THE run up to Christmas is traditionally a mix of frenzied preparation and excited anticipation, writes FUW president Glyn Roberts.

Cards and gifts to be prepared and sent.

Then there are the last-minute shopping trips to make sure nobody runs out of food and drink.

In Wales, we are particularly blessed in terms of the food on offer.

Much of the best tasting food in the world is produced here to excellent animal health and welfare, as well as environmental standards.

There is no better time than the Christmas break to sample some of that locally produced food.

I hope some of it will feature in your upcoming Christmas dinner.

But not everything is festive and bright at this time of year.

The nights are long and dark.

The weather can be cold, wet and windy.

If you’re working outside, like most of our farmers do every day, it can be especially challenging - mentally and physically.

In addition, the financial burden that Christmas brings or the pressure to have the perfect celebration brings its own stress.

The disappointment if it is not what it was built up to be can be a massive ‘low’ after the ‘high’ of the anticipated perfect Christmas.

With this in mind I’d like to remind you that it’s okay not to be okay.

If you are struggling with your mental health over the festive period, or a member of the family is having a tough time, there is always help at hand.

In Wales we are fortunate that we have charities that will offer trained help, even if it’s just a sympathetic ear.

The DPJ Foundation’s ‘Share the Load’ service is definitely worth remembering.

Talking is a great way of dealing with low moods and poor mental health.

It’s not a sign of weakness. So do pick up the phone or send the DPJ Foundation a text.

Or have a chat with a friend or family member - just don’t suffer in silence.

If you feel that you or someone you know would benefit from a fully funded counselling service at home, in the community, online or by telephone the DPJ Foundation can help support you on 0800 5874262. Text 07860 04879924/7

Another issue at this time of the year, especially with dark nights and mornings, are accidents on the farm.

It usually boils down to rushing around to get things done quickly or cutting corners to finish a job and deal with an ever increasing workload.

So take care this winter when you’re out and about.

Plan the job you have to do.

Farm safety doesn’t stop you from doing anything, it just gets you to do it safer.

On a final note this week, I’d like to wish you and your families all the very best this Christmas.

Our offices are now closed but we are reopening on Tuesday, January 4.