With the calving season well underway, farmers around the country have their fair share of work cut out for them.
Prioritising work over mental health becomes a way of life for many, however, South Waikato Young Farmers chairwoman Olivia Wade is taking the steps to insure this doesn’t happen within her farming community.
Olivia says one of the steps her group takes during the calving period is to communicate daily with members through social media.
“We have quite a social media background at the moment and so we are communicating daily with our farmers through Snapchat.
“It’s just to see what we’re getting up to in our group and to keep track of little competitions.
“We are currently running our calving competition to see who can rear the biggest calf and we also have our photo competition going on now as well.
“It just helps to give insight to what everyone is doing in the area,” says Olivia.
Olivia says that lately there has been quite an increase in farmers opening up about their mental health.
“There’s been quite a big push within Young Farmers, and also, within Farm for Life and Will for Live.
“They’re coming out and doing heaps of wellbeing webinars over calving so everyone can attend from their seat on the couch and enjoy it.
“It is actually quite nice listening to different people’s ways around life and how they’ve overcome different situations and get advice from them as well.
“Some of our members are quite open with mental health also which is very helpful. They say at every meeting that we’re here for each other and they’ve dealt with it in their past so they’re happy to share with others.
“My advice during calving season would be to step back and enjoy what you do.
“Even if it’s just watching the calves frolic, or at the end of the day just sitting on a hill and watching the sun go down.
“Just enjoy the little moments that you do have,” says Olivia.
Get amongst your community
Now that most of the country is back into Covid alert level two, the group are also encouraging potluck dinners to socialise without the pressures of the current season.
“The goal is to have a yarn and just hang out and try to get the socialising going again because with lockdown and everyone being busy as well, it’s hard.
“Our group is quite a young, social group with ages from 18 to 33.
“We range from farmers to mechanics to foursquare workers.
“We’re really trying to push the boundaries that we’re open to everyone – not just the farmers – to get it out there that we’re quite heavily involved with the whole community and it’s just a fun and social group for everyone.”