Whether it’s extended dry conditions or floods, farmers continually face challenges that affect their businesses. Key to seeing tough times through is keeping your mind and body fit so that you can plan, prepare, manage and cope with any situation that may arise.
DFMC’s Executive Officer, Mark Kebbell, is urging members to be responsible and proactive about their health .
“Climatic events like drought add a lot of pressure to farm management and sometimes mental health can be put on the backburner while the immediate threats to business are handled,” said Mark. “But at the end of the day there is no dairy and no business without a healthy, fit and able dairy farmer.
“I want to encourage our members to look at some of the expert advice and useful resources that are available to help you look after yourself and, in doing so, look after your business.”
The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) has a range of resources that assist farmers in managing their physical and mental health. Here is their list of tips to ‘Mind Your Mind’ as published in their ‘Managing Health on the Farm’ booklet:
- Keep active – Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better.
- Eat well – What we eat may affect how we feel. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients. In order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
- Get enough sleep – When you’re a busy worker on the land, life is hectic. We don’t give our bodies as much rest as they need to fully function. Pretty soon we find ourselves running on empty. Sleep is not only good for the body, but it is also good for the mind. A well-rested body and mind can accomplish great things.
- Drink sensibly – We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings. Stay within the recommended daily alcohol limits.
- Talk about your feelings – Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
- Keep in touch – Strong family ties and supportive friends can help you deal with the stresses of life.
- Ask for help – None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan.
- Take a break – A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning or driving the tractor, or a half-hour lunch break at work. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress.
- Do something you’re good at – What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you enjoy doing in the past? Remind yourself that you are fabulous – Don’t let deadlines get you down. Remind yourself of all the things you have accomplished and don’t get caught up in problems or the things that were/are out of your control.
Also available is the Lion Dairy Pride Farmer Support Program, which offers free confidential counselling to you and your families. This can be accessed 24/7 by calling 1300 687 327.
Members may also be interested in the following:
- Stress and farming – coping tips
- NCFH Health and Lifestyle Assessments
- Farm safety windmill
- Stress tool
- Safety centre
- From Inside the Farm Gate
Phillips, T., Hatherell, T., & Brumby, S. (2018). Managing Health on the Farm. National Centre for Farmer Health, Western District Health Service, Hamilton.