Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Preparing to look after Australian Farmers during summer. #harvest #selfcare #mentalhealth

The temperature is up by 10 degrees and this is causing the crops to turn early. We hear that we have had a shower of rain across the farm while dropping the girls back to boarding school and that is great news. So here we go, the busy end of the year begins. We hire some help to get the fencing finished as Howard runs about collecting machinery parts and doing any final maintenance before harvest. The hay will be cut this week in preparation for baling.

I call and look at our options for locking in some wheat under contract, as the price is pretty good, then write out the invoices and do some filing. At the same time the washing goes on, the house gets a vacuum and I plan a nice dinner. Brooke sends me a text from school and isn’t feeling to well, after a fall from a motorbike a few days ago. I will pick her up from school early today. Never a dull moment!

As harvest approaches there has been a lot of information this week about mental health and a man spoke so candidly on the radio yesterday about his experience of depression. It is a reminder for us all to look out for each other at all times, especially during the long hours of harvest. Another man spoke on the television this morning about the impact stress had on his mental health and his message was for us all to look after ourselves.

So my tips for self care during harvest are –

1.     Eat well, really well. Don’t skip meals and drink lots of water no matter what. This will help energy levels and overall health. When we are busy it can feel easier to snack and eat quickly, so get organized before the rush. Plan highly nutritious meals, get the lunch box ready and put the cooler blocks in the freezer so you can keep your food nice a cold. Take water out with you every day.
2.     Try to have rest times during the day, even if it just a stretch by the tractor and a look around, take a deep breath and have a change of radio station to some good music. When tension builds in the body it is tiring and your not going to work as efficiently as you can.
3.     Sleep well – it is very challenging to sleep when there is a lot to do and a lot on your mind. Take an hour before bed to unwind. Television is not always the best option as it keeps the mind very active and isn’t always positive. Soften the lights, get out a good book and start to relax. Ideally you could try a deep relaxation, perhaps downloading a guided relaxation to settle your whole nervous system before bed.
4.     Change a habit that isn’t working as quick as you can. Watch how you feel when you look after yourself compared to the days when you let worry wear you down or you don’t stop to eat a good meal.
5.     Farming throws good years at us and at other times it feels like one challenge after another. If things are getting you down, ask for help.  Get the information you need now and think about how you might handle your next challenge in a new way.
6.     So you are eating well, hydrated, resting well, working efficiently and feeling good, having a stretch and a walk when you can, calling a friend if your feeling alone or needing inspiration, there is one thing left to do. …
Set your intention for the day…perhaps to be mindful (taking in the detail in the day) or to be thoughtful, patient, cheerful, accepting, organized or grateful. Give your day a theme, just for you and see the difference it makes.

I wish everyone a wonderful harvest and remember to reach out if at times it all feels too hard. There is information and help out there and lots of people who care very much that you are ok, even if you don’t know them yet. Keep moving forward and notice the little things, that are really the big things…like that full moon last night, turning red, as the earth shadowed it. It was lovely to watch the stunning lunar eclipse, a big reminder that there is so much going on out there worthy of our attention.  

#I have attached some photos from our local Bribbaree show which was so much fun, Howard checking the crops..again and the flowers starting to appear in our garden - no champion bloom of the Bribbaree show this year, the roses have arrived a few days too late for entry!   

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