November - Monthly Trailmarker


Monthly Trailmarker: Steph Schmidt Farm Life Psych

It's been a busy month (is it ever not), and the countdown is now on to Christmas and 2024. As I hope everyone will take some time away from their inboxes at the end of December, this will also be my last trailmarker for 2023. I'll leave you with a few reflections and thoughts to ponder as the year wraps up.
Here's what's been happening in my world in November.

TL;DR (The important stuff if you don't read the rest)

- Coming up in 2024: Surrender & Embrace 6 month program for rural women; ACT for Ag MH Training; Livestock SA Wellbeing Sessions across Australia - Stay Up to Date

- Farm Life Wellbeing Check-In - A short self-assessment to check in with your wellbeing on the farm.

- Ducks on the Pond Three-Part podcast Series - Dealing with Stress - Get it straight to your inbox, plus a workbook for each episode - Subscribe to: Dealing with Stress

What's been keeping me busy?

While most of the month has been focused on the farm and harvest, I've finally pressed published on a few things that have been in the works.

Farm Life Wellbeing Check-In

I'm delighted to have recently opened up the Farm Life Wellbeing Check-in. This is a simple, free quick online quiz aimed to let you know how you're really doing. Sometimes, we don't realise how depleted and exhausted we are until we stop for 5 minutes to put time into assessing if we're flourishing, thriving despite challenges, navigating the storms, or really struggling.

In taking the short quiz you will gain insight into your current farm life wellbeing status, and receive personalised feedback to improve your overall wellbeing.

Take the quiz here

Please share with your friends and colleagues - you can find the Check-In at

Coffee Phone Mock Up Instagram Template (2) 

Dealing with Stress - Podcast Mini-Series

I've also been involved in a three-part series for the Ducks on the Pond podcast with the wonderful Kirsten Diprose, looking at how to deal with stress on the farm. We cover A LOT  in this three-part series - give it a listen wherever you access your podcasts.

If you would like to have the episodes delivered directly to your inbox, together with a workbook with key takeaways and reflection questions - just click here 

What's Coming Up?

With 2023 nearly out the way, my attention is turned to 2024. More accurately, my attention is turned to how best I can help improve the wellbeing of rural Australia. Here are a few ways you can work with me in the new year.

My Surrender and Embrace program: 6 Month small group coaching program for farming women, ready to transform their life on the farm. Join the waitlist here.

12-week ACT for Ag mental health training program for anyone connected to agriculture. This will focus on strengthening your own mental health and psychological flexibility, as well as a "share it to learn it" emphasis - helping you to gain skills and confidence to share these strategies with others. Join the waitlist

I'll also be running some sessions aimed at livestock agents and producers across SA in Feb and March, so keep your eyes out for more info on that coming soon. Stay updated

The diary dates are starting to fill up, especially as I will always be navigating around farming seasons of seeding, shearing, harvest! If you'd like to work with me in 2024, whether in your organisation, community, or individually, contact me here - I'd love to hear from you!

What's Happening on the Farm?

Harvest. That's what's been happening.

Like so many farmers around the country, we had one of our latest starts to harvest last year, and one of our earliest this year. Life is a little crazy, there is mess everywhere inside (anyone who follows my socials may remember the photographic evidence of this) and stress levels have certainly run high at times. I never claim to be perfect in terms of practising what I preach, but I have made a concerted effort to step back and notice the feelings, acknowledge the feelings, and tried to physically move my body to move through the stress cycle whenever I can.

We have been held up slightly thanks to a pretty significant downpour earlier this week (on the bright side, full dams), but the slower days after the rain has been a welcome respite. We still have a fair amount to go, but hoping to be finished soon after Christmas or early in the new year.

Our traditional post-harvest holidays to Elliston are locked in for the end of January, and we are all seriously excited!

What I'm Reading, Listening To, Thinking About

During busy times I tend to find myself drifting towards fiction (escapism), especially on audiobooks while doing header driving, or general farm jobs. At the moment I'm losing myself in the fantasy world of magic and dragons in "The Iron Flame". It's quite funny, as my boys are binging "How to tame a dragon" on Netflix, so there is magic and dragons all around.

I have also signed up to The Expert Author Academy, to finally write my (first) book in 2024. I am thinking a lot about what this will involve and how it will look, which involves daydreaming, contemplating, and writing. So, yes, bringing the fortnightly blog back to practice my writing is top of my priorities!

2023 Reflection

In some way I have felt that I have been stagnant through 2023, but when I pause and reflect I know that isn't true at all. My word of the year for 2023, was Surrender. This has been something that is a continued and ongoing practice, but has helped to serve as a compass for me throughout the year. 

Some of my highlights for 2023 have been: Supporting the 2023 cohort of AgriFutures Rural Women's Award Winners; re-igniting my joy in 1:1 work through coaching and rural mental health supervision; online and in-person rural mental health and wellbeing trainings with a diverse range of organisations, which took me from Newcastle to Canberra (and my home office).

The biggest highlight was definitely running the Change The Picture Campaign - and the conversations, opportunities, and connections it started.

And, as always, surrendering to what is out of my control and learning to find joy in the juggle of farm, family and life. 

My Word of the Year for 2024  is Embrace - (Yes, this all links in to Surrender & Embrace, the program for farming women). As I hope to embrace the joys, the opportunities, and the challenges that life brings me.

Have you got a Word of the Year? I love taking time through November/December to ponder on a word that will serve as a touchpoint and compass through the following year. If you do choose a word of the year and would like to share it with me - hit reply - I'd love to hear it.

A final Thank You!

This year I have been thrilled and privileged to have Claire Harris join my team. Claire, with her wordsmith ways and neverending support. Claire has pulled together the monthly newsletters, Little Rocks reminders, and was instrumental in sharing each of the more than 50 stories shared through the Change The Picture Campaign. 

I would also love to acknowledge the women who contributed to the Change The Picture Campaign. Sharing with honesty about the joys and challenges of farming life takes vulnerability - so thank you - the impact of this campaign is only just beginning. 

And a thank you to everyone who sends a quick reply to my emails, or social media posts - I absolutely appreciate hearing from you. The feedback and reflections help motivate me to continue doing what I do. 

Take care of YOU,

Steph x


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