When we usher in a New Year, the usual resolutions come flooding in, writes FUW Brecon and Radnor Executive Officer Kath Shaw.

There are ambitious plans in the pipeline and many of us think about what we can, should and want to achieve. There is nothing wrong with having a challenge or big plans ahead but it gets a bit tricky when those plans and ambitions start to negatively affect our mental health.

The winter months in particular can present a challenging time for our mental health, with having to face dark mornings and long dark nights, severe weather conditions and for some the worry of having to choose between eating and heating as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.

A good way to boost our mood and feel more positive is to be active and socialise. The FUW is doing 2 of those things over the coming weeks and we hope many of you will be joining us either in our walking challenge or for breakfast.

This month we are once again taking part in one of the biggest walking and running challenges, as we join together to inspire rural communities to take to the countryside to help improve their mental health.

The #Run1000 2024 challenge calls on people throughout the month of January to take time for themselves and go out for a walk or a run with the encouragement of others while sharing the social and mental health benefits of exercising. Please take some time for yourself to beat the January blues and think about your own mental health. This is a great way to get your daily exercise and we encourage everyone in our rural communities to join this worthy cause.

We are also looking forward to our annual farmhouse breakfast week, which this year starts on Monday 15 January. Our teams across Wales are arranging breakfast events at county level and we very much look forward to catching up with many of you then as well. It is always an excellent opportunity to share what’s on your mind over a great breakfast and a cuppa!

On a final thought this week - what is important is to be aware of how you are feeling, understand your triggers and most of all be kind to yourself and your loved ones. If you experience a change in mood or notice it in family and friends, please don’t be afraid to seek help.