Our Mental Health & Wellbeing and Dealing with Difficult Times
With the latest challenges facing farmers and agribusiness around the break to the season (or lack of it!!) and lack of early winter rain, it is easy to start blaming ourselves. Men struggle because we think we are failing, rather than battling issues beyond our making and/or control. It is normal that we may question our ability to be a good farmer and/or in another context to be a good bloke.
As human beings, when we become aware that we are facing new, serious and unexpected challenges our response is to either ignore them, hoping they are an apparition, or we go to the other extreme and visualize the worst possible outcomes. Is this a normal response to an abnormal event? While both these positions are legitimate, depending on your personality type, the reality of the situation and the solution to the challenge is somewhere in between.
I believe there are several things that can be done to help us deal with the difficult times we are facing right now (lack of opening rains) in a positive way to protect our mental health and wellbeing. These points can also be used for any contextual issue we may be facing in our lives.
- Keep a positive personal attitude. Recognise your ability as a good farmer (or in another context, a good bloke) who made the right decisions with the information you had at the time.
- Talk to whoever needs to be informed about your situation. This includes family, business partners, financiers and advisors.
- Look for realistic solutions, not someone to blame. These problems have caught most people off guard and unprepared.
- Don’t panic or over-react. Most challenges take a little time to unfold and hasty decisions can create additional problems.
- Start to consider your options. As you consider your alternatives keep those affected in the loop.
- Consider this as a challenge more than a problem. When things are problems we usually think negatively when they are challenges we think positively.
In life, we have many experiences that require us to use our best judgment, based on the knowledge we have, to ascertain the best way forward. If we are well informed it is easier to respond. This is always helped by increasing communication by both talking with and listening to all concerned in the challenges facing us. Down the track with the benefit of hindsight we are able to test the wisdom or our responses.
Primary Care is what we can do to look after ourselves and to look out for others.
- Talk to a mate – realise you are not alone
- Keep an eye out for others – drop into a neighbour and have a chat and a coffee.
- Most importantly look after yourself. You are ultimately responsible for your own health and wellbeing.