Maintaining wellness tips
Find out how to look after yourself and others with these tips.
When you’re in stressful situations, communication becomes more important. You don’t want to be missing tasks or going to do something before finding out it’s already been done. Keeping communication flowing and positive through the team will help get through stressful periods.
If you don’t know or understand something, ask
People are generally much happier to answer questions than fix mistakes. If you do find yourself asking multiple times you could try:
- Repeating the task or list back to the person to make sure you’re on the same page
- Taking a notebook and writing notes, it’s a pro-active move which will often leave a very good impression with your manager.
If you do make a mistake, tell someone so it can be sorted
You need to own up to the mistake so it can be fixed before it gets worse. Remember everyone makes mistakes and you won’t have been the first person to do it. Trying to learn from mistakes can be a positive way of looking at these situations.
Understand how your farm communicates
Understand what you need to do if there’s an emergency. Does your farm use team meetings, cell phones, a WhatsApp or Viber group or radios? If there’s an emergency who do you need to contact.
Let your manager know if you’re struggling
Often there are ways people can help that you might not be aware of but people can’t help unless they know what’s going on. By letting your manager or a colleague know that you need some rest means they might be able to help in ways you don’t have control over.
Have someone you can talk to freely about work frustrations
When we keep frustrations to ourselves, we can over-analyse them and lose perspective. Talking them out will keep molehills from becoming mountains.
It’s important to eat well. Eating healthy well balanced meals makes a positive difference to weight, energy levels, mood and your sleep. But often when you come home after a full day’s work the last thing you want to do it cook a full home cooked meal.
Limit highly processed foods to four portions or less per day
Highly processed foods can be harmful to your body and usually offer only short, temporary bursts of energy or enjoyment while creating long term fatigue and addiction. No matter how they make you feel at the moment, they are actually running you down and impairing your ability to work with strength and sharpness. Ideally, keep these kinds of foods to two or less a day.
Use a slow cooker or crock pot
Slow cookers start from about $30-$40 and are a great option for easily getting hot nutritious food at the end of the day. There’s also the bonus of a great smell when you arrive home. We’ve got some recipes for you to try slow cooker minced beef and slow cooker curried sausages. Find more healthy recipes here.
Cook double and freeze meals
When you come in and want something ASAP, pulling something out of the freezer and into the microwave can be a quick, easy and nutritious meal which doesn’t take much extra effort to prepare.
With colleagues or neighbours.
Have your main meal at lunch
When you have more energy to prepare something.
Get as many fruits and veggies as you can!
These foods have what the body needs to have long term energy, fight off colds and regenerate muscle - important for a sharp mind and able body.
Online grocery shopping
Use services like click and collect.
Drink enough water
On a dairy farm we often drink a lot of coffee and energy drinks that spike our energy levels making us crash a few hours later. Water on the other hand keeps your energy much more stable.
Getting enough rest can sometimes be tough during busy times on a dairy farm, but it’s important to remember that lack of sleep can have real consequences for you and for everyone else on the farm. Below are a few ideas to help get enough good quality sleep.
Doing the same pattern each night before going to bed can help release a chemical called melatonin which helps your body prepare for sleep. Always having a shower, brushing teeth and reading a book can help to shut your body down for the night.
20 to 40 minute powernaps can help refresh you. Sleeping for longer than 40 minutes can make you more lethargic when you wake up so make sure you set an alarm.
Minimise blue light
We all use computers, cell phones and watch TV in the evenings. The blue light emitted from these devices simulates daylight and increases your alertness and energy levels. Not ideal when you’re winding down for the night. Here are some strategies to minimise the effects:
- iPhone night mode and Android apps – These often make the screen more golden rather than blue and can make quite a difference to the eye strain.
- Blue light settings on TV – Some models have settings for ‘night mode’ which help to minimise blue light.
Make time for an interest outside of work
We need to be reminded that there is more to life than work. This gives us perspective, which among other things, enhances our ability to troubleshoot on the job.
Take annual leave.Don’t just take the payout!
Annual leave is there for a reason – to ensure we get the rest we need and deserve, to make sure we maintain our health and relationships and to remind us to have a balanced life.
Look for jobs which:
- Allow you to go no more than 7 days without a day off,
- have 2 consecutive days off in a row and,
- in normal circumstances, work less than 10 hours a day.
When we don’t get enough rest, our efforts are much less efficient.
Try not to work more than 10 hours a day
After a certain number of hours, we pass the point of diminishing returns and our efforts are much less efficient. We are actually better off resting or switching to something that uses a different part of our brain. Ideally, try not to work more than eight hours a day.
Try not to go more than seven days without a day off
We lose our ability to make quick, smart decisions when working too many days in a row. Ideally, you don’t want to work more than five without a day off.
Try to have two consecutive days off when you can
It can take a whole day just to wind down from the pressures of being responsible. Having two days off gives us more of a chance for our adrenaline to drop so we can switch off and regain balance.
Take annual leave. Don’t just take the pay out!
Annual leave is there for a reason - to ensure we get the rest we need and deserve, to make sure we maintain our health and relationships and to remind us to have a balanced life.
Make time for an interest outside of work
We need to be reminded that there is more to life than work. This gives us perspective which, among other things, enhances our ability to troubleshoot on the job.
If you can aim to improve just one of these, it can make a difference. If you were to improve all of these, it could transform your and your staff's ability to work efficiently. How many are you practicing?
Also see the 5 ways to wellbeing at work toolkit.
Ten signs of illness and burnout
Look out for these both in yourself and in your team.
- Continually tired and run down
- Often sick with colds, flus or tummy bugs
- Constantly irritable
- Quick and noticeable weight loss or weight gain
- Dependent on caffeine to get through the day (more than four caffeine drinks every day)
- Frequent arguing with friends, family and work colleagues
- Making self-degrading comments (e.g. I’m useless, I’m going nowhere, I can’t do anything right)
- Sudden change in mood, personality or behaviour which lasts for several weeks
- Lack of appetite
- Prolonged disinterest in jobs or things which once created engagement and satisfaction.
If you notice a number of these happening at once it's likely that one or more of the maintaining wellness tips above are not happening. Spend some time figuring out which one, or what combination, it is. When in doubt, take or give time off. Make or encourage good food choices and talk it out.
If you think someone is on their way to burnout or depression:
- Be on their side - let them talk!
- Show understanding and sympathy
- Don’t judge them
- Avoid offering advice
- Avoid making comparisons
- Don’t try to minimise their pain or act like it’s not a big deal
If you're worried someone may already be depressed:
- Encourage them to speaker to their health practitioner
- Encourage them to talk to someone about it - these numbers are good:
If you are worried someone is suicidal:
- Get professional help. Do everything you can to get a suicidal person the help her or she needs. Call a crisis line for advice and referrals. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility, or take them to a doctor’s appointment.
- These are the numbers to call: