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Rural Family Wellness: Whatever Your Family Looks Like, Each One Of You Matters


Rural women are gutsy, determined and skilled. We also have our soft sides: we can be vulnerable, scared, or confused. We are real people – real women.

We know how to look after small details, big plans, and everything in between. While our families come first on our minds, we look after other important things: business, rural living, creating, networking, and personal growth.We can focus and be productive, but what about downtime to rest, connect with loved ones, be playful and to receive love and support? We need these to renew ourselves, our families, and our creativity.

A woman leaning on a wooden fence with trees and mountains in the background.

The big picture and practical demands of our roles can be overwhelming for our hearts, minds and souls. We need to carve out rest time, say “No” (no is a complete sentence), and focus on ourselves and what we need to be whole and healed. We can role model for our family how to rest and be well.

Whatever Your Family Looks Like, Each One Of You Matters

You can define your own family. A family might include you and an adult child, or a partner and ten horses, or a partner, several children and grandchildren and a herd of cows or barn full of chickens. Families can look and be different in size and definition. Your family can include your culture, the wider community and good friends.

When you look after yourself, include recognition of all the roles you fill: sister, partner, daughter, aunt, foster-parent, grandmother, cousin… 

A women's hand in straw wearing a western styled turquoise bracelet.

You may live alone, far from services and neighbours and be unable to connect with friends and family who you long to hug. You might live to create and share leatherworking, making soaps and candles, homemade bread or farmstead flower arrangements. However you define your creative business, rural life and family – you matter in each of these roles and your family matters in theirs. Your culture and community also matter – when did you last connect with this wider support circle?

Nurturing Well-being: Balancing Self-Care with Family and Creative Fulfillment

When you take time for yourself, look at how each of your loved ones is doing – how are they? Is there anything they need? Ask yourself: how am I doing? What do I need? What basic needs am I missing? Am I getting downtime with others I care about, enough nourishing food and drink? Do I have time to be creative and connect with my inspiration? Or, my favourite, am I breathing? (Really, fully breathing!).

A woman crouching between a quarter horse and a pony

When you look at the health of your herd, crops or creative work, include yourself and your family in this wellness scan and during busy times, put your family’s needs on the list. Prioritize yourself and your family’s wellness. Everyone will benefit.Those of us who create and cultivate meaningful products – whether it’s grain, beading, beef or beautiful quilts – need energy and love to sustain us. How do you connect with what nourishes you? We each need to make time to rest, play and connect – this feeds personal and family health.

Embracing Self-Care and Healthy Boundaries in Family Wellness

Our needs are diverse depending on age, health and what is happening around us. Does the toddler need a dental visit and the teen a hair cut? An elderly parent needs a ride and your sister needs a call. How do we look after ourselves and our families during times of stress?Rural women are like water, we find a way. 

Take some quiet time to check -in with yourself and what you need. Think of each loved one and ask them how they are. Giving up all of yourself is not the answer, you don’t need to do and be everything for everyone;however, you can role model daily self-care and healthy boundaries. Both are essential for holistic family wellness. You can offer and ask, but let others do what they can for themselves. You can role model accepting help and receiving care. This process takes practice while everyone is learning. Taking your time is okay. Do what works best for you and your family.

A women walking out of a tack shed with a western saddle sitting on a wooden fence in front of her.

Finding Balance in Work, Rest, and Connection

At times, we have so many things we are attending to. Living rurally means the home, office, and life are blended. We can always be working. Take that time to check-in with yourself and with each person you love. As rural women we don’t always need to be productive. We are allowed to rest and restore.

No matter the size of your family, you matter and your family matters. With this focus, each person is seen, heard and loved. Through everyday small actions and words and through moments spent together, we can ask what we need and how to meet those needs. From this place, for every rural woman and her family, renewed creativity will flow.

Article from: Spring 2021 Issues #2
Photography Credit: Victoria Skofteby

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February 22, 2024

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