Things that we cannot control are our biggest distressors, in agriculture it is mostly weather issues followed by a multitude of other factors such as commodity prices, machinery breakdowns (how long is a bit of string!)
This year every area of the Wheatbelt (from Northampton to Southern Cross to Esperance and in between) has had different rain events and the crops and pastures are at different stages of germination and growth. We must remind ourselves that it is winter and we are in July. These challenging starts to the season affect the whole community (farmers, people involved in agribusiness and those in the agri-link industries like the mechanics, the mitre 10 store). Everybody feels the pain.
No one can change what happens with the weather, all we can do is manage our programs and control our business as best we can which importantly includes looking after ourselves and each other (our mates and neighbours).
Remaining connected is one way of doing this. So, what does this mean? Rural communities have an innate capacity to reach out and organize and participate in many bottoms up activities. RMHI has been attending a lot of these events including, breakfasts, sundowners and many other gatherings which allow the communities to have a conversation about where they are at individually and as a collective. There is less and less of us living in regional areas, add this to the nature of modern farming as well as a challenging season and isolation becomes more prevalent. Staying connected is important and something we must actively work on.
As blokes, we have a propensity to self-medicate. A lot of people think that is done by sex, drugs and rock & roll however in the work we do its mostly blokes spending more time in their cave, working harder, longer, and talking less (some ladies might find that hard to believe). It is important that we start to talk about some of the pain and distress that as blokes we tend to suffer alone.
We describe “primary care” as what can we do to look after ourselves and others, invariably it is about connection. Some simple things we can do:
- Talk to a Mate – realize that we are not alone.
- Talk to whoever needs to be informed about our situation (family, financiers, advisors).
- Keep an eye on others – drop into a neighbour and have a chat and a coffee. Take the time to ask someone “are you okay?”
- Slow the pace of our life a little, join a group that fits in with our passions and interests. It will make a difference.
- Maintain our sense of humour, laugh at ourselves and with others.
Australians are well known for their larrikinism and humour, Edward DE Bono one of the world’s foremost thinkers called humour “a key lubricant for life” and oftened referred to humour as “social glue and the best anti despair device we have”. I think he is right on the money, when we lose our sense of humour we are buggered.
Owen and the Team
The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277