People often ask me why I go to the gym when I have such an active job, and the answer is simple. I love it. They ask me how I find time, and the answer is I make time, because it’s important not only to my physical health, but also my mental health.
Farming can be stressful, and it can be lonely. But no matter how hard my day has been, when I walk into the gym it all disappears and all I think about is what’s in front of me. I not only find the physical aspect therapeutic, but I have also made some incredible friends who have seen me through tough times. There’s a camaraderie that comes from pushing yourself to the limit with like-minded people that is hard to find elsewhere. No matter how tired or stressed I am when I arrive, I feel relaxed and refreshed when I leave.
My increased strength and ability to use my body properly has meant my day to day job is ten times easier and I am far less likely to get injured – and everyone knows farmers do not cope well when not able to work. It’s important to look after our bodies, something that is often neglected.
I think it’s so important to take time off the farm. It’s something I used to be very bad at, and actually something that can be seen as a badge of honour amongst farmers, but it’s not healthy. Even just an hour away a few times a week, where you don’t think or talk farming at all, is so important for mental health.
It doesn’t need to be the gym, it could be rugby, cycling, running, hiking – whatever works for you – but finding time to do something for you, away from the farm, can have a massive positive impact on your mental and physical health. And if you don’t want to do it for you, do it for your family.