For many Gippsland dairy farmers, the summer holiday season has been anything but relaxing.
While neighbours and friends have been chasing waves, fish or golf balls, those who are struggling with difficult seasonal conditions have been busy chasing feed and water supplies.
No-one in the industry is asking for sympathy. We all understand it's a tough game sometimes, just as we appreciate that life on the farm is rewarding when things are going well.
It's important, however, that we take the time to consider the personal cost of a hard season for farming families.
Stress, whether it is financial, physical or emotional, will eventually take its toll if nothing is done to relieve it.
We know that stress on cows will affect their performance, so we go to great lengths to formulate the correct diets for optimal output in the milk shed. How many of us put the same level of thought into our own diets?
Farmers put in the time and effort to regularly service vital machinery to ensure that it won't break down when a job needs to be done. How many of us take care of our own physical and mental health in the same way?
The middle of a harsh spell might not seem to be the time to be talking about such things; but if not now, when?
Just a chat with the family to plan some time away in a couple of months could be just the light at the end of the tunnel that you need; it’s a kind of finishing line so you can have a break before getting back to the business of farming.
You might not be able to have that fortnight in Queensland you've been dreaming about, but a few days on our local beaches with your family might just be the recharge needed to keep things on track and in perspective.
For those who reckon neighbours or friends might be feeling the pinch during summer, make sure you drop around or give them a call so that they know there is someone they can have a chat to. If you can talk them into a morning's fishing, all the better.
Gippsland dairy farmers are very good at looking after their animals and their pastures, but sometimes we can forget about the industry's greatest asset – us!
While it's been a rocky start to 2016 for many in the region, we need to look after ourselves and those around us to make sure we're all in good condition for the rest of the year and many years beyond.