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HERd Management: Dedicate your New Year’s resolution to yourself

Ashley Messing-Kennedy for Progressive Dairyman Published on 31 December 2018


Just like everyone else last year on New Year’s Eve, I was setting my resolution. At midnight, I brought up my internet browser and signed myself up for the Detroit International Half Marathon.



I had started running six months before that and never ran farther than a 5K or 3.1 miles. Signing up to run 13.1 miles was a leap of faith.

In October, I finished that half marathon. During those 10 months, I learned so much more than just how to train for a marathon.

The past few years in the dairy industry have not been fun; we all know that. It doesn’t look like it’s going to rebound greatly any time soon, which means our stress isn’t going anywhere.

During this last year of running solo miles, I realized how important it is to take time to myself.

After my runs, I was able to work through stress better. I had a better frame of mind, even during those inevitable bad days.


I found that my alone time also allowed me to think through problems without interruption and the distraction of emotional swings. Regular exercise made a greater impact on my mental health than it did on my waistline.

This New Year’s, I want to encourage you all to take time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be running, although I will say a daily walk or run is excellent at clearing your mind.

Go out with a friend once a month. Go to a movie by yourself and eat all of the popcorn. Do whatever it is that makes you feel renewed, refreshed and centered.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to admit it. This is one of the hardest things. In our society, admitting you need help is a struggle.

In the case of feeling depressed, overwhelmed and sad, you need to ask for help – whether that is talking with your spouse, a friend or a professional. Make sure you get help when you need it.

I’ve been telling you to take care of yourself, but another important part of that concept is to also make sure others take care of themselves, too.


My husband participates in a bowling league. I totally support him on that, and when he wants to go hang out with a friend occasionally, I urge him to go.

When your cup is full, it’s so much easier to pour from it and help the ones you love.

I hope you will take up a new philosophy for 2019. Engage in self-care regularly. It will amaze you how much better of a farmer, spouse and parent it will make you. Time alone can make you a better partner in all parts of your life.  end mark

Ashley Messing-Kennedy