NZ Rugby World




Farming, like profession­al sport, is a job with plenty of challenges. That’s why it’s important to look after yourself, says Farmstrong Ambassador Sam Whitelock.

I know from having grown up on a farm that farmers are great at looking after their stock and pasture but, sometimes, not so good at looking after themselves.

There’s always a to-do list as long as your arm on farm and there are only so many hours in a day. So when life gets really busy on farm having a strategy to manage workload and stress is vital. On a farm no-one is going to come and tell you to have time off. You have to prioritise your wellbeing and make it happen yourself.

Start Your ‘Wellbeing Bank Account’

I think of my wellbeing as a bit like a bank account. As we experience stressful situations and knock-backs in life, our natural supply of wellbeing can get depleted. These are the ‘withdrawal­s’ from our wellbeing account. If there are too many withdrawal­s, we can head into ‘overdraft’ which can make life very difficult.

Farmers have shared with us the sorts of things that make a dent in their ‘wellbeing account’: having too much to do, lack of sleep, not getting enough time off. There is also the pressure of things beyond their control, such as adverse weather events, changing market prices and regulation­s.

How you can invest in your wellbeing

The good news is if you ‘invest’ wisely and often into your wellbeing bank account, even with little amounts, you can counter these withdrawal­s and get big dividends over time.

Making small, regular ‘deposits’ means doing things that boost your energy levels, so you have something to draw on when you’re ‘under the pump’.

For example, one of the things I’m doing now is to plan a ten-minute slot into each day and say ‘this is my time’. I know it sounds funny taking time out when you’re busy to make your day more efficient, but it definitely does help you to think more clearly.

The Five Ways To Wellbeing

If you’re looking for quick ‘deposits’, the Five Ways to Wellbeing are a great place to start. The science of wellbeing says people who thrive tend to have five, simple habits in common:

• staying connected with mates

• keeping active

• enjoying the simple things in life

• learning new things to keep fresh

• giving back to the community.

I’m a big fan of the Five Ways.

They can make a huge difference to your life, whether you’re a farmer or a profession­al athlete. Adopting healthy habits has a positive, cumulative effect over time and makes you much more resilient. These are small habits that are easy to fit into even the busiest life.

For example, scheduling time to catch up with my mates to go hunting

or fishing, is one of my regular investment­s in my wellbeing.

Find Out What Works for You and ‘Lock It In’

Being Farmstrong is about finding what works best for you. It might be exercise, a hobby or a better roster. No one gets it right all the time, but if the intention’s there, you’re more likely to have a good day, than a bad one.

The Farmstrong website is well worth a visit. It has a ton of farmer-to-farmer ideas, resources and advice from content experts. Topics include: managing stress and pressure; getting a decent night’s sleep; putting the right ‘fuel in the tank’ by eating well, keeping ‘farm fit’ to avoid common niggles and strains and scheduling recovery time to prevent fatigue and burnout.

Live Well to Farm Well

When we’re really busy, the things that go out the window are often the things that keep us well and help us cope. So, make sure you eat well, get enough quality sleep, keep active and do the hobbies or activities you enjoy. Anything that boosts your mood and energy levels is a great investment that will help you get through busier periods.

Being Farmstrong Makes A Difference

It’s awesome hearing about the number of people that Farmstrong is touching and I know there are many more people out there we can help. Last year, more than 15,000 farmers directly attributed an improvemen­t in their wellbeing to Farmstrong.

Make your wellbeing a priority

In a busy job like farming it can be tempting to ignore your own wellbeing because so much needs to get done. In the long run, this is a false economy, because you’re neglecting the most important asset on the farm - you.

So, make wellbeing a business priority and invest in the habits that make people more resilient – catch up with your mates regularly, try learning something new, keep the body moving, enjoy the simple stuff in life and get involved in your local community.

Having a healthy wellbeing bank account is a win-win situation. There are real advantages in investing in what keeps you well. In the long run, it makes you more productive and helps you perform at your best, whether it’s on the rugby field or the farm.

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 ?? ?? Farmstrong ambassador Sam Whitelock visiting Geoff Spark’s dairy farm in Canterbury.
Farmstrong ambassador Sam Whitelock visiting Geoff Spark’s dairy farm in Canterbury.
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