By Jennifer Woolwine

4 Common Struggles All Homesteaders Face and How to Overcome Them


baghdad to barnyard

January 16, 2023

Homesteading can be a rewarding lifestyle; however, it can also come with many struggles. From financial issues to climate challenges and everything in between, here are four of the most common struggles all homesteaders face – and how to overcome them.

Time management

Managing your time can be challenging if you’re living a homestead lifestyle. My advice? Don’t try to do it all. You will run yourself ragged, burning the candle at both ends. I know because I’ve experienced it. I used to cram 36 hours of work into a 24-hour time frame (thinking I could catch up). Let me tell you, I didn’t last long. Over the years, I’ve learned when you have a homestead- there will never be a day without some kind of project to do!

With so many tasks to do on a homestead, it can take a lot of work to stay organized and ensure all your chores get done. Not to mention any projects you have planned too. You can start your day by making lists of the tasks that need to be done and prioritizing them in order of importance. Also, breaking up the day’s chores into small, achievable tasks will quickly make it feel more manageable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; or you can hire help if needed. But, if you can’t afford to hire anyone and you don’t have family or friends to help you out, the world won’t end if you leave the dirty dishes in the sink or have unfolded laundry on your countertop for one more day.

Dealing with stress

Homestead stress levels can often be more extreme due to their unique demands and responsibilities. It’s okay if things are overwhelming right now. Here are some of my tried-and-true suggestions to help manage stress and anxiety no matter what kind of homesteading life you lead.

  • Incorporating regular self-care rituals into your day can help to restore the energy that life’s challenges deplete. Whether it’s a 5-minute yoga session for stretching your body, taking an Epsom salt bath for calming your mind, or listening to peaceful music to soothe your soul, making time for yourself each day is crucial in helping you maintain a healthy balance and mindset.

  • One of the most powerful and beneficial ways to destress and recharge is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is being present in the moment and being aware of yourself on a deeper level. This may involve meditating, taking a mindful walk in nature, journaling, or engaging in a therapeutic breathing exercise sessions.

  • Make a point of breaking away from life’s hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature. Bring a picnic basket or take off your shoes, soak up the sun’s rays, and take pleasure in the sound of birds chirping and leaves rustling in the breeze.

  • Gardening can be incredibly calming and peaceful, allowing you to tune out the demands of homesteading. According to research, spending time outside in a garden can reduce stress and anxiety levels, blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and more. So grab a glass of tea or wine, head outside, and start gardening away your worries!

  • Petting animals has been found to instantly lower blood pressure, improve mood, and reduce anxiety and depression. Low-frequency purrs from a cat can even provide “vibroacoustic therapy,” helping to promote bone growth and an improved immune response. Having animals around your homestead does more than give you companionship – it may actually heal your mind and body!

    Financial struggles

    As any homesteader knows, money troubles is a common struggle when running a farm or rural property. With the added costs of seeds and livestock feed, it can be hard to budget effectively. To reduce financial stress, homesteaders can create a monthly expense budget, learn how to save money, and allocate funds for projects (one at a time). Additionally, searching for grants and loans from both public and private organizations may provide some assistance in covering costs. Finally, while homesteading may present an idyllic image of living on the land without monetary worries, it’s important to remember financial struggles exist even out in the country.

    Unpredictable weather

    Weather is one of the most unpredictable and uncontrollable aspects of homesteading. Whether it’s dealing with frigid temperatures or a lot of rain, extreme weather can cause damage to your home or crops, leading to costly repairs. As a homesteader, you should also be ready to act quickly in the event of heavy rain or drought. If there is too little water, you can install an irrigation system or use mulch to help reduce evaporation. On the flip side, excessive rainfall can cause flooding, so adding drainage systems is very important to keep your homestead safe from damage. Lastly, always stay up-to-date with the most current weather forecasts for your region so you’re prepared in advance.

    It’s important to remember that many homesteading activities are connected with Mother Nature and her whimsical plans; even if you schedule something on a particular day, unsavory weather conditions can cause you to reschedule. This is frustrating and can take up even more of your scant 24 hours. Overcoming common struggles all homesteaders face takes organization, planning, and a lot of patience!

    Final thoughts

    Homesteading can sometimes be difficult when you have to face challenges, such as unpredictable weather, time management and financial struggles. Homesteaders must set achievable goals, plan ahead, form relationships with local people, and use effective time management techniques. Through hard work and careful planning, homesteaders can face and overcome these common struggles and flourish in this rewarding lifestyle.

    What common challenges do you face on your homestead? Let me know in the comments below.

    xo, Jen

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    Jen Woolwine       Author

    Jen is a combat veteran and wife who is passionate about animal rescue, homesteading, and mental health advocacy. Jen's amazing journey of transitioning from military service to homesteading can be followed on her blog and social media platforms @baghdadtobarnyard.

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