The beginning of a new year is a time when many wipe the slate clean and start afresh, resolutions are made, and not always kept, and goals are set, writes NFU Cymru President Aled Jones.

But how many of us have decided to look after our mental health this year?

We often focus on our physical health, a bad back, a sore throat, an aching knee, but we frequently forget about our mental health, which is just as, if not more, important. This time of year can be hard on many people, cold, dark nights and miserable weather, meaning many are isolated for long periods of time, not getting out and about to see people. Keeping in touch with friends and family can help keep things in perspective and remind you that you are not alone. Make time to talk to people who matter to you, you’d be surprised how many other people are feeling the same way as you and a chat, whether in person, on the phone or via text message could really help.

Taking time to do something that you enjoy, something that makes you happy, at least once a week can also help. Take some time off the farm, or go for a walk around the beautiful countryside, or read a book, whatever it is that you enjoy doing, embrace it.

Looking after our mental and physical health goes hand in hand, and working on the one, can also help the other. Try to be physically fit and healthy. Ensure you are eating regularly and healthily, which will make you feel better mentally. Farming is an active job anyway but try a new exercise class or go for a walk to clear your mind, but don’t forget to rest as well. All these things are important for well-rounded good health.

Even while doing all these things, we can still have bad days, and that is okay. Try not to let these bad days get to you, and take over; take a deep breath, tomorrow is a new day. If you are finding it hard to move on or are struggling, then asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. The social stigma around mental health is finally reducing, and more people are talking about this important issue than ever before. Never forget that help is out there. Whether that is talking to friends and family about how you are feeling, or calling one of the many helplines available, a problem shared really is a problem halved, and you may even find others are feeling the same way as you.

All of NFU Cymru’s staff have undertaken mental health training with The DPJ Foundation and also have a number of trained mental health first aiders. You can also contact one of the many services available here in Wales for more support including The DPJ Foundation, RABI, FCN and Tir Dewi.

Remember, it’s good to talk!