Stress, can affect many body functions. A little stress can keep you on our toes and help you get things done, but when stress is persistent and leaves you feeling like you can’t cope, it’s probably doing damage somewhere. Stress is also a factor in many farm accidents.
Farm life is busy, hectic and often stressful. Stress can be caused by everyday issues like balancing budgets, dealing with machinery breakdowns, family pressures or managing difficult farm animals. Bushfires, droughts and floods can be even more stressful.
Everyone reacts differently to stress. Learn to pick up your stress triggers and have coping skills ready to use.
- Talk to yourself – instead of getting annoyed and irritable when things go wrong, tell yourself you won’t let this get to you. Try it, it works. Talk out loud – out on the farm, who’s going to hear you?
- Talk to your friends – chances are you’re not the only one who feels the way you do, and talking may help you find solutions you hadn’t thought of on your own.
- Talk to a professional – if you feel you can’t cope, talk to an expert, if there are not many services in your area, or you’d prefer something more private, there are confidential phone lines and online services you can use.
- Talk to your pet – they are always pleased to see you and great listeners!
- Write a list – sometimes thinking of all the jobs you need to do can seem overwhelming. Writing a list and prioritising tasks can increase your sense of control. Make sure you tick off items as you achieve them!
- Don’t avoid making decisions – seek information and make decisions early to ensure you have options in difficult times.
You need to look after yourself, it’s part of looking after your farm.
Some key things to reduce stress and improve your health include:
- Get adequate sleep
- Eat healthy meals
- Take time to do something you enjoy
- Take time away from the farm
- Remain involved in your community
- Find things to laugh about
References used for this topic page
Hints to avoid harmful stress [PDF 55kb]
Happiness [PDF 146kb]
The mental health of people on Australian farms [PDF 1.1mb]
Last updated: 13th May, 2016