A lot of self-care was going on in Fort Scott on Tuesday, May 26, during the first annual Spring into Summer Self-Care Fair. To celebrate Mental Health Month, we placed a significant emphasis on self-care, as it’s an element of mental health awareness that everyone should practice.
We felt the evening was a big success! But, more important than a gym full of patrons or lots of vendor booths – our goal was to help our community. If we even helped one person to engage in self-care or helped them realize how essential even a few moments of self-care is, we feel our efforts have paid off.
Why is self-care important?
Engaging in self-care has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, decrease stress, and increase happiness. But, the statistics prove that engaging in self-care is not only good for our mental health, but it’s also key for good physical health, too, by reducing risks for heart disease, stroke, and cancer, among other conditions.
We know that people lead busy lives and have a lot of responsibilities. Regardless of how difficult it may seem to find some time for self-care, our goal of the self-care fair was to help people realize that they can squeeze in self-care in many different ways. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time.
What happened at the event?
Attendees of the self-care fair learned about many different aspects of self-care from 23 groups/organizations/businesses. Vendors represented self-care avenues ranging from exercise to gardening to shopping to reading – and MORE! Vendors included:
- Author Maranda Collins
- Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department
- The Massage Artist
- SEK Recovery Resources
- Fort Scott Public Library
- Fort Scott Walking Labyrinth
- Momentum Training
- Mmm Flavor
- K-State Research & Extension
- Riggs Chiropractic of Fort Scott
- Courtland Hotel & Spa
- Flying P Ranch
- Renewed Strength, LLC
- Azar Health and Wellness
- Faithfully Fit Forever Yoga
- Desert Bloom Boutique
- Happy Snappy Art
- Mary Kay
- Bourbon County Garden Club
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, SEK Chapter
- Better in Bourbon
Fair attendees got massages, learned about local resources, discovered volunteering opportunities, shopped for goodies, explored healthy products, and encountered new ways to pamper themselves. Nearly everyone left with a smile and the knowledge that there are many opportunities for self-care in our own backyards.
What were the micro-sessions about?
Throughout the evening, presenters led the crowd in a few topics of self-care that we felt deserved some specific attention. These were very brief micro-sessions, but they represented significant things we can do for ourselves that give us a boost. Micro-sessions included:
- Kim Schwab, offender registration clerk, Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office: Kim talked to attendees about personal empowerment and ways to stay safe. It’s unfortunate that our world is not always a safe, secure environment. But, with knowledge comes power, according to Kim. She shared details about the importance of being prepared to protect yourself, helpful resources, and ways to find assistance when you need it.
- Certified Yoga Instructor Megan Hageman: Megan led participants through a relaxing routine of chair yoga. Many people experience physical restrictions, and regular yoga is not something they can participate in. Megan demonstrated that they can still engage in yoga, even when they may have restrictions. Additionally, chair yoga is great for when you’re at work, but you need to fit in a few yoga stretches to relieve some stress or anxiety.
- Lea Kay Karleskint, SNAP educator, K-State Research & Extension: Incorporating healthy foods into your diet is an important element of self-care. Lea Kay demonstrated how you can easily utilize items from your standard grocery list to create homemade goodies that are better for you than the convenience items many of us pick up on the way home from work. She shared how many recipes are not difficult or time-consuming and compared nutritional value with their fast-food counterparts. (She also provided yummy samples!)
- Katie Holtzman, DPT, and Mallory Naff, DPT, Renewed Strength, LLC: Katie and Mallory shared mobility and strength training exercises that will help your body move better and reduce the risk of injury. Taking care of your body is an integral part of self-care, and bodily movement elevates your mood. In addition to all of the mental health benefits you receive from getting active, you’re also enhancing your physical health when you exercise. But, it’s essential to move in a mindful way that reduces the risk of injury.
Food was available!
In addition to our nutrition/food micro-session, the Fort Scott High School choir offered up a baked potato fundraiser, so that guests could grab a quick dinner on their way to or from the fair. Food is good for the soul!
There was music, too!
In addition to all the fun vendor activity and the micro-sessions, the Fort Scott High School orchestra entertained the crowd with upbeat music during the festivities. Music is scientifically proven to impact our brains, increasing feelings of happiness and pleasure. It can reduce symptoms of depression, increase emotional expression, address loneliness or despair, and elevate coping skills. Music has been proven to be effective in reducing negative behaviors by those experiencing extreme mental health challenges.
The first 100 attendees got a FREE Bluetooth speaker!
As a reward for coming early, attendees went home with a FREE signature SEKMHC Bluetooth speaker. What better way to listen to music, tune into meditation playlists, learn from podcasts, or “read” audiobooks than a portable speaker? You can also check out our Spotify playlists at SEKMHC!
All in all, the evening was a big success! Attendees and vendors, alike, exited the festivities with smiles on their faces and bags of goodies. “This was great!” and “Please, do this again!” were frequent comments we heard from our fairgoers. Our vendors gave us raving reviews and feedback that included wishing to be a part of our event next year!
The most important message we can leave you with about self-care is to always remember that you’re worth it. It isn’t selfish – it’s something you need! Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, lengthy, or extravagant. It can be as simple as taking 30 minutes to visit our next Self-Care Fair!