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Monday, June 24, 2024

The UF Women’s Student Association will host a self-care fair Friday on Plaza of the Americas to commemorate Women’s History Month. The fair focuses on the importance of taking time to take care of oneself and how self-love and acceptance can drastically improve both mental and physical health.

Alexandra Woodard, a 24-year-old Florida State University alumna, said she was looking for things to do while visiting Gainesville and was drawn to the event’s promotion of self-love in a time when society warns women that taking time to focus on oneself is “selfish.”

“Society is always telling women their focus should be on men or finding a man or even taking care of their kids,” said Woodard. “Women are running everything, but it’s still never about us. That in itself makes life kind of stressful for women, so I think we need more time to just focus on our own needs.”

The fair will include a variety of activities such as free yoga on the lawn, DIY lip and body scrub, learning how to make the perfect sleep kit taught by GatorWell Health Promotion Services and the chance to grab free face masks, tote bags, candles and more.

Makayla Nicholas, an 18-year-old UF business management freshman, said the fact that she was on a tight college budget and couldn’t normally splurge on skincare attracted her to the event. She also liked that it was more focused towards self-love and resting instead of just aiming to achieve nice skin and beauty standards.

“We can be so caught up in our day-to-day activities that we can forget how to take care of and truly love ourselves,” Nicholas said. “If we don’t love who we are, not just based on how we love or our material possessions, we can’t possibly be able to genuinely pour that love into our education, career, communities, families, friends, pets and others we interact with.”

Nicholas stresses how, especially with the pressure of classes and grades, taking just 15 minutes a day to set aside as “me time” can positively benefit our mental health and self-image.

“If we aren’t healthy, we won’t be able to actively live and enjoy the lives we are trying to build,” Nicholas said.

Gainesville’s Pace Center for Girls, an organization that strives to provide young women the opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy, will be in attendance collecting hygiene products. For every hygiene product package you bring, you will be entered to win a raffle.

Nicholas said that she’s interested in helping out and applauds the organization for the work that they do.

“It’s important that they are doing this because we need to help our young girls, take care of them, love them, educate them, mentor them and support them,” Nicholas said.

The free Women’s History Month Self-Care Fair will be Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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