How to help your psychological health survive the drought

With below-average rainfall across New South Wales, central Queensland, the north-west of Victoria and into South Australia the hardship of Australia’s current drought effects farmers both physically and psychologically. With the long duration of the drought is understandable that farmers are experiencing stress, sadness, helplessness, anxiety and being pushed to their limits.  Although, we can’t control our environment we can work on how we respond to it by developing resilience.  When you are already in the thick of challenging situations resilience is a work in progress, it isn’t something we are born with.  Having resilience allows us to bend and not break. So how do we have resilience when life throws tough situations at us?

Having the right mindset is a big part of resilience and here are some tips on how to do this;

  1. Recognise and acknowledge that your struggle is valid.

You might think, “I am in a better situation then another person, I shouldn’t complain”, but this isn’t not true you need to validate your struggles

  1. Know your boundaries

This is about being mindful of your limitations and knowing you can only do so much.  Be realistic about what you can and can’t control and work with the things you can control.

  1. Resilient people have self-care habits that they use regularly.

Take some time out to recharge, it can be something as simple as watching a funny movie or having your favourite meal.  See the previous blog for a list of suggestions if you are stuck for ideas. https://www.virtualpsychologist.com.au/2019/08/22/pleasurable-activities-for-good-mental-health/

  1. Remember a time of resiliency in the past.

You have made it this far which suggests that you already have some resilience. Try thinking of what you have done previously to help you get through a tough time.

  1. Focus on your strengths.

Note what resources, traits, talents etc you have and work with them. Resilient people are mindful of their strengths and grab onto them when they experience challenges.

  1. Think of someone you consider as ‘resilient’

Then note what makes that person resilient and learn from them.

  1. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weaknesses.

As Australian’s it is common to have a “she’ll be right” attitude and concerned about the stigma attached to getting support for your psychological health. But if you are finding things tough reach out for support and make a brave choice to get some help, but also know it is okay not to tell everyone.  There are support services such as text counselling, which you can be accessed discreetly.

  1. Read a motivational quote when you are having a tough day.

Positive messages speak to us deeply because we know they’re true. Reading a motivational/inspirational quote can help remind us to see a positive aspect of your challenges and builds up your self-efficacy.