First Aid Tool

Five Ways to Wellbeing

Here is a practical tool to help you achieve a balanced emotional state and a fulfilling professional and personal life.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing  are universal  evidence-based  practical  steps that  can support  mental  health and wellbeing. Undoubtedly, it is  most important to maintain safe farming practices to reduce the risk of injury and untimely loss of life. Equally it is  just as  important to maintain wellbeing practices to reduce the risk of mental health challenges or mental illness. When a person’s mental health is compromised by stress and anxiety there is a greater risk of making mistakes and accidents may occur.  By looking after your quality of life, there are less risk of farm accidents, mental health challenges and   

The following  reflections on the Five Ways to Wellbeing provides you with an opportunity to explore how best you can use them and create your own action plan.

You can also check the Five Ways to Wellbeing adapted to different topics of interest for the farming sector in the Prevention Tools we have developed.

Remember ‘Your health is your wealth’.

Social interaction and feeling valued by other people are fundamental human needs. Combined they contribute to wellbeing and indeed can be cushions against isolation. Research shows that people with strong social connections are happier, healthier, and live longer. Because of the nature of farming, long hours, demanding situations, and unexpected life events both on and off the farm , It  can be difficult to form regular social connections, so it may be necessary to claim time  to get out to socialise that best suits your needs. A couple of suggestions include arranging to go for a cup of tea, a walk and a chat with a neighbour,  perhaps consider volunteering  in your local community which is an excellent way of networking.

There are also benefits to giving support to and getting support from other people with similar experiences.

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety. It promotes both  physical and mental  health and  well-being. It may appear ironic to make such a suggestion to farmers given the physical demands level associated with farming practices. One useful way in terms of farming might be to consider abandoning the quad occasionally and get in a swift walk. It is well established that that planned exercise releases endorphins that can make a person feel more alert, more energised, and able to cope with challenges. Clearly this increased energy is very important, your awareness is increased which is beneficial in terms of reducing farm accidents that may occur due to lack of concentration.

Another suggestion  is to create off farm activity , such as joining a cycle club, join a football team, seek out indoor activities that are organised by your Local Sports Partnerships.

Undertake an activity that you enjoy and do at your own pace to reap the benefits. The message really is, to make physical activity a regular habit, as it can be a game changer in lifting your mood from a low spot to a better place.

Take notice of how you are feeling both physically and mentally. It is understood that farming is a very busy  way of life irrespective of the farming  focus – cattle, sheep , horses , dairying, tillage and so on. When a farmer is busy there is a risk of physical and mental overload creating a  risk of physical exhaustion and burnout . The most practical thing to do to reduce such clutter, is to  stop, pause, collect your thoughts by being aware of the generous  nature around you, the sound of animals grazing , birds,  the beauty of the trees that line your land – giving yourself these few random moments of self-care can help you feel calm and in control. Making such moments for yourself  and focusing on the task in hand rather than what  has to be done  yet or something that did not go according to plan  can also reduce the risk of incurring an accident. Unfortunately, and sadly  farm accidents regularly occur because of being stressed and in a hurry to get something done. Is it worth the risk?

Being interested in all sorts of matters on and off the farm is good for the mind. Learning about new ways of farming keeps the mind active and  motivated. There is no evidence to show that “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks”  quite the opposite! The more we keep our brains stimulated  the more we thrive no matter the age! It is important for self-esteem to embrace new opportunities and experiences. Check out your local Education Training Board and see  what they have on offer. Joining in  with adults also provides the opportunity to develop new friends and to socialise. Local libraries are also a wealth of information and offer community talks on all kinds of matters.

Give and giving while important are beneficial and can make  you feel better with the acknowledgment and sharing of gratitude. It is very  commendable when your time, words, and deeds benefit others. It is like an emotional endorphin that  creates positive feelings  and energises you. It can be connecting with a neighbour that is struggling, listening, and offering the hand of friendship.

However, once again take a moment out, pause to think about your own needs and give yourself some personal quality time. It is not a selfish thing to do.

Our Final Words of Advice!

International research found that people who thrive have five things in common. They feel connected with others, take notice of the simple things, give regularly, keep learning and are physically active.

By embracing these  five ways  can make a massive difference to your quality of life and most importantly contribute to safe farming practices. They are five keys that you can unlock every day in small meaningful ways that will benefit you and the people in your life. As mentioned at the outset they are evidenced based, people who integrate them as a daily habit thrive. Why? Because you  can feel connected with others by making the effort, paying attention to being active, taking notice  of your self-care needs and learning about  development opportunities around you and the support  available when struggling  , when you  give regularly to others and  yourself, it helps to feel connected and to feel good about yourself. Applying these Five Ways in your daily life provide you with an opportunity for self-compassion and in better form to handle struggles when necessary.