Managing the pressures of farming
Farmers in NSW are facing increased pressure from heavy debts, dependence on good weather and markets, fatigue, working alone and not having the time to work on problems or relationships.
Add to that the swift changes with technology, the economy and government requirements, and you’ve got a high pressure job.
Stress can affect your physical, mental and emotional ability to cope in situations that are important on the farm. It can easily distract farmers, leading to more mistakes and ultimately more injuries.
It can also affect your health. Stress is a known contributor to illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and immune system disruption. In worst case scenarios it can lead to depression and suicide.
There are some important things to consider when dealing with stress. Here are some tips that could help you or others on your farm reduce stress.
Plan ahead to make life easier for yourself:
We are all aware that workloads are increasing for farmers. But you can do little things that make a big difference.Plan ahead by buying the right equipment for the job and have regular maintenance regimes for your equipment. Try to keep abreast of new technology and industry practices. You can also make life easier by making sure you have good systems in place for record keeping and resource management.
Take care of yourself:
Make sure you eat well, get some exercise and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Even small things like trying to maintain a sense of humour can help. It’s also important to spend time with your family and friends, maintain your social networks, and find time to do things you enjoy doing.
Talking to someone, whether it’s a friend, family member or mental health professional can help to relieve stress. Research the services that are available in your area to help to cope with the effects of stress and depression. Having a well thought out plan to manage the type of seasonal and financial challenges faced by farmers is essential. So too is a backup plan that you have discussed with your family and friends (and your financial institution).
Don’t be afraid to ask for a hand. Help is close by for all farmers.