Growing up on a farm in Freeland, Michigan, I was involved in 4-H, school activities and farm life for as long as I can recall. My dad always cautioned me not to marry a farmer, and at the time, it was an easy promise to make as I never wanted to shovel manure ever again.
I went on to get my degree in exercise physiology from Grand Valley. I chose this route because of what I experienced working for MMR (an ambulance company) throughout college. Working primarily in an underserved and poor, urban area, I realized that 96% of the people who called an ambulance weren’t having an actual emergency. Most people were experiencing pain, were depressed, anxious, or just didn’t feel good in general.
And herein lies the problem. The practical tools that people can actually use to foster wellness and help themselves feel better can be hard to find. Few people know what to do to ease their anxiety, depression, pain, soreness and exhaustion. I distinctly remember thinking that if there was a video blog that could teach people these simple strategies, then all of this could be avoided.
After I graduated from college, I started working at a hospital in that same town. It didn’t take me long to realize that I could make a bigger impact in helping people feel better if I cut through all the red tape, and struck out on my own.
I started my business, in 2016 in an effort to equip people with tools to help them feel better via a video blog.
This endeavor opened the door for me to teach people, through online courses and workshops, how to have less pain, manage their stress and live a more joyful life.
Somewhere along the way I fell in love with...you guessed it, a farmer!
I got married and moved to an even smaller rural town, Merrill. After a crazy year in farming, I shared a video about the importance of openly discussing stress, mental health and suicide within the farming community. The overwhelming response to that video confirmed that a space needed to be created where I could send people for more information. In the fall of 2019, the ‘Farm Stress Blog’ was born.
I now offer two blogs under the umbrella of Cultivate Balance:
The Wellness Blog teaches people how to have less pain, more energy and live a more joyful life. The Farm Stress blog shows farmers, farm spouses and people in agriculture how to manage farm stress, how to talk openly about mental health, and helps prevent farm opioid dependency and suicide.
I love teaching, farming, animals, being outside, exercise, travel, reading and spending time with people. I also really enjoy creating videos for you and those you love!