"I'm lucky, some people can't get out of that place."
Those are the words of Wairakei dairy farm manager Jason Halford, who has bounced back from burnout to take control of his life.
It's important to acknowledge the impact the pandemic is having on your mental state, says Jason, who manages six dairy farms for Pāmu Farms just north of Taupō.
He knows all about pressure, having suffered from burnout as a self-employed sharemilker, and then taken 18 months to make big changes in his life.
In his case, the burnout came through a relentless work schedule where he didn't take any time off because he wanted everything to be perfect. At his lowest point, he worked every day for a year.
"I've got a personality trait where I always want to get A+".
He would find himself in tears and couldn't understand why. It all ended when he had a sore back and was picking up the feet of a lame cow.
"I rang a friend, I was in tears. I said I'd had enough and couldn't do it anymore. I was extremely tired."
He empathises with business owners who are doing it tough because of the pandemic.
"Finding staff is a big issue. Without them, you've got to work longer hours to go on ticking those boxes.
"For the self-employed, the cash flow is always three months behind. They're under massive pressure."
Jason now knows the trigger points, and says looking after his wellbeing is something he will always have to be careful about.
Key things for him are taking regular holidays away from the farm, and playing tennis at the local tennis club.
"Tennis takes me away from my work and it's great to be around people who don't know me and who talk about different things."
He says it's going to be the community that gets each and every one of us through the pandemic.
There are extra challenges for people working in the outdoors with deteriorating mental health. Asking for help can be difficult if there is patchy phone coverage, you're working by yourself or in an isolated place.
Jason has some advice for anyone who works in the outdoors and thinks they may have burnout.
"If you are that person, you have to do something. Stop critiquing yourself so much and take the wins.
"Don't be scared to pick up the phone and ring a helpline. The worst thing that can happen is you'll get some advice.
"Take a break. Longevity comes from taking time off work."
His advice to those who are worried about a friend or workmate is to persist with efforts to get through to that person.
"Pick up the phone and talk. The longer you talk, the more comfortable they are [with opening up]."
"Ask the question 'are you all right?' Be prepared for when someone says 'no I'm not'."
Jason says he and his wife Nicky look back to when he was unwell and can see that his mind was fighting with his body. His mind was telling him to keep going and his body needed a rest.
He says he was fortunate to come out the other side and continue with a successful career.
Jason says his friends, men in their 40s and 50s, talk to one another much more about meaningful issues, compared with the previous generation.
"There's nothing wrong with a bit of man love."
In the past couple of months, Taupō life coach and mentor Helen Puente has worked with three outdoor/rural employees who felt they had little or no control in their lives.
Helen says stress and burnout are different things - people who are stressed are struggling and reactive, but people with burnout have blunted emotions, feel they are at a dead end, and have a sense of detachment in their relationships.
She said these outdoor workers were feeling a lot of pressure.
"They got to the point where they felt there was nothing left to give."
Tips for those suffering from burnout
Helen says the first step is to reach out to someone 'who is a positive person and won't dramatise the situation' and secondly to identify what is behind the burnout, 'where is the negative energy coming from?'
A third step is to realise that you have taken on too much and to develop a way to say no in a positive way.
A fourth step is to take yourself out of the situation and to offer help to others as this gives you a boost and lowers stress.
Lastly, addressing sleep, exercise and diet are essential if you are unwell. Helen says two of her farming clients were heavy drinkers.
"Alcohol temporarily eases anxiety, but too much can be a downer. One of these clients is now dry and the other is now no longer an angry drunk."