Getting through busy times

Whether it’s on the farm or playing rugby, Farmstrong Ambassador Sam Whitelock has a few key things he does to help him get through busy times.

Sam told Farmstrong in a video interview in early August that it was a busy time for many farmers, but there were things you could do to help get through.

“It’s probably the most challenging time, too, depending on the farming system you’re in, but most people are either calving at the moment or about to go into it, same with lambing,” he says.

“The weather at this time of year can also be harsh which can make life challenging.”

Busy times as a kid

Sam grew up on a farm and remembers the busy times.

“Dad was always saying, ‘right come on let’s go out on the farm, help out where you can’.”

He says he and his siblings found it challenging but knew they had to help out.

“The pressure that was on mum and dad and the staff having a larger dairy farm, the challenges that are involved are massive.

“And when you’re calving big numbers in a small amount of days, you could see the pressure that was on. And, to dad’s credit, he really drove the enjoyment side of it and that’s probably why a couple of his sons are in farming.”

Fuel in the tank

Sam says he’s learnt through farming and rugby that you have to think about what you put into your body.

“Eating good food and having a lot of food, small and often, is a good way to do it, which keeps your energy levels up.”

Something as simple as taking a water bottle with you, even if it’s just for half an hour, is key, he says.

“As we know at this time of year, half an hour can turn into three or four hours pretty quickly so having a little bit of water there even though it’s cold, definitely keeps you in a good space.”

Mini breaks to keep fresh

Taking small breaks is a good way to recharge, adds Sam.

“Dad used to always have a little quick power nap… some days there wouldn’t be time for it but dad always tried to make sure he had the ability to take just a bit of time out even if it was just for a few minutes.”

“He’d take that opportunity to just stop, refresh and assess what needed to be done in the afternoon. Then once he’d decided, he was ready to go and he was right back into it.”

The importance of quality sleep

Sam says if he has lots of things in his head, writing them down before bed helps.

“Then I can go, “right I’ll deal with that tomorrow’.”

He also keeps his phone away from him leading up to bedtime to help get a good night’s sleep.

“When I get rid of my phone early in the night it definitely does help with the quality of sleep I have.”

Be wise and prioritise

When there’s a long list of things to juggle, prioritising is the first step.

“The first thing is working out what is a priority and is there something you can do that’s going to eliminate the other two or three things.”

Sam likens it to a rugby scrum.

“If your scrum’s not going very well, then your back attack’s not going very well… but if you sort your scrum out, nine out of 10 times it sorts your back attack out,” he says.

“So, what is the priority and where does it sit on the list? Or is it a nice to do, but not ‘a must do’ now?”

He says whether you have a small lifestyle block or 25,000 acres, there’s always something to be done, and not enough time to do it in.

“So you’ve got to work out what the key is, what the priority is, and what you can live with and then kind of work back from there.”

 Watch the full interview with Sam at

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