Harvest can be one of the busiest times of the year for farmers, ensuring you are physically fit for the season is important for your physical and mental wellbeing to endure this demanding time.
5 tips to boost your mental wellbeing this harvest
1. Communicate and connect
It is important to reach out to friends/family/neighbours during this demanding time and communicate how you are feeling. This can also help with feelings of isolation and loneliness. Communicating can be as simple as speaking to a neighbour every morning, sending a text or having a quick phone call with a family member.
2. Keep active
Keeping physically active will help boost your mental wellbeing. Check out the FarmWell ‘Farming Fit’ document on simple exercises here.
3. Maintain a balanced diet
Healthy eating will improve your mental and physical wellbeing, boosting your mood and making you feel more productive in the work you are doing. It is particularly important to maintain a balanced diet when working long hours on a tractor as the tendency to eat pre-made food is greater. Visit the FarmWell document on ‘Healthy Eating’ here to develop some good habits that will improve your eating and drinking habits.
Harvest time is a very busy period for arable farmers. Working long hours does not mean you do not have time to relax. Download a good podcast/audiobook on your phone and listen to it on your tractor whilst you are working. Ensure you are taking breaks throughout the day. Try not to have a working lunch, instead get off your tractor and pause for lunch.
SLEEP – sleep is so important and will make you feel so much more productive. There are much greater dangers associated with a lack of sleep and working on farm machinery than ‘just getting that last field harvested’. You will have a better perspective on things and your work if you have had enough sleep – decisions you make and your thought process at 8am in the morning will be very different to an impulsive decision at 8pm.
5. Manage your stress
It is important to accept that stress is normal, especially in a high pressure work environment. Then understanding how to identify the signs of stress, managing it, and minimising it is the first point of call that can be easily combated. Head over to the FarmWell document on ‘Identifying, Managing & Minimising stress’ here.
Practising safe care with your employees during harvest
- Health and Safety.
- Talk as a team, let your employees know you are there for them if they have concerns either about their work or about their mental wellbeing. Use group opportunities such as lunch breaks to discuss things as a team.
- Share the load! Do not allow your team to feel under too much pressure or have too much responsibility. Working together on things may improve the outcome.
- Working hours – It is unsustainable to work overtime on a daily basis. Ensure your employees are having regular breaks from work and stop to eat their lunch and dinner. You may need to employ extra members of staff during harvest time who are experienced in an arable harvest, this will take the pressure and strain off other team members as well as reducing the need to work overtime.
Harvest time can involve days sitting on a tractor, so understanding how you can stay healthy while sitting down for long periods of time is essential for a healthy mind and body.
Download our Fit for Harvest document here or download below.