Connections to family, friends and community can overcome the isolation of farming.
People need people. Whether we are farmers or city-dwellers, we all need to feel connected with family, friends, neighbours and the local community.
Research shows that people with strong social connections are happier, healthier and live longer. Building and maintaining relationships is great for our sense of wellbeing.
Chris Peterson, one of the founders of positive psychology, puts it simply: “Other people matter”. When you take the time to develop your relationships and build connections with others, you feel more positive and better-equipped to deal with the ups and downs of life.
What’s this got to do with farming?
The everyday demands of farming can leave little time for socialising, however a recent online survey of New Zealand farmers highlighted a very practical requirement for better connections and support. When farmers were asked how they could get a break from the farm – a big issue for half of those surveyed – most said they would need to get help from neighbours, families or friends.
Did you know?
- Not having close ties to other people poses the same level of health risk as smoking or obesity
- Having a network of social connections or high levels of social support appears to increase immunity to infection, lower the risk of heart disease and reduce the mental decline that comes with age
- People with friends that they can talk to honestly are less likely to experience sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem and problems with eating and sleeping