Social, local and national media and even TIME magazine are covering the drought conditions in Australia and its effect on farming families and regional communities.
Photographer and TIME magazine contributor, Adam Ferguson, recently came to Haddon Rig on a tour through regional Australia capturing people and communities and their experiences during this current drought. It was interesting speaking with Adam about what he saw, what he heard and what he learnt. In some cases, there was resilience and others despair, and the difference seemed to boil down to mental, physical and family wellbeing. Since then, I have been thinking about how people get through…
During periods of drought or flood, often we focus solely on the mental health of those affected. In many rural communities we see people with deteriorating mental health with many farmers and their families feeling helpless, hopeless and sometimes guilty that they can’t do more to change their circumstances.
So what can we do if we can’t make it rain? We can take charge of the little things, which are often the most important.
We can focus on things that we can control which go a long way to help us deal with things we can’t. We can control how well we eat, how much we drink (more water, less booze), we can aim to get a good night’s sleep, spend time with family and improve our fitness. Sounds like a lot, but it’s all the fun stuff. In a 24-hour day, allocate 8 hours for sleep and 30-60 minutes for being active (lock it in your diary for the start of each day), that leaves 15 hours for work and family – plenty.
These factors are proven to improve your general wellbeing and outlook on life. If your body is in good condition, you’re rested, fit and well nourished, you are in the best place to handle difficult situations and decisions.
Focus on what is important. Eliminate unnecessary tasks, non-critical jobs and personal or business relationships that are not working for you. Ain’t nobody got time for that. You will be amazed at how much time meaningless tasks, jobs for jobs sake and toxic interactions take up. This is not about avoiding work, it’s about focussing on quality and meaningful outputs for your day. If you can achieve 2-3 high quality, detailed goals each day, you’ll go well.
When you do work, work hard. Make sure you are being productive and not just being busy. Prioritise your work the night before and start the day with the hardest and most important work. Remember to set yourself a knock-off time. Tomorrow will still be there to finish anything.
It always rains at the end of a drought, and grass grows after a flood. During these events, times are tough but so are the people. Make it easier on yourself and those around you by getting your sh!t together so you can deal with everything else. Remember to breathe, agricultural markets and demand for Australian products are as good, or better than they’ve ever been.
Disclaimer: I’m not telling you how to deal with drought and your own circumstances, I’m sharing the approach I’m taking to deal with a third year of drought. What works for some, may not work for others but it’s worth a crack. It’s important to speak up and seek help if needed.