Building Community Virtually: Teacher Kayla Robertson Shares Wellness Tips

Physical Education Teacher and Department Head Kayla Robertson offers tips for staying positive during distance learning. 

  • Athletics
  • Community
  • COVID-19
By Kayla Robertson, Physical Education Teacher, Department Head

Spreading PAWsitivity is my mission! Within the first week of our campus closure, Director of Athletics Rebecca Moe and I knew we had to keep the hearts of the Pumas strong by offering support on a regular basis. We created a new Instagram—@Uprepwellness—to share daily wellness tips and challenges. It’s been great to see the UPrep community respond and participate. One family sent us a message saying they look forward to our posts and they try to participate in them daily. If we can help one family, we know it’s worth it! The UPrep Wellness Committee also continues to provide “after-school” community classes for faculty, staff, students, and their family members; this schedule is posted on Schoology.

Considering the scientific evidence that shows exercise helps reduce your risk of depression, now is the time to prioritize connecting your body and mind with movement. Exercise truly benefits all wellness elements: physical, mental, and social. Many people are grappling with not only missing their usual workout, but also being with their community. If possible, connect with your family through exercise, working together to “be comfortable with discomfort,” which is a motto we practice on the Cross Country Team.

I want to encourage everyone to find new ways to boost their physical activity, from gardening to going for a run. For me, the run is essential for many reasons. Four themes emerged in a recent Why We Run study of more than 25k runners: health, routine, community, and aspiration:

1. Health: we are all trying our best to be healthy—especially during this time of sickness.

2. Routine: we are creating new routines and often miss our old routines.

3. Community: we share our workouts, give kudos to our teammates, and remember that we are all connected.

4. Aspiration: we aspire to be our best selves on a daily basis.

During these days, I often think about Maya Angelou’s quote: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”  

With the change to online learning, I’m not as physically active, even though I still maintain my running throughout the week. So I’ve started to begin my day with yoga, even if it’s a short flow, and then go for more walks around outside. Being outside refreshes everything, even if the weather is less than ideal. I miss the Track Team, and all of my students and colleagues, but I know that we can individually work together to make the dream work. I look forward to a virtual race that will happen toward the end of the year; we will share plans for that soon.

While we are apart, I want to offer you my tips for staying PAWsitive:

Move often: It’s more than getting in a workout. Move throughout the day. Pumas love walking around, changing positions while at a desk or watching TV, and also enjoy getting their heart rates up for a thrilling run, neighborhood walk, or home workout. 

Embrace your individuality but also spend time with the pack: Do the things you love, “dance like nobody’s watching,” and take care of yourself. Whether people call you a mountain lion, or a cougar, remember that you’re always a Puma even from afar! It’s also key to embrace your community, check in on your family and friends with all this amazing tech, or through a lovely handwritten postcard! 

Hydrate & Fuel: Pumas also need a lot of energy for all their hard work, mentally and physically! Aim to still eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day

Rest Well: Pumas do really well on all fronts when they have a full night of sleep. This is the perfect opportunity for you to try to get a routine and at least 8 hours of sleep! Practice some relaxing yoga poses like legs up the wall before bed. 

Since I have truly found positivity through sports and exercise, I’m working hard to maintain a connection in a time when we can’t be together in real time. I hope my tips inspire you to stay strong, and I look forward to connecting with you virtually, whether that’s through Instagram, during an after-school community class, or via email! I’m also always open to helping you create a training plan or supporting any questions you may want to explore. If you’re looking for more fitness resources, there’s a compiled list of fitness and wellness opportunities here.

Have a beautiful day, Pumas!

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