Staying positive

CLA South West Events Manager Sarah Fern offers advice and tips on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this period of lockdown

“Well, you just have to get on with it don’t you?” is a phrase I’ve been hearing a lot on my calls to CLA members over the last nine months.

There is little we can do about the Covid-19 restrictions imposed on us. We are, in the grand scheme of things, much better off living and working in the countryside than those in towns and cities.

That doesn’t mean that the situation we find ourselves in, together with all the changes facing the agricultural industry, isn’t going to affect us.

So, how many of you are looking after your physical wellbeing? And how many of you are addressing your mental health and wellbeing?

Wellbeing is defined as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy”. So, are you? And if you aren’t, what can you or will you do about it?

The worst thing you can do is bottle it all up and not share how you are feeling, whether that be with friends, family or strangers. We tend to not want to burden other people, or we might feel embarrassed about admitting to vulnerability, sadness, anger or hopelessness.

I’ve always considered myself a fairly robust person mentally, but with the loss of a key part of my job role as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, which I now see defined me in many ways and, coupled with the loss of physical contact with people I need in my life, I am surprised at my low mood.  

There are many resources available online but below are a few specific to the rural community. And please remember, CLA staff are here to help with a multitude of issues and problems. Why not start by picking up the phone for a chat about anything; you might be surprised how much it can help.

In the meantime, here are some wellbeing tips for you to consider:

  • Limit exposure to news about the pandemic if it is stressing you out
  • If you are retired or at home shielding, make sure you have a routine and stick to it
  • Eat well and drink plenty
  • If you are not actively farming, ensure you get at least half an hour of exercise each day. Why not take your phone with you and take some photos?
  • Look out for those in your social circle who may be struggling with isolation and give them a call
  • Make technology work for you. Face-timing and Zoom calls with children and grandchildren aren’t the same, but they are better than nothing
  • Consider learning a new skill or craft to keep you occupied when you aren’t working

Useful online resources 03000 111 999 0300 323 0400 01926 620135 0808 281 9490 0800 955 6808