Simona in nature with trees and a small pond in the background

June Wellness Ambassador of the Month | Simona Lara

Quick Summary

  • "Don't be afraid to try something new - you never know what it may develop into."

Wellness Ambassador of the Month
Simona Lara of California Animal Health & Food Safety (CAHFS)

How long have you worked at UC Davis?

I have worked at CA Animal Health & Food Safety (CAHFS) for almost 3 years and love it!

What does Wellness mean to you?

Wellness, for me, changes and develops as time goes on, especially with whatever it is that I may need to focus on within the given period of life or whatever new I may learn. Overall though, I find wellness to mean living a healthy lifestyle to support physical and mental well-being. Really, that encompasses anything - taking time for self-care, treating myself to a new fun activity or delectable snack, creating a routine, pushing myself to learn something new . . . the list goes on.

Why did you become a wellness ambassador?

I have always been interested in being physically active and eating healthy, and when you can do it with the company of others - why not?! I also love to learn and help others; in this role, I can do both.

How long have you been a wellness ambassador?

I have been a wellness ambassador for a little over 2 years. When I was located in Davis, the program was pretty well established so it was such a smooth transition and a lot of fun. Now being in a remote location, it has created some challenges but I am excited to see what we can build here.

What has been the most rewarding or positive part about your experience thus far?

I think seeing the camaraderie and how excited everyone gets around the Walking Challenges is always a fun part for me.

What are some challenges you face as a wellness ambassador, especially through the pandemic?

CAHFS has 4 labs throughout the state, and I am at one of the labs in the Central Valley. With not being near central campus, the accessibility to same amount and variety of activities makes it a little difficult. We have talked about some possibilities and have some ideas in the works, though!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with new wellness ambassadors?

It is a little overwhelming at first not knowing how to get participation or what to do, but start with the basics. Then, as you see what gets people to participate, try to tailor activities, motivators, and timing around that. It is also an ongoing process. Don't be afraid to try something new - you never know what it may develop into.

Staff and Faculty Health and Well-being aims to build an environment that makes the healthier choice the easier one, while providing staff and faculty with the required support to make UC Davis the healthiest community. How do you feel you have contributed to our mission?

I think just making the information more readily accessible. I think quite a few coworkers weren't aware of the Wellness program prior to forwarding information along. I also just try to be a cheerleader when I can and build people up whenever they need some encouragement to do something new or change habits. Even if someone just wants a walking buddy - I will make sure to drop what I can when I can and go for it!

What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

This is such a hard question since it depends on so many things. Like I said - I like to learn so I have a WIDE variety of interests. I've recently discovered a knack for weightlifting. That has been really interesting and rewarding to see what the human body is capable of! I also like to be outdoorsy when the weather allows - camping, flying, and hiking! On a day to day basis, probably reading, working out, and listening to music. Give me something new to learn, and I will probably add it to the list :)

Primary Category

Secondary Categories

Staff and Faculty Health and Well-being