A mental health element is a welcomed inclusion to this year’s Farm Safety Week campaign.
All week we have been highlighting farm safety tips in the hopes of raising awareness and reducing the number of accidents on Irish farms. Farmers should consider their mental wellbeing in just the same way as the physical hazards on the farm.
The demands and difficulties of farming these days are plentiful - be they financial pressures, unpredictable weather, rising costs, long hours, feelings of isolation, to name but a few. All of which can cause pressure for the farming community and can lead to issues with a farmer’s mental wellbeing.
Many farmers never stop to consider the consequences, or to take seriously the outcomes of poor mental health. They tend to focus more on their business and their animals than their own wellbeing.
“Farming is becoming an increasingly competitive and innovative industry, therefore the pressures to succeed with business have increased, leading to higher stress levels and tension for farmers,” highlighted Keith Morrison of the Farm Safety Partnership this week.
Many factors that influence a farm’s viability are out of a farmer’s control. Often, these issues which cannot be controlled are what cause the most stress. Caroline Farrell of the Irish Farmers’ Association highlights the importance of learning how to manage stress and to accept the things that are outside of their control.
Tips for managing Stress
A relentless build-up of pressure, without the opportunity to recover, can lead to harmful stress. The HSA have outlined 10 stress-busting tips that will help improve your quality of life and make your farm a safer place.
- Get it all off your chest: ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’. Simply talking to someone you trust can really help;
- Accept the things you cannot change: Focus your attention and energy on the things that you can do and that you have control over;
- Get enough sleep: Rest is important to revitalise your body and mind;
- Take things one step at a time: Be aware of negative thoughts and try to focus on the positive.
- Work it off: Doing exercise gives you energy and makes you feel better;
- Take time to relax: Make time for yourself. Do something you enjoy such as watching the GAA, listening to music or reading;
- Prioritise: Review how you organise your time. Prioritise tasks, make lists and reward yourself for doing them;
- Be assertive: Don’t try to please everybody. Learn to say ‘no’;
- Eat healthy: Eat fruit and vegetables and drinks lots of water. Cut down on eating foods that are high in fats, sugars and salt;
- Keep your mind active: Playing cards, doing quizzes or crosswords etc.