Put yourself in the Picture


Put Yourself in the Picture - Take Care of YOU in 2024

Righto, so we are already halfway through the first month of 2024! Some of you may have enjoyed a break over Christmas/New Years. Others (like my family and I), have been continuing to work through the ongoing farm jobs to be tackled. We had a soft finish to harvest around the New Year, went straight into a few hot weeks of crutching and shearing, thankfully we are finished (for now) and doing final prep to head away for our annual week at the beach.

But, I'm jumping on today to get back in the blog routine, to kick off fortnightly blog posts on a Wednesday.

Past Steph has helped me out for this one, as I'm sharing an article that I contributed to the 2023 Rural Women's Day Magazine. (If you'd like some beautiful reading of incredible rural women, purchase your magazine here and follow @ruralwomensday on socials)

With no further ado, let's get into this week's article.


If you mentally listed everything you have done today, I'm going to take a guess that the list would be long (Preparing breakfast, getting smoko ready, kids dressed, head into town to fill up the diesel tank, pick up supplies at the chemist, get shearing lunch, get ready to go in the tractor...). 

Now, if you scan that list and cross out everything that you have done for your kids, husband, work, farm, community, household management and daily organisation... What is left behind? Is there anything on the list that you have done for YOU - with the sole purpose of taking care of you?

We have all heard so many times "you can't give from an empty cup" - but what will it take for us to actually listen, learn and change our behaviour? 

It’s no easy feat, but I’m on a determined path to help rural women prioritise themselves, enabling them to better care for those around them. Concepts surrounding self-care are a dime a dozen in psychology books, but making strict routines and sticking to them just isn’t possible sometimes. 

When you’ve been in the shearing shed all day, are you likely to go for a 20-minute run? No. Is it appealing to fit in a 30-minute morning yoga routine when you’ve spent half the night on the seeder? Probably not. 

As a farmer, psychologist, farm wife and mum, I’ve decided to put an ‘embrace the juggle’ spin on these concepts, to give you - quite literally - paddock-tested ways of prioritising you.


Moving your body is the most beneficial way to move through the stress cycle, even if external stressors haven’t passed. 

As soon as you get out of bed, try doing 50 squats (you can even do it half-awake with your eyes still shut). 

Put music on to dance, and use the music you love… it doesn’t have to be The Wiggles!

For a super helpful stress circuit breaker, shake your body or even just your hands for two minutes.

Get Present

Mindfulness is no silver bullet, but getting present, non-judgmentally, in this moment right now - can be incredibly helpful - and it’s a skill we can practice.

Use all of your senses to practice being present during daily tasks, such as while you shower, or while you enjoy your coffee. 

Be truly present with your partner or kids for five minutes a day - turn off that technology!

Reflective exercises like journalling, yoga and mindful movement can help you to come back to the present. Just a few minutes a day is better than no minutes a day.


When we notice and observe our inner experiences with a gentle curiosity, we can choose if we want to savour them or let them go. 

Check in: What do you notice right now? What do you notice around you (5 senses), inside of your body (sensations, feelings), and inside of your mind (thoughts, stories, emotions)

Next time a tricky thought shows up, try noticing “I’m having the thought that…”, or “I’m noticing that I’m feeling resentment”. See what happens when you notice and get a little space.


When you choose what you do based on what truly matters to you, you make your actions meaningful. Meaningful, valued action, improves our wellbeing.

For menial jobs, focus on how tackling the task will be overall beneficial. Trying to summon enthusiasm to tackle Mt Washmore? Well, maybe you value order in your house, or you value easing the burden on your future self.

Sometimes caring for ourselves means taking the actions we don’t want to take. Going for that cervical screening. Having a difficult conversation. Choosing not to eat the whole block of chocolate. 


With long farm working hours comes limited quality time with the ones you love. Yet, we are social creatures, and we crave connection, so we need to make the most of the time we spend together.

Ask questions: Be genuinely curious about others by asking open-ended questions.

Give praise: Communicate the qualities or actions you appreciate and enjoy, in those around you. Aim to give three compliments a day.

To Wrap Up

Just to clarify - while I may be an expert in the steps we rural women can take to manage our mental health, I am by no means an expert in putting it into practice. 

It takes physical and mental effort for our brain to create new patterns of behaviour. From my personal experience, the best way we can start to prioritise our own wellbeing and put ourselves in the picture, is by taking the smallest possible steps, focusing on one thing at a time. Remember… Rome wasn’t built in a day!


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