It’s easy to get bogged down with Brexit, confused over party conferences or concerned about other global events at the moment, but when it comes down to it, as individuals, few things should be more important to us than our physical and mental wellbeing. Yet, how many of us push it to the brink or don’t take it seriously enough until it is too late? With this in mind I applaud Farmers Weekly’s latest campaign which focuses on this very topic. Fit2Farm is all about promoting better health and wellbeing among the farming community as well as highlighting the wider benefits of looking after ourselves.
Their research showed that the average farmer works for around 65 hours a week (compared to the UK national average of 37 hours). What’s more, that’s an average figure so some farmers work even longer hours than this. On top of that a lot of farmers struggle to find time to have a proper holiday or even the odd day off, which all has an impact on health. Lack of time contributes to stress and this can have a major impact on a farmer’s business as well as family life. It is vitally important to recognise this, as quality of life can drastically improve if steps are taken to do something about it.
Farmers Weekly also found that tiredness contributes to the high number of farm accidents and impacts on mental health issues within the industry. When lots of different factors come together, including being time poor, having a heavy workload and facing financial stress it is quality of life that suffers, including relationships and general health. Something that seems to particularly suffer is spending time with family and friends; something that people in other areas of work take for granted.
It is really important to get off farm and do something that is a non farming activity, or at least make time to do something different. That could be anything at all.
True, some jobs have to be done there and then or on a certain day or week, but a lot of tasks can be spread more widely. They don’t have to be done today. They can wait. It’s more important to look after yourself and make time for yourself.
I’ve had to learn the hard way that making time for yourself over and above work is vital for a healthy and happy life. Running, going to the gym, playing the piano, writing, walking the dog, making time to see friends, reading, listening to music – I’ve found all of these to be vitally important. If you abuse yourself you the clock is ticking until a problem occurs.
I look forward to reading more about this campaign and hope that it has an impact on lots of farmers out there. If you’re not fit in yourself, you’re not going to be able to run your business as well as you possibly can.
You can follow the campaign on Twitter at #Fit2Farm