How do you do the work of the homestead when it hurts? What about babies, surgeries, mental health days and just aging joints? Here’s a little advice for broken body homesteading.
If you need more practical homesteading advice after reading this article, be sure to check out our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. With over 400 page of homesteading projects, instructions and DIYs, there’s bound to be something here of interest to you. If you’d like to read a sample of the book, just shoot me and email at Tessa@homesteadlady.com on a topic of interest to you and I’ll get you set up. To learn more about the book, click below.
All of us wish we were young and strong when it comes to homesteading chores. From the lifting and the hauling to the milking and the mending, there’s so much physical labor that has to take place each day to keep the homestead humming along. Some of us are forced by our physical limitations to cut back on our homesteading endeavors. Whether this is a permanent change or a temporary one, it’s normal for their to be some emotional fallout from that.
Sometimes we just plain wish our bodies would keep up with our dreams!
Broken Body Warning
Before we begin, I need to say that this post is in no way meant to take the place of the advice of qualified medical professionals. Be sure to work with your naturopath, herbalist or conventional medical doctor anytime your common sense tells you that you need to. I don’t go to the doctor much anymore simply because most of what ails me can be dealt with at home with herbs, oils, diet and exercise.
However, our family was recently challenged with two medical issues that required us to prayerfully consult doctors. One used his skills to help my daughter through a surgery. The other was a naturopathic dentist who helped me learn to heal and function after stress-related damage to my jaw and a tooth. I was leery of working with doctors as I’ve had some less-than-steller experiences with them in the last few years. However, these men were a true blessing to me and my family and I’m so grateful for the expertise and assistance. They were true healers.
Just a Side Note
(Incidentally, if you’re in the Ogden, Utah area and need an ENT, I can recommend Dr. John Siddoway of the Ogden Clinic. If you need naturopathic dentist in that are, visit Dr. Patrick Tanner of Ogden Smiles. Both doctors will talk to you like a person, listen to you when you speak and do their best to help you heal.)
So, just so we’re clear, here’s my disclaimer:
Broken Body Complaints
Any discussion on pain is going to be very relative. Your physical trials might overwhelm me, whereas you’re super tough and need bigger issues to knock you down. Whatever level of broken body complaints you’re operating on, please know that I’m sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers in your direction.
Some of us are struggling with acute pains caused by complex medical issues that require the help of professionals and medicines. Some are working through what would be considered temporary demands that still require we be careful with ourselves and take time to heal.
Let’s talk about a few of the broken body complaints that I’ve dealt with and that some of my homesteading friends have worked through.
Homesteading with the Blue Devils
Sometimes depression is its own illness, and other times it can accompany another ailment. When we’re battling broken body issues it’s natural to feel discouraged. Sometimes we battle a hopeless feeling that the illness will never end. Other times we’re just exhausted by the necessity of maintaining the homestead while feeling awful.
So, I’ve learned that the first thing I need to tend to when I’m ill is how I feel about it. I make sure to spend time meditating/praying every day. I seek strength and ask that my body will be receptive to healing. I study good books just a few minutes daily, too. I’m getting better about making sure I nourish myself with all the teas, tinctures, herbs, foods, broths and hugs that I need. I forget myself too often and don’t do what I need to do in the press of taking care of everyone and everything else. BUT, it takes me five times longer to heal when I’m neglectful of myself.
I wonder, if we’re honest with ourselves, just how many of our ailments are rooted in how we feel. How would our healing be quickened if we treat our spirits as well as our bodies? Just something to think about before we begin our discussion.
Homesteading While Sick
From the common cold to the stomach flu, the work of the homestead doesn’t stop just because you’d rather die than go outside and do anything. These times may not be the worst in your broken body homesteading experiences, but they sure are stinkers. Fortunately, we homesteaders are really into DIY projects and there may just be something we can do about these viral and bacterial issues that pop up during the year.
For an immune boosting tonic to ward off illness, try this recipe for fire cider.
To learn to make elder berry syrup for a yucky throat, click here.
If you’d like some herbal combinations to try for your immune system, nervous system and/or yeast overgrowth, click here.
Also, try these 20+ Best Natural Cold Remedies by Healthy Christian Home.
One of the best things to have on hand is a buffet of salves – these are like ointments you’d buy at the store. Here’s a basic cough and cold chest salve from Learning and Yearning.
And here’s a vapor rub for the kids from Pistachio Project.
To learn more about herbal protocols that might help, please visit The Herbal Academy online. There are classes for beginners and advanced learners.
Homesteading While Pregnant or Nursing
A pregnant or nursing woman doesn’t necessarily have a broken body, but she certainly has a body in need of a lot of care. I’ve been homesteading for thirteen years and I’ve been pregnant or nursing for ten of those years. Needless to say, I’ve had spells of homesteading where I’ve had to get very creative with how I worked. A pregnant body needs a steady amount of rest, nutrition and then more rest. If you’re plagued with morning sickness then you need to take especial care. A nursing mother’s needs are similar.
