IT is all too easy to fall into bad habits that stick, whoever you are, writes Kate Dale, Co-ordinator of the Yorkshire Rural Support Network. Whether it is overindulging too regularly or putting off exercise because you’re too busy.

However, as both human beings and as business people, we must remind ourselves every now and again that our health is our number one asset. A healthy body and a healthy mind give us the foundations – the energy, enthusiasm and capacity – to do our best work as farmers, employers, business people and as friends and family members.

At the start of a new year, it isn’t a bad time to consider what small changes we can all make to our lifestyles for the better, which is why, at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, one of our first projects of 2021 has been to share a new video series with the farming community.

Our Farmer Health Messages are a collection of short clips, each addressing key topics – alcohol, diet, exercise, stress and mental health. They have been filmed with Anne Reed, a health practitioner based in Thirsk who will be familiar to Northern Farmer readers who have stopped by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society stand at auction marts, trade events and the Great Yorkshire Show for a free health check.

It is a real regret that we cannot resume our health checks just yet, providing that friendly face to stop for a chat with and have a quick health MOT to check your blood pressure and cholesterol.

In the meantime, we wanted to find a different way to share what we think are some really useful health and wellbeing messages with you – and so with support from The Prince’s Countryside Fund, our Farmer Health Message videos have been shared across the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s social media channels.

Perhaps some of these tips will be familiar to you, but we hope you will find the clips are a prompt to pause for thought and run through a checklist of your own habits to see whether there is anything else you can be doing to take the best care of your health. Given the ongoing pandemic, it has perhaps never been more of a stark time to stop and consider ways of looking after your own health and sense of wellbeing.

I would urge anyone to watch the videos but some standout messages for me include: are you really as active as you think you are? We all know how easy it is to spend your day sitting on machinery. It is recommended that we take 2.5 hours of exercise every week – this doesn’t have to be all at once but cumulatively. And so, for example, why not tread the fields to round up or feed the sheep instead of automatically jumping on the quad bike?

As farming people, we’re all proud of what we do and how we do it, but doubt, a sense of failure and low mood befalls the very best of us from time to time. My advice would be, don’t bottle these feelings up. Doing so only makes problems worse because they are not being dealt with but left to fester. Talking helps. It’s become a well-worn cliché but that is because it is so very true.

No matter how small or big a problem feels, if it is niggling away at you, find someone to talk to. It could be someone you know or it could be the Farming Help charities on 03000 111 999 or Samaritans on 116 123.

Even though we can’t bring you all together right now, rest assured that the Yorkshire Agricultural Society continues to be your champion and source of support.

To watch the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Farmer Health Messages, visit the charity’s YouTube channel.