How to stay well


2 min read

Connect and give Keep learning Be safe and have a plan Rest and take notice Be active and eat well

Your mental and physical wellbeing is vital for farming at your best. This page outlines five ways to maintain top form:

  1. Connect with others and give your time or expertise to foster positive relationships and resilience.
  2. Keep learning to stimulate your brain and assist in decision-making on the farm.
  3. Be safe and have a plan by sorting out insurance, budgets, and staff rosters.
  4. Rest and take notice by taking regular breaks and appreciating what you love about farming.
  5. Be active and eat well to become stronger both physically and mentally. Follow these guidelines to enhance your farming lifestyle.

Your mental and physical wellbeing is one of your greatest assets. Here are five proven ways to keep yourself in top form, so you can farm at your best and enjoy the journey.

Connect and give

Staying well 1

Connect with people who contribute to your life in a positive way. Meaningful relationships will help reduce the potential feelings of isolation associated with farming, particularly in tough times.  It can be as simple as dropping in for a cuppa with one of your neighbours or friends.

Giving your time or expertise to others has a direct positive effect on the neurochemicals in your brain. You'll feel a sense of satisfaction, pride and enjoyment. These feelings are what help us become more resilient, and better able to cope with stress.

Next steps:

Keep learning

Staying well 2

Stimulating our brains by learning new things is what helps to keep us sharp. Having a broad knowledge of a range of topics will assist you when making key decisions on-farm.

Stimulate your brain by learning more about a hobby or interest. The more exercise your brain gets, the better it will perform when you need it most.

Next steps:

  • Find a DairyNZ Event near you, such as a discussion group, Biz Start, Mark & Measure or field day.
  • Sign up for one of the excellent courses offered by PrimaryITO.

Be safe and have a plan

Staying well 3

For peace of mind and to protect yourself and your farm, it’s important to take a bit of time to put some things in place. Sort out your insurance policies, set financial budgets and feed plans, and create proper recruitment processes and employment contracts. Also, implement staff rosters and spring rotation planners.

Next steps:

  • For all the documents and plans you need for a comprehensive health and safety plan, visit Worksafe.
  • Gain confidence in your pasture management using our Spring Rotation Planner.
  • Federated Farmers offer a great range of contracts, templates and guides.

Rest and take notice

Staying well 4

Taking meal and rest breaks through the day is critical for our resilience because, when we’re fatigued, it’s much harder to make good decisions. It’s equally important to get away from the farm entirely – ideally, a few consecutive days off-farm following the busy periods.

Achieving as close to eight hours sleep a night as possible will help to keep you from burning out.

What do you love about farming? Take time in the day to pause and notice these things. Reminding yourself why you do it can make the tough times easier.

Next steps:

Be active and eat well

Staying well 5

Farmers are active on a day-to-day basis, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re fit. To improve resilience and become stronger physically and mentally, you need to elevate your heart rate for a period of 20 minutes on at least three days of the week. 

The food we eat is just as important. It contributes significantly to the energy needed to perform at your best. Farmers pay careful attention to what their stock eat – so why not do the same for your own nutrition?

Next steps:

Last updated: Sep 2023

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