Taking care of yourself and others is to ensure a better chance of going home to our loved ones at the end of the day. By Harriet Bremner.

You are lying in bed awake, again. It has been like this for some time, maybe a year or more. It’s not just struggling to sleep that is the issue, it is struggling with life generally. Your head pounds as you lie there trying to breathe, trying to figure out how to survive another night alone, another day ahead.

What does the future hold for you now? Why won’t the back aches and the heartache stop? Why are you so short of breath and feel constantly nauseous? Why is life so unfair that life would do this to you? Why does everyone else get to be happy but you? Why is the spot in bed next to you empty, where there used to lie your best friend and soulmate?

Why does the dog whimper constantly and the kids cry all the time? Why am I not deserving of happiness? Why is it so hard to go out in public? Why does my mind feel like it’s stuck in a fog of unclarity? Where have my friends gone? Why is my house so empty? Why won’t the nightmares go away? Why did it happen to me? Why did he have to die?

These are just a few heartbreaking questions that you lie in bed and ask yourself after the loss of someone you love. This is minimal compared to how it actually feels and your mind and body are all consumed by the fierce grief and trauma that turns your world upside down when you face a life without the person you shared your life with. We huff and puff when we hear the words health and safety mentioned by someone, it could be your boss, a friend, a parent, or a colleague. We think that it will never happen to us, we think we are bulletproof… until it is too late.

Having been widowed at 28 years old I can assure you that health and safety is nothing to be sniffed at. The aftermath of losing someone in a farming accident is beyond describable and we seem to have forgotten that things like seatbelts and helmets are put there for us to be protected should the worst-case scenario happen and so we have a better chance at going home to our loved ones at the end of the day. This is who we do it for, this is who you should do it for. The people you love, who love you, who are waiting for you at the end of the day. Who are excited for you to walk through the door and greet them.

No one wants to be greeted by a policeman or emergency service person knocking on your door, taking their hat off to inform you of the horrible life-changing news or not your loved ones who have to be unlucky enough to find you in your resting place on the farm where a headline will later read “Gone too soon, farmer tragically killed on a farm”.

You need to stop and think about how many close calls you have had and what you are actually physically doing each day that is potentially going to put you into an early grave and your family into a devastating reality. What can you change to do better? What will help you make better, life-saving decisions when you are out on the farm?

Think of your family. It is nearly Christmas. A time when we have a lot on our plates from social occasions to work pressures and so it can be human nature to want to cut corners but you need to ‘slow down to speed up’. Not only is having an accident life-changing or life-ending but also costly and time-wasting.

Stop and think before you start a job, talk with your staff about how you are going to do this job in the best way possible that does not wreck gear and take lives and remind yourself and them that they treat every job with respect and remember who is waiting for them at home at the end of every single day.

Don’t let your family down by leaving this planet too soon, don’t let it be your headline in the paper or your partner’s speech at your funeral saying they wished they had had more time. Make the right decision and do this over and over again each day to ensure that you stay safe in the most practical way. Do it for them and go home alive at the end of every single day.