Sadly, our friends, family, and clients who reside and work in distant, rural and remote communities are often forced to deal with additional hardships such as a highly unpredictable climate, extreme market conditions, financial strain, isolation, long working hours and even reduced access to fundamental services.
As such, many farming families respond to these hard times by tightening the household budget belt and allocating fewer funds to food, clothing, entertainment, and maintenance of their belongings and equipment. They may also rely more heavily on credit; thus increasing their household debt.
The increased effort of attempting to provide for a family out on the land and “keeping the farm” to continue doing business can be very mentally demanding. For farming families in dire financial straits, the options may seem very bleak – to struggle on is stressful enough, but to sell everything and leave the industry is possibly even worse to contemplate.
Fortunately, if you or someone you know is experiencing any of these difficulties, help can be obtained in the form of financial support, professional mental health services, and other support services. As an example, Victorian dairy farmers can access a range of supports via Dairy Farmer Central. QLD farmers can access help from the QFF at https://www.qff.org.au/ and farmers across Australia can access the National Centre for Farmer Health support page, including the online practical pdf called ‘Managing stress on the farm’. More information on farming stress can be found here.
Stress is the physical, mental and emotional manifestation of a stress-causing element (a.k.a. a ‘stressor’). Stress can arise from any situation or thought that makes you feel an element of frustration, anger, nervousness or anxiety.
It’s true that everyone reacts to potentially stressful situations in different ways. Some people cope with a crisis situation or other stressful times by looking at the problem and putting everything else to one side. For most people, this is only effective in the short term.
Having said this, occasional stress is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, it can help keep you motivated and focused toward achieving goals. Although, ongoing and persistent stress can make you break-down and neglect the important things that help you get through it all, including your health, personal and business relationships, rest, sleep and entertainment. It may culminate in you becoming less able to think clearly and cope. In fact, problems may feel even worse than they actually are.
Symptoms of stress
Often, we don’t realise how stressful life has become. Some of the signs that you may be under significant stress are:
- issues with concentration or memory
- lack of motivation and energy
- lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy, such as sports, socialising or even sex
- issues sleeping, such as snoring, insomnia, early waking or oversleeping; leading to chronic fatigue
- changes in appetite, such as eating too little or too much, or eating unhealthy foods
- mood swings, such as sadness, anger or irritability
- physical health issues, such as chronic headaches or stomach-aches
- heart palpitations and breathlessness
- longer-term general poor health.
Stress and depression
Continued chronic stress is often associated with depression. Some warning signs of depression can include:
- a constant feeling of sadness or ineptitude
- recurrent feelings of gloom, guilt, despair, and hopelessness
- restlessness and feeling slowed down
- pessimistic thoughts, inability to remember the good times
- thoughts of suicide.
Where to from here?
Family Lawyers Mackay has worked in the local Mackay region to support the lives of many clients and will continue to concentrate on providing class-leading family law help in Mackay for the years to come. If you or a loved one needs some help or guidance, then reach out to one of our experienced and qualified local lawyers for urgent assistance using our free 20-minute initial family law consultation service.
We can be reached at:
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- Co-parenting time with your children – The importance of parental communication