
friends, and colleagues have remained Covid-19 free. These are some of my personal examples of the positive experiences I have had that Covid-19 has created. Although we are all
practicing social distancing we still have the ability to practice social connectedness which is another “secret ingredient” in coping with the current situation. Social distancing will
minimize our risk, social connectedness will maintain our humanity.
There may be times when we don’t feel as positive, when concerns and negative thinking may creep in. This is normal. However, staying in that frame of mind isn’t healthy and
purposefully adding one of the “secret ingredients” in to your day is recommended. There is no cookie cutter recipe for all of us to use, but I hope what is mentioned here may help
you find your own, and that you will share your recipe with us and with others.
Note: To read Darren’s article in the Winter 2019 edition of Inside FCS, click here: https://www.farmcreditnd.com/inside-fcs-magazine
Darren Dobrinski has a Masters in counseling psychology and a PhD in school psychology. He has worked in a rural community mental health clinic, an inpatient care floor of a hospital,
specialized in children’s psychological needs as a school psychologist, and was a professor of psychology at Minot State University before joining Farm Credit Services of North Dakota.
In addition, he is a fourth generation farmer.