Finding connection in the country
by hayley dawson, VICTORIA - BASED MEDIA STRINGER
I frequently hear that the two most difficult things women living in the country face, are the long distances they have to travel and the feelings of aloneness, due to isolation. Well I hear you. I completely understand both issues. Every single week I travel over 1000kms around the country side, today alone I drove into town twice as I was running around doing jobs for the farmer. That’s a total of three hours in the car - imagine all the blog posts I could have written in that time! Thank goodness for podcasts and audiobooks!
I do think the long distances are a trade-off we make to live in such beautiful and open spaces, and while I can’t fix them what I can do is try to address the disconnection experienced by women in regional areas.
I believe this is something that I can help assist as I can totally relate to that feeling of isolation and aloneness. Sometimes I work from home and, as much as I love it because I don’t have to travel, it can be hard to sit in the office all day, with no one to talk to, keep you on track or motivate you.
I also see isolation as being a massive issue for our health and it can also be very challenging when someone based regionally is diagnosed with a health condition. In 2017 I was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis. It was in the middle of a chaotic time of year on the farm; crops being windrowed, harvest preparation, sheep feeding and everything else that occurs during the November and December period. Physically, it took me a while to recover from the surgery, and I was in a lot of pain for quite some time, but it was the mental toll that was the hardest to deal with. I felt completely isolated. I constantly had difficult thoughts running through my head, “I’m going to be in pain the rest of my life! I’m not going to be able to have kids! I’m the only person in the world going through this!”
It was only until I found some support that I realised I wasn’t the only one suffering from this. I changed my mindset, in regard to my diseases, and things started to improve. I now embody moto that, “you should not let your disease or diagnoses define you” and I’ll be talking more about this at the 2019 Rural Women’s Health Forum.
One of the main driving forces inspiring me to create the Rural Women’s Health Forum is the desire to make women feel connected and supported in regard to their health. Forum attendees will be introduced to a collective of amazing health professionals and likeminded women, so they know they have a supportive tribe behind them and can always take small steps to achieving better health. The Rural Women’s Health Forum is full of nourishment from the inside out. There is optional yoga in the morning, healthy nutritious foods, amazing speakers from the local and wider community, goodie boxes and a place for participants to relax and unwind.
At this stage this event is only being coordinated in western Victoria at Dunkeld, at the base of the Grampians, however, my goal for the next 12 months is to bring similar events to regional communities all over Australia.
If you’d like more information about the 2019 Rural Women’s Health Forum in Dunkeld, you can head to my website and I’d love to hear for you if you’d like me to run an event like this in a community near you!