Men’s Health Week – Live Well to Farm Well

Farmstrong helps farmers and growers to cope with the ups and downs of farming. It shares the things farmers can do to look after themselves and the people in their business so they stay on top of their game. Here’s a few tips from Farmstrong Ambassador Sam Whitelock.

What I like about Farmstrong is that it’s been shaped by farmers for farmers so it’s very practical. It’s based on the experience of farmers who know what it takes to build resilience and keep well. And it works. Last year, more than 15,000 farmers directly attributed an improvement in their wellbeing to Farmstrong.

Make wellbeing a priority

Men’s health week is a good chance to ‘lock in’ what’s going to work for you on the health front. In a busy job like farming it can be tempting to ignore your own wellbeing because so much needs to get done. In the long run, this is a false economy, because you’re neglecting the most important asset on the farm – you.

 Know Your Numbers

Often farmers are great at knowing their numbers around pasture, machinery and stock, but not so good at knowing their own vital statistics. Booking a ‘WOF’ health check with your GP is a good way to keep track of the numbers for your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk. Talk to your doctor about how often you should get a check-up.  If it’s annually, time it with your birthday so you remember to do it.

 Check Your Skin

Working outdoors can be unforgiving. Remember to check your skin every three months and see your doctor if you notice a new lesion, mole or freckle that’s changed. If you’re fair skinned, spend a lot of time outdoors, have a lot of moles, or there is a family history of skin cancer, talk to your doctor about whether you need to have regular skin checks.

Invest in Your Wellbeing

Any farmer reading this will be familiar with the sorts of things that make a dent in their wellbeing: having too much to do, lack of sleep, not getting enough time off, the pressure of things beyond their control like adverse weather and prices.

The good news is if you ‘invest’ wisely and often into your wellbeing bank account, you can counter these ‘withdrawals’. The science of wellbeing says people who thrive tend to have five, simple habits in common:

  • staying connected with mates
  • keeping active
  • enjoying the simple things in life
  • learning new things to keep fresh
  • giving back to the community.

These are habits are easy to fit into even the busiest life. Whether you’re a farmer or a professional athlete, they can make a huge difference to your wellbeing and performance.

Adopting healthy habits has a positive, cumulative effect over time and makes you much more resilient when you’re ‘under the pump’.

Find Out What Works for You and ‘Lock It In’

Being Farmstrong is about finding what works best for you. It might be more exercise, a new hobby, more ‘fuel in the tank’, better hydration or a roster that allows more recovery time off-farm. Anything that boosts your mood and energy levels is a great investment that will help you get through busier periods.

When we’re really busy, the things that go out the window are often the things that keep us well and help us cope. So, don’t neglect the basics – make sure you eat well, get enough quality sleep and keep ‘farm-fit’ for the physical demands of the job.

If you’re looking for further inspiration check out the Farmstrong website. It has a ton of farmer-to-farmer stories as well as advice from content experts on topics such as managing stress, avoiding burn out, helpful thinking strategies, nutrition, farm fitness and sleep.

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