Getting the balance right

Achieving a better balance between work and life off the farm, helped King Country sheep and beef farmer Wendy Coup beat burn out. “What I learnt is that when you completely identify with your job or business, it’s a very vulnerable place. You need to step back and nurture yourself at the same time as running a business.”

Here are Wendy’s top five tips for farming and living well

Time off

No-one is going to come and tell you to have time off on a farm. You have to prioritise it and make it happen yourself. I’ve deliberately grown my interests outside of farming to develop more balance in my life.

Managing fatigue

On a day-to-day basis we always have a sit-down lunch break at home or out on the farm. That gives you the rest time you need.

Staying connected

Because we live in isolated situations, I think you have to work quite hard at your friendships. You have to prioritise them so you can have time with friends who are important to you and who will support and affirm you.

Healthy thinking

When you’re farming it’s easy to get bogged down in just doing the next task. That’s why I like journaling three good moments I’ve had in my day. It could be something as simple as stopping the bike and sharing a moment with my dog. It helps you notice that we work in an amazing environment and that there is a lot of joy in life.


My tip would be to pick something you love doing that is going to be sustainable. I love getting out on my mountain bike. When my children were young I use to go running every morning, it was regular exercise and was achievable.

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