Anne Lee

Dust off your running shoes, oil up the bike chain or find the paddle – whatever your favoured way of building up a sweat and getting the lungs pumping – get out there and do it, your mind and body will be all the better for it.

Ian Handcock from Fit4Farming and Target Focus had tips for farmers at SIDE on how to boost their sense of wellbeing, clear the mind, set goals, recover from burnout and boost energy.

Leading others is often a stress point for farmers and while there’s no I in TEAM, starting with yourself and being self-aware is the best way to get a positive team culture going.

When you’re self-aware you can catch yourself before your bad mood brings the conversation down and with it the mood of the team.

‘Your current fitness threshold is set to manage your day as it is – if you want more then you have to do more.’

Self-talk is a big player in the mind-set game so listen more carefully to what you’re telling yourself – be aware of it and turn it around by making positive self-talk a habit.

Having clarity of goals and expectations helps your sense of purpose – important for wellbeing – but it’s also important for your team so they know where they’re going.

To identify your goal, start out by more broadly asking what you are trying to achieve and why you want it.

Then break it down to a precise target and think about how you will feel when you achieve it, what you will have overcome to get there, who has helped you get there and what it will lead to?

Then draw a pathway to the target – see it, dream it and think about how you will deal with problems along the way.

Get support and feedback and be accountable to someone.

Ian talked with Southland sharemilker Michael Prankerd  on burnout and how important it is to read the signals, stop, look and listen to your body then find what works for you to help you recover.

Both Ian and Michael are big advocates of exercise and its proven positive impacts on mental health.

If you’re feeling slow and sluggish though and want more energy you have to work for it, Ian says.

“Your current fitness threshold is set to manage your day as it is – if you want more then you have to do more,” Ian says.

If you’re tired and lack energy your team will be the same.

“Your benchmarks will be lower than someone who is energetic so your team’s results will be lower.’

Raising your heart rate increases endorphins in the body, the mind becomes clearer, there’s a feel-good sensation, health improves and you have the ability to work longer and accomplish more.

It relieves stress and trains you to relax under pressure.

“Go for a run and feel your heartrate lift, learn to breathe through it. This alone can help you manage a crisis moment.”

Recovery too is a must, learning to let go and switch off. For many, exercise is how they do it but you must also be able to rest and have healthy sleep habits.

Nutrition too is key to a fit body and mental wellbeing. More and more studies are showing how directly they are linked.

Dehydration is often the culprit when feeling tired so be mindful of how much water you’re getting each day too.