According to a recent report, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem each year. For those in rural and farming communities, hard work and long hours (an average of 65 working hours a week) and having to often work alone can take their toll. Add to this the unpredictable nature of farming, financial pressures and the uncertainty that Brexit brings, it’s easy to see why many in the sector feel stressed and under pressure.
Stress can threaten our mental health and general wellbeing. In the same way that we take exercise to look after our physical health, it’s important to consider the steps we can all take to look after our mental health too. Here are some simple suggestions to promote better mental wellbeing:
Make time to talk
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.
Exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good and regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. Exercise also keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy. Experts recommend that we should do about 30 minutes’ exercise at least five days a week.
Take a break
A change of scene is good for your mental health. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’. Taking a break may mean being very active or it might mean not doing very much at all. Try taking the dog for a walk, a cup of tea with a friend or just putting your feet up.
There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel, for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect. But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health
Ask for help
None of us are superhuman. We all get tired sometimes or overwhelmed by how we feel. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.
Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. Local services are also there to help you. Alternatively, speak to your GP. Over a third of visits to GPs are about mental health.
There are also lots of great organisations who offer support and useful resources available:
- Farming Community Network – www.fcn.org.uk
- Mind – www.mind.org.uk
- Samaritans – www.samaritans.org
- Mental Health Foundation – www.mentalhealth.org.uk
- Together for mental wellbeing – www.together-uk.org
Taking positive steps to look after your wellbeing can help you deal with pressure, and reduce the impact that stress has upon your life.
If you want to find out more about ways you can support your overall health and wellbeing, speak to a member of the CLA Healthcare team.