|Samaritans: 0800 726 666|
|Depression helpline: 0800 111 757|
|Lifeline: 0800 543 354|
|Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254|
When we're tired, distracted, sick or burnt out, we struggle to make good decisions and to treat people well.
Stress is not a bad thing, neither is being busy. Both are part of living an active, healthy life. But when we are stressed and busy for too long, it becomes detrimental, not just to our health but to farm efficiency and productivity. Making sure you keep yourself well rested and balanced is good for you as well as the team around you.
Tips to maintaining wellness
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?
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.
Limit the amount of highly processed foods you consume 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.
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.
Have someone you can talk freely to 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.
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.
Also see the 5 ways to wellbeing at work toolkit.
Ten signs of illness and burnout to look out for
Look out for these both in yourself and in your team...
Be especially aware if you notice a number of these happening at once.
1. Continually tired and run down
2. Often sick with colds, flus or tummy bugs
3. Constantly irritable
4. Quick and noticeable weight loss or weight gain
5. Dependent on caffeine to get through the day (more than four caffeine drinks every day)
6. Frequent arguing with friends, family and work colleagues
7. Making self-degrading comments (e.g. I’m useless, I’m going nowhere, I can’t do anything right)
8. Sudden change in mood, personality or behaviour which lasts for several weeks
9. Lack of appetite
10. Prolonged disinterest in jobs or things which once created engagement and satisfaction.
What to do if you notice these signs in yourself or a team member:
It's likely that one or more of the "eight tips to maintaining wellness" 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.
For more information contact
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:
- Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254
- Depression helpline - 0800 111 757
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:
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666
- Lifeline - 0800 543 354
This programme is funded by the Primary Growth Partnership