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FIFO Stressful or Not?

For many families The FIFO life works well. Everyone adapts, the financial benefits are good, and they just ease into the change every few weeks. The advantage of having time apart is apparent for some, and they enjoy the change and the unpredictable lifestyle.

For others the stress of being apart, the ever-changing routine, the fatigue and isolation can cause stress and anxiety that builds.

It has frequently been recognised that FIFO workers can experience high levels of stress working long hours, travelling, and being away from family and friends.

It can be isolating and uncomfortable working in remote areas. Conditions may be unfavourable with long days and limited food choices. Workers may feel locked into this lifestyle due to financial pressures and supporting their families. This can give rise to the sense of being trapped , which can easily lead to anxiety and sometimes even depression.

When situations become too stressful people will often look for a solution in drugs, alcohol, or other addictive behaviours.

When FIFO workers have their weeks at home it can also be stressful for the rest of the family adapting to them suddenly being around. The worker may feel exhausted from long hours and need sleep and rest. The expectation may be that they need to support their partner, who may be equally exhausted having had no respite. Spending time with the kids, and catching up on jobs around the house can become the the main focus.

It’s easy to see how this lifestyle does not suit all and can put pressure on family, friends, and children.

There are steps that can be taken to relieve this pressure. Time spent outdoors doing fun activities and not making home time all about chores. Some jobs can wait, there are more important aspects to life, especially when the kids are young. Plan some relaxation time, see if a friend or family can have the kids for a few hours, make it a special time not a stressful time where possible.

Allow the first few days together to be a bit tense while everyone is adapting and feeling tired. Try to see things from both sides, not put too much pressure on each other and work together.

Most importantly keep communicating. If you say nothing your partner won’t know what you expect of them, your needs, or how you are feeling!

If you are struggling with mental health issues always reach out whether it’s a friend, family or healthcare professional. There are plenty of choices out there and someone will always be able to give you some guidance.

If you would like to comment or highlight the stress or enjoyment in your profession pop a message in the box below or feel free to email me with any suggestions or concerns.

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