Footgolf, timeout and compliments help young farmer

When young Morrinsville farmer Jaiden Evans gets home from work each night, he kicks off his boots and thinks about a couple of things that went well during the day.

“It doesn’t have to be anything huge, even if it’s just a couple of little things that went well or that I got done. It’s about complimenting myself each day. Then I think about what I want to work on the next day,” says Jaiden.

That’s just one of several things the 21-year-old herd manager and father of two does to help stay positive and look after his wellbeing.

He’s also a massive advocate of getting off the farm he’s worked on for the past five years and having a break.

“I like to go hunting, fishing and camping. Me and my boss do things together like playing footgolf (a combination of football and golf), which gets us off the farm and helps take our minds off work stuff,” he says.

“It’s important not to go home on a bad note and start the next day on a bad note.”

Family-feel key

The farm’s owner also offers up his bach for use whenever Jaiden feels mentally drained.

“I really enjoy my job and everybody on the farm feels like family which makes a big difference to how I feel.”

Jaiden is also close to his dad, who he can talk to if he’s feeling stressed out.

One of the biggest challenges for Jaiden as a young farmer is having to turn down invites to go out from his mates.

“Because I’m so young, my friends in town want to go out to the pub a lot and I have a lot of responsibilities so I can’t always go. Having your first child at 16 makes you grow up fast,” he says.

“Making big work decisions can also be challenging because of my age.”

Mental “re-set” before calving

Jaiden’s boss took him fishing before calving recently for a “mental re-set”.

“It was great to go and have a bit of fun and get mentally prepared for calving. It really helped because when I have a bad day, I can think back to that good time fishing and feel better.”

Jaiden says everybody on the farm makes a habit of asking how each other is doing in the morning.

“We don’t just say ‘good morning’ and launch into work stuff. We ask each other ‘how are you?’ and if something’s bothering you, then you can share if you want to,” he says.

“If you talk about how you’re feeling, it doesn’t mean you’re not a man.”

Jaiden, who doesn’t drink or smoke, also makes sure he gets enough sleep and eats a healthy, balanced diet.

“I also like to play with the kids to release tension.”

Jaiden tries to take each day as it comes and tries not to worry about the little things.

“If it all gets too much, step back and take a deep breath. Tomorrow is always another day.”

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