Mental Health Awareness Week: A chat with Wayne Langford

Golden Bay dairy farmer Wayne Langford is the man behind YOLO Farmer, where he posts his moments of gratitude every day as a strategy to improve his wellbeing.

He’s also the national dairy chair for Federated Farmers, and the Co-Founder of Meat the Need, a charity that supplies much-needed meat, donated by farmers, to those in need.

Read on to see how Wayne looks after his wellbeing and get a taste for his YOLO-mentality.

(NZNFS): What are your non-negotiables in your daily routine when it comes to looking after your mental health?

(Wayne): My alarm goes off three times because I’m a cuddler and never jump straight out of bed! However, as soon as my feet hit the floor it’s anything but slow from there.

I milk my cows once a day and never get up too early because sleep is important to me and if I don’t get that right it affects the rest of my day. We have set up our farm system to ensure this.

I love morning milking because as a farmer my favorite job is connecting with the animals. I know this and so make sure I get plenty of contact time with the animals and bring in help for other parts of the business.

I never milk with the radio on, as I understand that for me, thinking time is important and this is where it happens for me as the rest of my day is quite chaotic.

My first meal of the day is a late breakfast, as my body doesn’t do well off food first thing. This is followed by plenty of Meat the Need and my work with Federated Farmers.

My late breakfast means I only need a light lunch, which is often followed by a quick power nap to refresh for my afternoon work. The afternoon is broken up by a cup of tea, which leads to a big burst of energy late afternoon where I get a large volume of my work done. After school, I always try to check in with the boys, and I love coaching the under 13’s rugby team.

Later in the evening, I love to cook dinner myself, and from there, my wife and I value our evening cup of tea. This is where we relax, debrief and plan.

While this doesn’t happen every day, we have spent a lot of time getting to know the bests times for us to work, sleep, and eat to achieve maximum life force, and we design our days accordingly.

(NZNFS): What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with their mental health?

(Wayne): For anyone struggling with their mental health the best thing you can possibly do is just start talking. The old adage a problem shared is a problem halved is so true.

If it’s too tough to reach out to someone maybe just start with the farm dog – even verbalising your struggle will help. Encouraging others to look after their mental health like their fitness doesn’t happen overnight, but by doing a small piece every day you will start to see big changes over time.

(NZNFS): Is there any other wellbeing advice you’d like to share?

(Wayne): Everyone has those things that light them up.

Have a think about what lights you up or ask someone who knows you well and just start doing more of those things. This will not only make a positive impact on your world but also on everyone around you.

Helplines and support:

If you or your whānau and friends need wellbeing support, we encourage you to visit your doctor, chat with a mate, or get in touch with one of the helplines and services listed below:

Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
Will To Live RuralChange program: www.willtolivenz.com/i-want-help
Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202

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