Mindfulness in the time of Covid

We planned for our Special Report for the month of December to be all about Mindfulness, thinking that would be a good lead into summer and helpful after a busy spring period on the farm.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

But throwing around ideas among the team, discussion pretty soon all came back to Covid-19 – the omnipresence of it in the news, the fatigue surrounding it, the issues playing out in the country with to vax or not to vax, the misinformation and anger in some circles and the fact that until now we have been relatively isolated and safe from it, in the provinces and onfarm. But times are changing.

So added to the public health response in these unusual, pandemic times, we thought the best way to bring you some mindfulness peace and absence of worry would be to cover what you need to know on the farm – what happens if Covid hits one of your team, how to prepare for it, how to encourage your team to keep themselves and their families safe by vaccinating, and how to deal with those who are not keen, or very anti.

We have comments from well-prepped farmers, corporate farmers, employment lawyers and HR specialists and policy makers – along with how to avoid the overwhelm and weather the Covid storm.

While my generation and younger haven’t encountered a pandemic before, my mother arrived in New Zealand as a child after the war in the middle of a wave of the polio epidemic and had to shelter on an island for many months until it passed.

Older folk will remember family members who were taken by the Spanish flu, after World War I, when 9000 people died in NZ over a couple of months.

We are lucky to have the modern vaccination technology and a government able to afford to roll it out for us, so we can protect those who are too young or have a compromised immune system.

While it seems that this pandemic has been going on for a long time now, this too will pass if we stay the course and do all we can to protect ourselves, our families and our businesses onfarm.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, the payout is cranking and farmers are facing making decisions about how to spend extra income – a great problem to have! Phil Edmonds looks into the issue and gets the sense it’ll be invested into sustainability and resilience initiatives rather than new machinery or expanding the farm. (pg14)

Our thoughts and sympathies are with John Luxton’s family, noting his passing this week. John worked tirelessly for many years for the good of the industry.

I hope you get the chance to have a mindful and relaxing break with family over the festive season, even if it’s a staycation!

Jackie Harrigan