Success StoryCrafting for Self Care



Crafting for Self Care

Author: Chelsea Young

Planning Unit: Gallatin County CES

Major Program: Active Living and Health Promotions General

Plan of Work: Developing Healthier Families with Diet and Physical Activity

Outcome: Initial Outcome

Stress is something that affects all of us at some point in our lives and if left unchecked can contribute to many health complications including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity to name a few. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the number of Americans that rated their mental health as fair to poor increased from 31% to 37% at the end of 2022 and stated “More than one in four (26%) reported they anticipated experiencing more stress at the start of 2023, up from one in five (20%) last year. At the same time, 29% American adults indicated they’d adopt new year’s resolutions related to their mental health, up three percentage points from last year.” A few of the noted resolutions that were focused on mental health included exercise, meditation, therapy, and journaling. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in February 2021, symptoms of anxiety and depression were reported by 43.6% of Kentuckians. Based on all this information and seeing these issues in the local communities, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agents from Boone and Owen Counties created the program, Crafting for Self-Care. This program was a three-part series that took place in both Boone and Owen Counties in the evening. Each evening consisted of a discussion on self-care and mental health followed by time to work on a craft. The program was provided at no cost to the participants.

On the first evening, different types of self-care and pinpointing feelings were discussed, giving participants a variety of ideas to consider regarding self-care. A handout that discussed what self-care is and why it is important was provided to participants along with a handout of a feelings wheel. The first craft chosen was diamond art. This is a fun and addicting craft that can be done in both smaller projects as well as larger ones, depending on the individual. The diamond art provided was one that no one in the class would be able to complete, allowing participants to be able to take home the project to finish later, giving them self-care options to work on after the class. It was expressed by multiple participants that they enjoyed the diamond art so much, they had purchased and completed more since the class as part of their new self-care routine.

The topic discussed on the second evening was self-care planning and a planner was provided to participants to give them a chance to plan out their self-care routine. Many enjoyed this activity and liked the idea of making a plan for themselves. The second evening’s chosen craft was string art. This was a challenging craft demonstrating that a part of self-care can be challenging yourself and learning something new. There were a few participants that preferred this craft over diamond art for the simple fact that they had the opportunity to be a little more creative and unique.

The third and final night consisted of candle making and a discussion recapping types of self-care, the importance of self-care, and preventing stress and its effects through self-care. Participants were able to make soy jar candles to take home to add to their self-care routine. Participants were surprised at how easy it was to make the candles and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The UK handout, Calming the Storm Preventing Distress Self-Care Checklist, was provided to participants.

At the beginning and end of each class, participants answered a 2-question survey asking them to rate their stress level on a scale from 1 to 5 and their mental health on a scale from very poor to very good in order to see if working on the craft had any effect. There were 43, 24, and 25 participants on nights 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Every single night there was an overall improvement in stress level and by the end of the program, overall mental health had improved among the participants.

On nights 2 and 3, participants were able to recall the information discussed previously in the series. Multiple participants commented at the end of the series that they want agents to continue this program and provided more ideas of crafts to consider.

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