Published February 2024

A thousand small things to help your wellbeing

Go Back

During our wellbeing webinar last month, Marc Gascoigne, New Zealand dairy farmer and ambassador for Farmstrong, New Zealand shared his personal wellbeing story, which has already resonated with so many farmers here in Scotland. 

He gave examples of the positive steps he implemented into his daily life which have improved and helped his mindset. “It wasn’t farming that was the problem, it was my thought process,” says Marc.

30 years of farming and 20 of those years struggling silently with anxiety and depression, Marc visited his GP after suffering a panic attack when out checking the livestock one morning. Following this visit, he was then introduced to Farmstrong, which was just beginning its journey in New Zealand, and through their website and tools, he began the journey of adopting small activities and practices, that would help with his wellbeing.

“Telling the doctor what was going on was a huge weight off my shoulders. There were lots of tools and resources on the Farmstrong New Zealand web page, which I made a lot of use of to get to where I am today.”

In 2023, Marc travelled to Scotland where he spoke to farmers on his 14-venue tour, sharing his story and connecting with others. Marc spoke about the five steps to better wellbeing: Connect, Take Notice, Give, Keep Learning, Be Active. 

Combining some of these steps together, he tells us about his outgoing group of friends. Calling themselves ‘The average Joe's’; they spend time together at the gym, three to four times a week, or out running or bike riding. Influenced by Hazel Moss who he met during his visit to Orkney, they have even taken up a little cold-water swimming. 

Marc was pleasantly surprised how many people he persuaded into the water. "As farmers, we spend so much time by ourselves, it is vital to connect. The most important part is just having the coffee afterwards and talking a bit of nonsense.”

During the webinar he also discussed the value of positive reflection: “Think of three things that went well during your day while you are in the shower. Then, before you go to bed, think of three things you are looking forward to tomorrow.”

Marc enhances the importance of celebrating the small things by referring to a broken fence post that he continuously would pass and frustrate him. After fixing it, he now takes great pride and often stops for a few seconds to appreciate his good work. “Take notice of the good, and less of the negative. Give yourself credit for the small positive changes you make. It can take 60 to 80 days for new habits to be ingrained. You may not notice changes straight away, so be patient with yourself.”

Farmstrong Scotland would like to thank all those who supported the tour, including our founding partners Movember, NFU Mutual Charitable Trust and RHASS.

To hear Marc’s full story and listen to his wellbeing tips, watch the webinar back below.

We value your support!

Thanks go to all our supporters, including our founding funders.

Navy supported partner