Many of our needs can be taken care of with balanced, whole foods nutrition. This isn’t true only when we’re pregnant or nursing, but all the time. Our food can be some of our best medicine or, if we’re not quite where we need to be, our worst enemy. The first step we can take to increase our health when we’re nurturing and nourishing a growing baby are simple.
First, cut out all refined sugars. That means stop consuming anything white corn syrup (and it’s various forms) and processed white sugar. You don’t have to give up treats altogether! Just check labels and look out for those two sugars. It may mean that you end up at the health food store more often. You might max out your budget, though, if you keep shopping there. Consider learning to make your own whole foods treats that usually include sweeteners like raw honey or even maple syrup.
Despite participating in aerobics all through my youth and adding on yoga as I aged, it turned out that I didn’t know much about pregnancy fitness. Each baby left me a little weaker, a little flabbier and with a few more aches and pains. Many of the aches disappeared as I cleaned up the kinds of foods I ate over the years. However, my abdominal muscles never did recover from carrying and birthing my babies.
My fifth baby came when I was 37 and was a complete surprise. I knew as I was carrying her that something was so much worse than it had ever been before. Even the simplest of homesteading tasks became impossible. Walking became impossible. She came out at 12 lbs. 6 oz. and I was left completely deflated. (No, neither of us had diabetes, FYI.) She reached the age of three and I still couldn’t bend over without feeling like my organs were about to fall out. When I stood up, the pain was so acute I’d nearly pass out. After a good deal of research, I discovered that I was suffering from a really bad case of diastasis recti.
Exercise – the right kind of exercise, that is – became my lifeline to feeling strong again. I found an online diastasis recovery protocol online called Fit2B. These exercises specifically help you heal from a myriad of injuries and teach you how to exercise safely while working with various degrees of a broken body. If you are recovering from surgery, birth, injury, etc., I highly recommend this site.
How I’m Feeling Now
In the two months I’ve been working with Fit2B I’ve proudly developed the ability to bend over without crying or feeling like my organs are compressing. This may seem like a small thing, but to me, it’s huge! I can actually foresee a day where I will be strong enough to do all the things I need to do on my homestead. I don’t need my twenty year old body. I just need my forty something body to not be a broken one anymore!
Homesteading While Injured
Absolutely work with a healthcare professional if you have an acute injury!! However, I will say that the bottom line on homesteading while you’re injured is to not to. Don’t work until you’ve healed completely. Some of the best advice I’ve received on this topic has come from my Homestead Lady Facebook readers. I’ve shared their advice below, and I hope it helps you.
Take Joy Even in Your Broken Body
“Just take your time. Do only what you are able when you are able. Don’t push it just because you may feel a little better today. If help is offered accept it (this bit is hard). Take joy in small victories and if you need to sit a spell look around and enjoy what you see. Even the weeds are feeding the bees.”
I LOVE her reminder that even the weeds are feeding the bees! Small victories are important to celebrate, so do. If you manage to scramble eggs today, congratulate yourself. If you shower today, or smell the roses or manage to sleep through the night, kudos to you!
Also, never stop expressing thanks for the blessings you do enjoy. Having an attitude of gratitude enables us to keep clear vision of our pain, have empathy for others’ pain and eventually overcome, even if it’s only in spirit. If you struggle against the temptation to complain, resolve to stop today. This doesn’t mean you pretend everything is fine; rather, take two minutes to jot down anything you can think of for which you are grateful. And blessing. Any tender mercy.
Do this every day for the next four weeks. Re-read your lists every day. Trust me, this will NOT be a wasted exercise.
Believe in Recovery for Your Broken Body
“In June I fell out of my cherry tree (yup, picking cherries) and fractured my pelvis. I’ve been able to do very little since then. I’ve had to call on many people to help, which sometimes means accepting that chores won’t be perfect, and not everything can get done. And we’ve had to cut back. I sold my goat heard, which HURT because we just had a bunch of cute babies. But we can always get more goats. My garden is over run with weeds, but it will have to be like that for a while. The chickens, though, are doing well, and that seems like a chore we can handle. I have to keep reminding myself that I will heal, and be back to full strength, eventually, and for now, well, I’m just taking walks around the farm.”
Loretta makes such an important point here, I think. Keep reminding yourself that you WILL heal. Some illnesses and injuries do leave us permanently altered. But different isn’t broken and we are not our wounds. Be sure to ‘take walks around the farm’ and keep the faith.
For a mild pain relieving combination that may help, try this apple cider vinegar mix.
Warm ACV Drink for a Broken Body
- A mug of very warm water
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- A dash of turmeric
- A spoonful of coconut oil
- One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
For some information on how apple cider vinegar may help with pain, click here. Turmeric is a great herb to grow and/or use – for information on it, click here. You can also continue reading below for more helpful information and resources.
Don’t forget to email me for that free sample of our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. You really can homestead wherever you are and we hope this book will be of help to you in that. Don’t take our word for it, though; here’s what author Jan Berry has to say about the book
Here’s to your health!
Cover photo gratefully attributed to this Wikipedia Commons user.