Leading Laker Kayla Cupples

Kayla Cupples on top of a mountain

After completing her master’s degree in December 2019, Kayla Cupples—assistant director of marketing for Recreation & Wellness —has begun to re-focus on her personal wellbeing. With the pressure of school, her normal exercise routine began feeling like a chore. Kayla has since started to implement new ways to improve her physical, emotional, and mental wellness.

Staying active has always been a priority in Kayla’s life. She used to play volleyball 2-3x per week, and while she still commits a big part of her exercising to that, she recently began mixing it up with Group Exercise classes through Recreation & Wellness, CKO Kickboxing, and yoga too. “I try to sweat at least once per day,” Kayla says. To keep up with her active lifestyle, Kayla limits her intake of sugary drinks and focuses on drinking enough water throughout the day.

Though physical activity and nutrition are important to Kayla, wellness is about much more than that. In order to manage her mental health as well, she is working on being present in the moment and being more intentional about her screen time. Kayla plays a large role in the Recreation & Wellness Unplugged campaign, and she says, “Unplugging has helped me to understand that technology negatively impacts my relationships, friendships, and connections with others, which are the most valuable parts of my life.” For Kayla, unplugging looks like turning off her Apple Watch notifications, putting away her phone in social situations, reading more books, and spending less time on social media.

“Time seems to be a scarce resource these days, and spending less time on social media has freed up time to do so many other things that are valuable to me. I realized what an addiction it can be and how much I was comparing myself to others, which just added anxiety and pressure to be doing more and being something other than myself.”

Focusing on herself has helped Kayla feel more connected with others and grow her relationships. Her efforts have also allowed her to be more productive, both at work and at home, and have given her a greater sense of gratitude overall. Lately, her upcoming wedding has been a huge motivator, but she says staying motivated and positive is ultimately about balance. Kayla says she regularly balances things she enjoys, like pizza and tacos, with how much she’s exercising.

“There will always be days that you don’t feel like yourself, lack motivation, want to watch movies and relax instead, and I think those days are just as important as the days you’re dripping sweat for an hour.”

If you’re looking to adopt a more balanced lifestyle, Kayla says it’s important to “be true to yourself and find things you enjoy.” She recommends starting with the resources offered at GVSU, and then branch out! Spending time away from technology—however that looks for you—is another great first step. “Part of ‘unplugging’ is balancing the time I spend on social media with time spent with others. Be present in the moment you’re in and build deeper connections with those around you; those connections often help get you through the days you need someone to help motivate you.”