Anxiety and depression are common in farming communities year round; however, it is no surprise that it can also be very seasonal. During hay, harvest, and seeding farmers spend endless hours alone, in a tractor, with just their thoughts (negative or positive.)
It is absolutely crucial that we are asking our friends and family members how they are doing, and how they are feeling because you never know what their answer may be.
Today is R U Okay Day, and this week was the beginning of hay cutting for many, which will quickly roll into harvest.
With mental health at the forefront of our minds we have come up with a few ideas to help you pass the time with a positive head-space:
- Listen to the Radio. We would love to tell you which one, but let’s be real, just listen to the clearest!
- Pack your AUX cord. When the radio starts to get repetitive and you can no longer handle the headbangers or love ballads, make the switch to your own music. We suggest getting Spotify Premium so you can play any playlist, anytime.
- Get amongst some audio books or podcasts. These are huge at the moment, and there are so many good ones getting around.
- Check your posture. Sitting for such a long period of time will do nothing but create bad habits in your posture. When you start to notice it happen take a minute to stretch out (even if you do look like a giraffe in a porta-loo). Bringing a tennis ball in the cab to put behind your back will also help loosen up those muscles.
- Kick off your boots – get comfy!
- Pre-pack your thermos, so when morning tea time arrives you have a nice hot cuppa to comfort you and the crops. NOTE: Try to avoid eating and drinking all things before 10 am.
- Keep your cab clean. A clean space always makes for a better attitude. Keep wet wipes handy and eliminate the dust.
- Make a phone call, or invite a friend! Human interaction really isn’t a bad thing. See who wants to join you for an hour or two, or call a friend/family member you haven’t spoken to in a while (that is, if you have service).
- Download some boredom buster apps. Games such as Timberman, Tetris Blitz, and Quiz Up are great for passing time without clogging up your mind.
- Plan a holiday! Sure your harvest may not be going to plan, but think about the next time you and your mates or family can get away for a weekend of fishing or R&R.
We hope that this list can encourage you to get off social media, sit back and enjoy your time in the paddock with nothing but positive thoughts.
Everyday 8 Australians die from suicide, today (and every other day) is a great day to ask your mates how they’re going. So be a mate, and check on your mates.
“For those making a living from the land, there is some evidence to suggest that the farm environment is hazardous to mental health, with farmers experiencing high rates of stress and depression. In Australia, male farmers die by suicide at rates significantly higher than the general population and non-farming rural males.” – Mendoza J, Rosenberg S. (2010)