Cayla Kelly, appeals specialist, spent years developing and fine-tuning her wise and well routine, both through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s (BCBSNE) fitness center and in her free time.
She began at BCBSNE as a customer service representative and worked in this role for two years before becoming an appeals specialist, a position she has held for four and a half years. Additionally, she goes to school full time for healthcare administration and plans to graduate in 2023.
“I don’t really have a lot of free time, but when I do, I like to cook, hang out with my nieces and work out,” says Kelly. “My workout of choice is dance or dance fitness. That’s my love. I hate the treadmill and anything cardio, but I can do cardio if it has to do with dance.”
Classes at her local YMCA motivated Kelly to stay active ever since 2016. However, the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 put a temporary halt to her progress. From Kelly’s perspective, this allowed her to reflect on her wise and well journey up to that point.
“When I think of what keeps me going, I think of the long-term benefits,” says Kelly. “I stopped doing it (exercising) for a while, and I could just tell taking time off took a toll on my body physically. With the pandemic, you take a lot for granted physically.”
For Kelly, knowing she completed classes and workouts in the past pushed her to continue when she could return to the gym. This also pushed her to organize her days and form a routine, which she stresses helped her mental health.
When she considers what advice she would give to someone interested in beginning their fitness journey, she offers two suggestions that led to positive outcomes in her experience.
“Take one step at a time,” says Kelly. “Don’t try to conquer five things at once; focus on one. It doesn’t need to be running on the treadmill, or something so overwhelming you feel like you’ll never make it. Start small. Conquer that goal, stay consistent and make it something you enjoy. You can just build on that.”
Her second piece of advice, especially for an individual getting back into their fitness journey after a pause, is to not make comparisons to the past.
“You may compare yourself to another season in your life where you didn’t have so much on your plate and you were able to accomplish more,” says Kelly. “Don’t compare your current self to your old self because you’re in a new season now.”
Finally, Kelly urges BCBSNE employees to take advantage of the onsite fitness center by visiting regularly for personal workouts or to join the classes. The area includes cardio machines, weightlifting equipment and open spaces for aerobics exercises, providing various options for personal interests.
“Just don’t give up because those small steps turn into big, beneficial habits,” Kelly says.
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