Kerry Lifeline

Make Hay

This article explores what the links are between the proverb ‘Whan the sunne shinth make hay. Whiche is to say. Take time whan time cometh, lest time steale away.’  And no, there are no spelling mistakes, this was written in about 1546, and yes, we can still learn from things written way back then.


In the past farmers could only look at the sky or feel the wind to predict the weather, plus it took much longer to cut, dry and gather the hay and so if it was sunny it was just common sense to make hay while the sun shone. But now, years later what is the link with this and mental health? If you make hay while the sun shines, it means that you take advantage of the chance to do something while conditions are good. In other words, you make good use of your time or make the most of an opportunity while you have the chance.

So the key word here is opportunity, so often we regret later in life that we did not take the opportunity that was presented, maybe fear held us back, maybe we did not feel confident enough. Or maybe we did not trust our judgement, and we let somebody else’s voice be louder in our head and heart than ours. So we need to take stock of the situations that present themselves and realise when an opportunity has arisen that we could make the most from, or more than we have believed was possible. It may need us to be creative, to allow our minds to day dream the possibilities so that they can become realities.


The other important aspect of the hay and the sunshine and mental health, especially in Ireland and in farming, is that hay is baled for when the winter comes and to feed the animals that are safely tucked inside the barn to protect them from freezing. Now sometimes we have store up that ‘sunshine’ or good moment or opportunity to see us through the difficult times in our life. Imagine if we could ‘bale’ up a happy feeling or moment for when the winter or sadness or painful times crosses our paths. Even better would be to actually plan for the future by taking advantage of the current opportunities. An example of this would be to keep thinking of how we can do positive things, surround ourselves with positive people and things and that way ensure we have a safety net for when things may become difficult.


SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre.

Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide.   

To make an appointment call 064 6636416/064 66364100

SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision