3 tricks to keeping well during calving

By: Rose McVeagh, DairyNZ

With calving season not far away, let’s take a look at how to keep ourselves and others well and happy over the next few months.

1. Prioritise rest and relaxation

It can be tricky to get a good night’s sleep during calving, but here are a few things you could try to improve your chances of getting some decent rest, even when it’s busy:

Do something that helps you to relax, even if it’s for a shorter time than normal. Whether it’s reading, watching a movie or having a nap on the lazyboy – it’s important you kick back to recharge.

For a better quality sleep – avoid caffeine and alcohol, switch off electronics and fully relax before you go to bed.

Sneak in some exercise during the day – a 20 minute run, a quick bike ride or a 30 minute farm walk will help you sleep and give you a break during the day.

Share the night shifts with the neighbours, can you take turns to check during the night? Would that mean you only have to get up every third night instead of every night?

2. Don’t give up your sport

During calving it can be difficult to find the time, the energy and the desire to keep active! Here are some tips from farmers who manage to keep some exercise or sporting interest going:
"I try to walk on the farm as often as I can, only using the bike if I absolutely need to."

"I play touch with friends and when that’s not on I go for bike rides with the kids. I try to make sure I do a group sport activity at least once a week to catch up with friends, unwind and have some time off the farm."

3. Keep fueled up

If you have a personal chef, you’re very lucky! If not, here are some tips to help keep you fuelled up with good food and hydrated during calving:

Pack food and drink for the day and take it with you. You can even drill holes in a container and use cable ties to attach it to your bike – then you have food and drink with you wherever you go. Meals on wheels!

Smoothies are quick and easy, they fill you up and you can throw in lots of fruit and veges, then take them with you.

Eggs on toast is a fast and nutritional meal (for breakfast, lunch or dinner). Poached, fried, scrambled, they all only take a few minutes to make.

Above all, don’t forget to talk to the people in your life. It’s so important to connect, as one farmer says "No matter how busy things get, we always make sure we have friends to dinner and go to dinner parties. You’ve got to make sure you have time for a laugh with mates."

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