Many farmers experience a great deal of stress every day. Not only do they work long hours, but they must do so in all weather conditions while managing livestock well-being, financial woes, machinery breakdowns, and isolation.
While many farmers wouldn’t trade their lifestyle for any other, there’s value in taking proactive steps to manage their wellness to ensure they can keep looking after their farm to the best of their ability. If you’re a farmer worried about illness, burnout, and general dissatisfaction, you might benefit from taking the following actions.
Improve Your Sleep
Getting enough sleep can be a significant concern for farmers who perform quite labor-intensive tasks. The more rest you get, the more energy you might have to complete your essential daily errands.
Using natural products from leading manufacturers and suppliers like Joy Organics might allow you to relax in the evening after a hard day of work so that you can drift off to sleep at a reasonable hour and achieve the recommended seven-plus hours before starting a new day.
Life on the farm gets busy, and you don’t always have time to prepare nutritious and delicious meals that sustain you for a full day of work. It can be tempting to skip meals or eat sugary snacks to feel full, but you may not be giving your body the fuel it needs to function at its best.
Where possible, adopt the ‘cook once, eat twice’ strategy. This involves preparing one dish that creates at least two meals, allowing you to save time while still ensuring your body gets the nutrients it needs. Prepare well-balanced meals with protein, carbohydrates, and colorful vegetables that provide slow-release energy and that you can consume for lunch or dinner.
It’s easy to assume that every farmer is fit and healthy after working the land every day. However, fitness comes from achieving an elevated heart rate, and not all farmers are pacing their paddocks at high speeds to improve their fitness.
With the advent of motorbikes and other farm vehicles, you may even find that you’re spending very little time on your feet. If you don’t believe you’re at the peak of physical fitness, consider swapping some of those motorbike trips for walking and get your heart racing.
As soon as you finish one job on the farm, there’s always another to take its place. It becomes easy to spend every day from dusk until dawn taking care of stock, fences, and any number of other tasks that limit your break-taking opportunities.
Breaks can be vital for gathering your thoughts, refreshing your mind, and providing clarity. Even when your to-do list is full, take a moment to sit down and be in the moment so that you can be in the best headspace to tackle what comes next.
The average livestock farmer in Australia will work upwards of 50 hours per week in all weather conditions. Those average hours might increase exponentially during busy periods like sowing and harvesting. You might be more than happy working on your own, managing your own farm, but there can be a genuine risk of burnout when you don’t have anyone to share the load with.
Hiring help can be crucial for establishing a better work-life balance and ensuring you’ve always got someone to rely on during busy spells and when you’re unwell or unable to tackle specific tasks. As challenging as giving up a small amount of control might be, having a trusted staff member might provide more value than you think.
Share Your Feelings
Every farmer goes through challenging times, even though it can sometimes feel like you’re alone in your battles. Whenever you’re facing something particularly tough, consider sharing it with someone you trust rather than bottling it up inside. While the person you share with might not be able to solve your problem, they can be a listening ear and someone that makes you realize that you’re not alone.
If you don’t have a trusted friend or family member and have mental health-related concerns, seek help from a professional support network or your GP. There are now plenty of rural support service providers available to help farmers combat a range of mental health problems related to isolation, remoteness, ill health, and more.
It’s easy to assume that being outside in nature and being able to work flexible hours allows the average Australian farmer to be happy, healthy, and content. However, any number of situations can see wellness fall by the wayside. If you haven’t been prioritizing your health and wellbeing, consider putting yourself first by taking some of these actions above.
If you are interested in even more lifestyle-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.