By: Emily Wyonzek, Cotton Board Director of Operations
Is anyone else out there starting to feel down while you’re sheltering in place? Or maybe going a little stir crazy and feeling isolated? Or maybe you’re overwhelmed trying to work, now homeschooling kids, cooking three meals a day and doing all those dishes?
I’m sure you’ve looked at best practices for keeping your sanity during this strange time of social distancing. I’m reminding myself to be grateful that I can get outside every day and go for a run and take my dogs for a long walk. I’m practicing yoga via Zoom to connect with other yogis. I’m trying to stay in touch with friends and family through video chats and phone calls. The best is when I get to talk to my nieces and nephews for a few minutes.
(Cute kids, huh? Caroline, Violet, Channing and Caeden- Lauren and Alden are too cool for FaceTime with Aunt Em.)
Employee health and wellness have long been a priority of Cotton Board management. I’ve been lucky enough to manage Team Cotton, our wellness program since its inception. Team Cotton is a great way to encourage staff to take care of their bodies. We believe that healthy and happy employees make the best employees.
Over the years, we’ve had competitive challenges with staff to drink 64 oz. of water each day, follow USDA’s MyPlate recommendations to eat all of their fruits and vegetables, walk 10,000 steps per day, or even do 45 minutes of exercise five days a week.
Right now, we are more concerned about our employees’ mental health and happiness. Not only are we working very differently by staying isolated at home, we also have the added fear and concern brought on by COVID-19. I don’t have to tell you that everyone is worried about health, finances, the cotton crop, retail stores closing, cancelled meetings and so on. That extra anxiety is hard on all of us.
To try to keep our Cotton Board staff’s spirits lifted we have introducing the Planting Positivity Bingo game. The goal of this game is to connect with co-workers while completing each square on the Bingo card. Each square holds a challenge such as, “share a picture of yourself in kindergarten,” “tell your best dad joke,” or “make a new healthy recipe and share it.” Our staff has until May 1st to do each challenge and fill their card. Everyone who completes it will have a surprise waiting for them when we are all back at work in the office. The challenges are interactive between staff and will use a digital platform to foster connection and conversation.
My favorite challenge from Planting Positivity Bingo is to share one thing you’re thankful for. I encourage all of you to remember to be grateful for something every day. I know I am always grateful for the cotton industry, and I love getting to support our staff’s physical and mental health.