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 on a neighbour or friend for a cup of tea.
Giving your time or expertise to others has a direct positive effect on the neurochemicals in your brain. What you will feel is a sense of satisfaction, pride and enjoyment. These feelings are what help us become resilient, and be better able to cope with stress and pressure.
Here’s what farmers are doing to connect and give:
“No matter how busy things get, we always make sure we have friends to dinner and go to dinner parties. You’ve got to make sure you have time for a laugh with mates.”
“I bring groups of town kids out to the farm for a school trip and organise to have the tanker truck there and show them how it all works. It’s a great feeling to watch them take an interest in farming.”
Insert image from current content.
There are more examples given in the two articles below:
- Dairy connect
- Dairy Women's Network - hold regular meetings, and offer workshops, conferences, resources and more.
- Fedfarm.org.nz – volunteer to help following adverse or crisis events.
Stimulating our brain by learning new things is what helps to keep us sharp. Having a broad knowledge on 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.
Here’s what farmers are doing to Keep Learning:
“I like to catch up with other farmers and see how they are doing things differently. A bit of healthy discussion over farm systems keeps me on top of my game.”
“I make sure I attend at least two events a year and try to read as many magazines that come through the door as I can.”
“Once I've read the latest industry magazines I take them to my staff and ask them all to pick one to read and share something they learned at the next team meeting. It creates good discussion and seems to motivate them.”
There are more examples given in the article below:
- Keep Learning
- DairyNZ Tactics campaign - “DairyNZ's Tactics campaign brings together tools, tips and tactics to help you survive and thrive in a low milk price season.”
- DairyNZ Events - events such as Milksmart, discussion groups, wellness workshops
- Environment - Topics include: regional information, waterways, effluent systems, water use, conversion information, nutrient management, land management, waste management,
- Animal - “Animal management is a critical component of farm profitability and sustainability. From genetics to herd management and more, this section covers topics that will help guide your decisions.”
- Farm - Topics include: …
- PrimaryITO - Industry training provider
Be safe and have a plan
Have insurances in place, set financial budgets and feed plans, have recruitment processes and employment contracts. Implement rosters and spring rotation planners. These are some of the things which bring peace of mind and protect yourself and your farm.
Here’s what farmers are doing to be safe:
“With all the change going on, I’ve put together a budget and a plan. I feel a lot better knowing my position now instead of just sticking my head in the sand.”
“Sitting down with my family and talking about my succession plan and the future of the farm took a weight off my shoulders.”
- Be Safe and Have a Plan
- Worksafe – this site has all the documents and plans for a comprehensive health and safety plan
- Roster builder
- Federated Farmers – comprehensive contracts, templates and guides. Ranges from grazing lease, employment agreements, grazing lease agreements, sharemilking agreements, remuneration reports, application for employment, and more.
Rest and take notice
Taking meal breaks and rest breaks through the working day are critical for our resilience. Being physically fatigued is going to make decision making harder. It is equally important that we get a break from being on farm. Ideally this would be a few consecutive days off farm following the busy periods. Achieving as close to 8 hours sleep a night as you can will help keep you from burning out. Take notice of the things you love about farming. Reminding yourself why you do what you do can make the tough times easier to bear.
Here’s what farmers are doing to rest and take notice:
“Fishing is something that calms me down and so I make sure I go fishing at least once a month, even if it’s just for a few hours. It costs me nothing and I always come back sharper!”
“Every night at dinner we go around the table and everyone shares one good thing and one bad thing from the day. This forces me to notice what my family is up to, otherwise I get head down at work and miss things.”
“During the stressful times of calving, I always stop at dusk and spend a few minutes watching the calves play as the sun sets. It reminds me why I farm and gives me perspective.”
- Take Notice.
Be active and eat well
Farmers are active on a day to day basis. But this does not mean they are fit. To improve resilience and become stronger physically and mentally, we need to elevate our heart rate for a period of 20 minutes on at least 3 days of the week. Equally as important is the food we eat. The fewer resources our bodies have to devote to fighting toxins and chemicals the better it will function.
Here’s what farmers are doing to be active and eat well:
“I try to walk on the farm as often as I can, only using the bike if I absolutely need to.”
“We always have a bowl of fresh fruit on the bench at home and at the cow shed.”
“I play touch with friends and when that’s not on I go for bike rides with the kids. I try to make sure I do a group sport activity at least once a week to catch up with friends, unwind and have some time off the farm.”
- Be active
- Eat well