Because of the remote locations of most mine sites, it makes it very difficult to drive home after work, and FIFO jobs will have you onsite away from your family and friends for weeks on end. One of the most important things about working in mining, is that if you are on FIFO or DIDO jobs, you need to set a constructed plan for your days off, so you are refreshed, revitalised and mentally balanced before you head out for the next swing.
Your time off should be a relaxing week, but not too relaxing. Not only should it be a relaxing time for you, but it should also be a time for your partner to relax also. As FIFO roles are a fulltime job for 3 weeks on end, so is parenting. So if you have kids, it’s really important that you spend quality time with them, while at the same time giving your partner a break from them as well. Pick your kids up from school, take them to the park or the beach, ride bikes with them, surf with them, ENJOY them!
On your week off, it is imperative to stay to your routine as much as possible for when you go back to site. Don’t sleep all day, in fact stick to sleeping within 2 hours over what your normal routine would be onsite. Breaking your work routine habits can lump you with sleep depravity and additional unnecessary stress when you go back to site, so if you normally wake at 4, don’t sleep past 6 on your time off, no matter how tempting it is.
Be active in your time off. Your body will adapt very quickly to unwanted changes and make it difficult to get back into the swing of things. Go surfing, cycling, running, gym or visit friends or family. Your mental health will thank you for it in the long run.
Make the most of where you live. If you are on the coast, go to the beach. If you are in the city, visit places you love going to. Just remain active all week. Of course you don’t want to overdo it, but if you just lay around all week watching TV, your mental health will be seriously affected. Although there is a fine line between, it’s all about keeping the balance between what is good for you, relaxing and maintaining solid relationships with family and friends.
If you are struggling mentally with FIFO work, make sure a part of your routine when you go home is to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Whether it’s a family member or friend, or psychologist, it MUST be made a part of your routine, because your life depends on it.
Here is a list of numbers that you can call to speak to someone: