How to recognise the signs of stress that can impact mental health
There are many stress warnings that we may recognise in ourselves, family, or our friends and neighbours. These may be cognitive, emotional, physical or behavioural and often include a number of the following.
- Cognitive Symptoms– Memory problems, inability to concentrate, poor judgement, seeing only the negative, anxious or racing thoughts, constant worrying.
- Emotional Symptoms– Moodiness, irritability or short temper, agitation or inability to relax, feeling overwhelmed, sense of loneliness or isolation, depression or general unhappiness.
- Physical Symptoms– Aches and pains, diarrhoea, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, loss of sex drive, frequent colds.
- Behavioural Symptoms– Eating more or less, sleeping too much or too little, isolating yourself from others, procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities, using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax, nervous habits – nail biting, pacing etc.
Five Steps to positive mental wellbeing
- Connect – Connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing and enjoying these relationships.
- Enjoy being active – A farmers work ensures an active life, but it is important to find enjoyment in some of the activity we take, whether it is a simple field walk, or time on activities off the farm.
- Keep learning – Farming is an ever changing environment and learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. There are many opportunities to join in training or farm group discussions or a visit to your local agricultural show.
- Give to others – Even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as helping a neighbour, or organising an event can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
- Take notice – It’s easy to take our work environment for granted. Be more aware of the land around you, the changes, the achievements and your part in managing it. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”, and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.