Connect and give
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.
- Connect with farmers in your area at a DairyNZ discussion group.
- Get linked up with or become a mentor through Dairy Connect.
- Check out the regular meetings, workshops, conferences, resources and more at Dairy Women's Network.
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- See what other farmers told Farmstrong about having a break, and check out Farmstrong’s tips for better sleeping.
- Learn some simple techniques from Mentalhealth.org.nz for taking notice.
Be active and eat well
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?