The Joys of Experiencing Nature From Your Cubicle

Katie Corbett holds the book "52 Small Changes"

By Katie Corbett

 

Winter in Wisconsin is a frigid affair. Temperatures regularly dip below zero degrees Fahrenheit and snow blankets the ground from December through March. Due to the lack of sunlight, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during these freezing months, which makes me more prone to unhappiness at best and depression at worst.

 

One winter a few years ago, I read “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” by Brett Blumenthal, in hopes of finding a way to brighten my mood. I was working a job as a part-time writer and didn’t have much time to spend outside during daylight hours. I was also missing our family’s annual trip to Florida because I needed to work through the end of the year.

 

In “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” benefits of going out in nature are outlined. I wanted to incorporate nature into my cold days. I was really bummed about missing out on Florida sunshine and time at the beach. I read that even looking at pictures of nature and having plants in your environment can help boost mood and productivity.

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m totally blind, so seeing pictures and plants don’t have the same benefits for me as they might for someone who can see. I wanted to find some other way of appreciating the great outdoors. Enter YouTube.

 

I decided to try listening to videos of the ocean. I wasn’t sure how it would help; luckily, it did. As I plugged away at spreadsheets and wrote articles, I listened to the sounds of waves, seagulls, and ocean breezes. On sunnier days, I made a point of stepping outside during my lunchbreak for some much-needed vitamin D. With a little creativity and curiosity, I was able to push past what might have seemed like understandable excuses and make my wintertime more cheery, or at least more bearable.

 

What are some ways you can incorporate nature into your workday? I’d love some more ideas, so let me know in the comments.

 

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How to Keep Improving at Your Craft, Five Tips

Katie Corbett holds a book

By Katie Corbett

Whether you are a writer or a painter, a secretary or a realtor, it is a good idea to set aside time to get better at what you do. I had to learn that lesson recently when my boss suggested I get some writing coaching. It was hard to let go of my ego at first, I will admit. In the end, though, it turned out to be a great experience to learn from someone who has been writing professionally for 20 years.

In her book, “What the most Successful People do at Work,” Laura Vanderkam says it is always a benefit to yourself and your company to improve at your work. Here are some ways I am keeping the cycle of improvement going in my own job:

1. My writing coach recommended a book that helped her improve her writing, and I plan to go through one chapter a month to finish it in a year.
2. I have started networking with others in my field to ask their advice about aspects of writing on which I want to improve.
3. Each week, I have check-in conversations with my boss about my writing and how I can grow.
4. I recently joined a group of local businesswomen and am learning from them.
5. I signed up to attend two professional development conferences in the coming months, which will be learning and networking opportunities for me.

Even if you aren’t a writer, try one of these ideas if any of them resonated with you. Countless ways exist to improve in a career. If you have found one that works for you, leave it in the comments. I would love to try it. As you may have noticed, I never recommend anything without trying it for myself first.

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