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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Ways farmers can improve their mental health and well-being

In this article, Mandy Downes of Blessington Counselling and Psychotherapy, provides tips for readers to help boost their mental health and well-being.

Farming can be a very lonely and isolating profession. Farmers, young and old, can feel on the fringe of society as they work very long hours, seven days a week, and for some, it is 365 days a year.

Farming is the cornerstone on which Ireland was built, but it seems forgotten by so many as we pour milk into our tea, enjoy a slice of apple tart and cream or tuck into a lamb dinner.

Most items on our kitchen table, such as cereals, bread, butter, milk, cheese, rashers, sausages, ham, and beef, are only possible thanks to the arduous labour of our farmers. Yet, I believe our farmers are forgotten and undervalued.

It is the feeling of being forgotten, undervalued and isolated that can impact negatively on the mental, emotional and physical health of our farmers.

Poor mental health does not just stay in our heads as it passes through the whole body.

Poor mental health, we now know, can be a major factor in arthritis and other physical health problems.

I think it is not enough to highlight the problem of poor mental health among the farming community.

We need to offer a workable support system that can be easily accessible to all farmers.

Counsellor and psychotherapist, Mandy Downes, Blessington, Co. Wicklow of Blessington Counselling and Psychotherapy discusses her services.

Tips 

So, here are my tips for That’s Farming’s readers.

  1. Selfcare – Do one kind thing for yourself every day. This can be as simple as going for a walk, treating yourself to a cream cake, or relaxing in a hot bubble bath.
  2. Stay connected – Make a meaningful connection with like-minded people. Reach out to a friend you have not seen for a while to meet for lunch.
  3. Listen to music, dance or sing – Music releases the body’s natural happy drug, dopamine.
  4. Sleep soundly – Where possible, always go to bed the same day you woke up before midnight.
  5. Watch your thinking – Respond (think first) rather than react (think after) to situations, and this saves on regrets later

My key take-home messages:

  1. Have a support system in place, at least two, preferably three, trusted adults that you can talk to, connect with regularly and are comfortable asking for help when needed. Remember, people cannot read our minds.

If someone asks you how you are, be honest with them. If you are struggling, let them know.

  1. We are all responsible for our own happiness, and other people and things can add to our happiness and take away from our happiness.

However, they do not need to create our happiness – that is up to us.

It is important that we have an awareness of how we think, as how we choose to think impacts our life and everything we do.

When we think positive, we feel positive, and when we feel positive, we act positive. Then, when we act positive, the body relaxes, releases and repairs.

3. Yesterday is over, so let it go, and tomorrow is promised to no one, so today is all we have. Enjoy it, live it, and be kind to yourself and others, always.

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