Stress and farming – coping tips

stress and farming, stress and your health

Living and working in rural Australia can be very rewarding. However, farming can also be stressful. There are the everyday issues of family life, balancing budgets, planning for the future and keeping up with developments in your area of farming. The added pressures of managing a farm during difficult times like extreme climatic events, market fluctuations or natural disaster can sometimes seem overwhelming. Social isolation and working long hours can make this harder to cope with.

Keeping yourself in a fit state to enjoy the good times is very important. Keeping yourself fit to weather the difficult times is even more important. A small amount of stress can help keep us motivated. However, persistent stress can result in distress.

Different people respond differently to potentially stressful situations. Be aware of some of the common effects of stress:

  • Poor sleep
  • Poor concentration, irritability,and anger
  • Increased drinking or smoking
  • Poor decision making, avoiding making decisions or forgetfulness
  • Changed appetite, not feeling well or nervousness
  • Feel like you are at the end of your tether

If you see or feel these signs, take notice and take action. Persistent stress can have a significant effect on your physical health and mental wellbeing. Find out how stress affects your body.

Some simple tips to help get you through tough times:

  • Eat healthy, nutritious food
  • Get adequate sleep and have a regular sleep routine
  • Keep physically active
  • Make time to get away from the farm
  • Find things to laugh about
  • Allow yourself time to do something you enjoy

You need to talk about it

While we know people in rural farming communities are very willing to volunteer help to others, many farmers, who are used to working things out for themselves, don’t want to share their problems. But, it’s really important that you talk to family or trusted friends about issues that are upsetting, stressful or difficult. You may be helping someone else as well if you open up and say how you feel.

Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

More information:
National Centre for Farmer Health
Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety
Better Health Channel
Centrelink – Department of Human Services
The Mental Health Network Blueprint (NSW)

Fast facts:

Stress and farming

  • Farming, particularly after difficult times like drought, bushfire and flood can be stressful.
  • Watch out for warning signs like irritability, sleeplessness, appetite loss and feeling like you can’t copy anymore.
  • Talk about your feelings, even if you’re used to sorting out your own problems, some things are really better being shared.


Last updated: 15th November, 2016