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Personal resilience, Day 6 – 9th of March 2020

Welcome to week 2 of our resilience campaign.  We’ve had a lot of feedback about the campaign so far, ranging from those who don’t see why we should be talking about this issue, to those who think we are being negative about their own efforts as resilient farmers – our social media inbox has been a mixed bag.

To respond to the former group, we’d say that’s great you feel like this isn’t needed for you, but when we’ve run resilience meetings across the country, we’ve found that attendees have really gotten something out of it – so we wanted to spread the materials wider in hope that it might help more people.

To the latter group, it’s really tough, especially at a high pressure time with preparation for lambing and calving underway, to read about how you can be more resilient when you will rightly feel pulled from pillar to post, and how can you possibly be more resilient when you feel you’re doing your best?  The truth is that you can be an incredibly resilient person and still feel like you’re struggling.  What’s more, you can be an incredibly resilient person and not realise that yourself because you feel so under pressure.

These emails are not saying “you’re not resilient, so here’s how you can improve” what they’re saying is, “here’s an exercise in resilience, have a read of it – take 5 minutes to think about you”.

Between Brexit, bad weather and environmentalists talking down farming, you will be questioning your resilience, which is why today’s exercise is important, as it means making time to speak to someone you trust. You aren’t very likely to think that you’re a resilient person, but talk to a friend and ask them the same question, and they’re likely to give you the morale-boosting answer that your resilience is much better than you think.

Improve the quality of your relationships

Social media is changing our behaviour.  Many people report having lots of followers on Facebook or Instagram but, in spite of that, don’t feel connected to people.  As well as that social media is influencing how we feel about ourselves.  Most people only post the great things that they are doing.  Comparing ourselves to others on social media may sometimes result in us feeling that we are not doing as much as others or we are missing out.  Psychologists are describing the effect as a deficient mindset.

Strengthening our relationships enables us to balance the effects of this and avoid it in the first place.

Healthy relationships depend on our ability to communicate our thoughts, desires, needs, and issues.  This requires us to take time and be present.  This might sound easy but time is our precious commodity, especially in the farming community.

Dedicating genuine time to those people close to you can reap rewards in strengthening our relationship.  A small start is a good start.  How about creating a plan with someone to sit down for a chat (without interruption)?  What commitment can you make to improve the quality of your relationships?


If any of these emails or exercises have affected you and you feel you would like to speak to someone, support is available through RSABI.  You can call them on 0300 111 4166.  Their helpline is open from 7am to 11pm all year.


These resources have been developed by Kim Walker of Advance Consultancy for the Farm Advisory Service.

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