Download our rural isolation help sheet

Living in the country can be idyllic, but it can also have its challenges too. Being physically isolated or remote from others can impact on our mental health and many might find it hard not to have others close by for immediate support.

In particular, working on and running a farm can be very demanding. From the long hours working alone and in extreme weathers, to operating heavy machinery, handling animals and the physical demands of the job it’s easy to see how this can have an impact on one’s mental and emotional well-being too.

Here are some strategies to consider how you can take care of your well-being and where you can access help if needed.

Taking Care of You

Just like checking the oil level or the tyres on your vehicles, there are simple things you can do regularly to maintain your wellbeing and take care of yourself. These are the ‘5 Steps to Wellbeing’:

1. Connect

When you’re living in a remote location or out all day working alone for prolonged periods, having meaningful connections is vitally important – these can be family, friends, neighbours and/or community groups.

These are the people who you can have a laugh and joke with and, more seriously, also the people you can turn to if you need support.

2. Be active

Being active goes hand-in-hand with country life, as there are often greater distances to cover every day, while the work is physically demanding - running after escaped livestock or lifting heavy objects, for example.

Exercise is important for making us feel good – but at the same time you should be aware of your own limitations and any existing injuries to avoid causing yourself harm.

3. Give

Giving makes us feel good and can also help us build positive connections. This can be as simple as a smile, or saying “thank you”, helping a neighbour on their farm during calving/lambing/harvesting season or volunteering in your local community in some way.

4. Keep learning

Learning isn’t just for school – this can happen in many different ways. You might find that you’re learning how to boost the harvest or how to prevent your livestock from breaking out of their pens – all of these are ways in which you are learning.

Other ways of learning might be having a hobby or taking a class – this is again another great way to build connections and be active in your local community.

5. Take notice

Make an effort to notice and connect with your surroundings – instead of rushing around, take a moment just to be present.

A simple way of doing this is to notice the different colours around you, what scents/smells there are, what sounds are there and noticing how the ground feels beneath your feet.

Making time to be aware of such things gives you an opportunity to remember what’s important to you when stressed.


What to watch out for

Female farmer looking tired after day of work on the field.

There are many physical hazards associated with farming and living in the countryside, whether it’s working with animals during calving/lambing season, accidents involving machinery, handling chemicals, and being around noisy environments as well as the physical nature of the work.

This can have a variety of effects on us including:

Physical Risks:

  • Bone fractures
  • Hearing loss
  • Breathing difficulties (asthma, COPD, etc.)
  • Skin cancer (due to time spent in sun)
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic pain
  • Death

Emotional/Mental Risks:

  • Agitation
  • Lack of sleep
  • Loss of appetite/over-eating
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling lonely
  • Depression
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide
  • Problem alcohol/drug use

Accessing Help

Working or living in rural areas it can be normal to feel cut-off from health and social care services. In the same way you might call the vet when one of your livestock is sick, it is important that you know who and how to call for help when you need it.

GPs are usually the first point of contact for access to services as they can provide information, medication and can refer you on to specialists where additional support is required.

There are many other services which can offer support whether it’s for your physical or mental health.

Farm In Mind offer a support line dedicated to farmers, whether it’s to discuss financial concerns, a family issue or if you’re struggling to cope.

Freephone number available Monday to Friday 9am – 9pm: 0800 138 1678.

Alternatively you can find out more via their website: www.farminmind.co.uk