Show Notes

When the going gets tough on farm, it's the tough who get going. But what fuels that resilience? 

This week on the Head Shepherd podcast, we have Kane Brisco of FarmFitNZ to discuss mental wellbeing, farm fitness and community.

In his late twenties, Kane found himself in a tough spot. He’d stopped participating in his local rugby team and his passion for farming had faded, so he didn’t know what to do with himself. Instead of packing up and changing careers, Kane took a step back and worked out what he needed to do to get himself out of that funk.

Each day, Kane starts with a routine that sets him up for success. Firstly, feed yourself right, says Kane. “You're fuelling up, it's like putting gas in your motorbike tank, you know? You don't expect it to run on empty all day, so we can't expect to do it ourselves."

Next, start with a purpose. Kane recommends writing down a list of what you want to achieve that day, stick to it and - most importantly - don’t forget to tick things off as you complete them.  “Everybody needs a purpose when they get out of bed, so for me, that's just a simple way to get a bit of clarity on the day. It takes about two minutes, not even that some days. It's a good feeling to cross them off, you know, a bit of satisfaction even on a tough day if you can just cross one of them off. It does perk you up over time,” shares Kane.

And, of course, we couldn’t talk to the founder of FarmFitNZ without discussing the influence of physical health on mental health. At his worst, Kane realised that when his physical fitness was low, so was his mental resilience. “It was that time in my life that made me realise how important it is to be physically prepared for a physical job and how that ties into your mental capability and your frame of mind and I guess your mindset and ultimately your mental health. They both work together and they're both linked,” says Kane.

Kane began running a ‘boot camp’ from his driveway for local farmers, giving them an opportunity to build strength and resilience, as well as generating that great rural community spirit. He explains, “It was just a matter of putting it out to the local community, to get them off the farm to my driveway basically to get a sweat on and test the lungs out and get together.”

“A lot of them had never done that before, something formal like that. But most of all, it was the communication with the other farmers, their neighbours from 5 km down the road that they didn't see too often … just having a catch-up, sharing what was going on regularly with each other's lives,” says Kane. “It wasn’t as much about getting fit and strong. It was actually just sharing with each other and creating those bonds within the community. You couldn't put a price on that if you tried."

If you’d like to know more, Kane has recently written a book about his journey. Find out more here:

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