Avoid burnout on the farm

Jude McCann
Jude McCann

Farming is often a highly pressured, seven days a week job, with little or no time away from the job.

Farmers typically spend long hours working sometimes in isolation with little or no contact with others and it’s common for farmers to work entire days and not speak to anyone.

If you are under pressure and experiencing isolation, it can lead to feelings of increased loneliness or stress and this can allow for mental health problems to fester. The fact too that farmers are dealing with uncertain times and circumstances which are often outside of their control such as Brexit, market prices, risk of animal disease and unpredictable weather conditions can lead to increased pressures.

These pressures and lone working can sometimes lead to burnout. Rural Support urges farmers to follow some of these simple suggestions which can help with work/life balance and help to avoid burnout:

Stick to a schedule. Although farming can be largely unpredictable with many unexpected issues occurring throughout the day, it helps to have a schedule for the day’s tasks ahead of time. Having this schedule in place allows for you to plan for the rest of your day around your obligations to the farm, whilst allowing you to deal with any arising issues that may occur. The benefit of having a schedule in place will also allow you to prioritise some free-time throughout the day.

Self-Care. Self-Care is a very important task that can help avoid burnout, whatever your job may be. Self-care looks different for everybody and can range from going out for a walk, watching some of your favourite TV shows or socialising with family and friends. Implementing self-care into your daily routine will reduce burnout on your farm, and in turn, increase productivity.

Ask for help. If you feel that you are feeling ‘burned out’ from the farm, talk to somebody, whether that be a family member, a friend, GP or call the Rural Support helpline. Sometimes, just talking about the issue can help to alleviate some of the burdens that can lead to burnout.

Rural Support Chief Executive, Jude McCann says: “Farmers are often feeling both physically and mentally exhausted due to the pressures of running their business. Farming is a highly pressurised job, but at certain times of the year, this pressure can rapidly increase due to extreme weather conditions, disease outbreaks such as TB or meeting deadlines for suppliers. This increase in pressure can often lead to farmers trying to work extra hours which sometimes leads to burnout. I urge all farmers to try and implement at least one of these strategies into their day-to-day lives in the hope of reducing burnout among farmers.”

Rural Support will be attending local agricultural shows throughout the summer months. If you are attending, please feel free to come to the stands to speak to staff and volunteers about charity, the services for the farming community and volunteering opportunities:

q Saturday 14th July: Castlewellan Show at Castlewellan Forest Park

q Saturday 21st July: Limavady Show at Aghaloo

q Wednesday 25th July: Clogher Valley Show at Augher

q Saturday 28th July: Randox Antrim Show at Shane’s Castle

q Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th August: Fermanagh Show at Enniskillen Exhibition and Auction Centre