Under normal circumstances, spring can be a stressful time for retailers and their customers. This year, however, has the added challenges of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep reading for some tips from Do More Ag and others to help cope with this stressful time.

The Do More Agriculture Foundation (Do More Ag) is a non-profit dedicated to championing the mental health of those in agriculture. Through their social media accounts, the organization recently shared some tips for improving emotional well-being and coping with stress including:

  • Remember that when it comes to COVID-19 or the start of seeding, we are all in it together. Sending a text, picking up the phone or even video calling a friend or family member can make all the difference.
  • Reach out for help if you need it. Crisis Services Canada provides support by telephone at 1-833-456-4566 or by text at 45645.
  • If COVID-19 news is making you feel overwhelmed, set a daily media/news limit. Ask a friend to notify you if you are worried about missing something important.

At the 2020 CAAR Conference, Do More Ag’s executive director, Adelle Stewart, told delegates that practicing mindfulness can also help during stressful times and shared simple ways for retailers to bring mindfulness into their daily routines.

“It can be as simple as taking ten seconds before going into a meeting or letting the phone ring a couple extra times,” Stewart told delegates. “That may just be enough to change your perspective.”

For a list of local and national crisis lines and websites serving the agricultural community, visit Do More Ag's resources page.

Cultivating Mental Health

In 2018, The Communicator featured Do More Ag and one of its partners, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), in a story about how to create a culture of mental health at the retail level, especially during times when stress levels are up.

Some key take-aways from that story, which are especially relevant today, are:

  • Make mental health a part of the everyday conversation.
  • Look for signs that someone is struggling, such as a change in behaviour or personality.
  • Check in frequently with staff and customers; listen for cues that an employee needs help, like normal venting that escalates, and take action.

Read the full article here: Cultivating Mental Health https://caar.org/the-communicator/august-2018/854-cultivating-mental-health

Do More Ag’s "Ways to Change a Life"

Talk More: Talk about mental health with your friends, family and coworkers. Share your own experiences or say why mental health matters.

Ask More: Ask questions about mental health and mental illness. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask others how they are doing in a meaningful way.

Listen More: Listen to understand, rather than listening to respond. You don’t have to know the answers – sometimes all people need is to be heard.

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