How to have more fun with your coworkers

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I’m a collector of ideas. I read a crazy amount of books and reports and Twitter threads … and I’m always ready to share useful or inspirational tidbits. Here a few ideas that might bring our campus teams together (which gets the creative juices flowing …. and the grant projects popping).

1. Lunch clubs. I’m aware of at least one small group on this campus who occasionally meets for a potluck lunch and board games. I love this idea, and this recent NPR story gives some examples of coworkers delighting in cooking meals for each other. “These lunch clubs can range from a two-person swap to a five-person rotation. Sometimes people use a communal lunch as an excuse to sit down together during a busy day; others simply take their lunches whenever they have time, then thank the meal’s maker later via text message. Wherever there are people who want something more than their sad desk lunches or expensive to-go food, there are co-workers who have found a way to share a meal in a way that works for them.”

2. Join a choir. Seriously.

Just as I noticed the fliers for the Virginia Western Singers events, I was reminded of another book I just finished reading.

Best-selling author Daniel Pink just *raves* about the benefits of choral singing in “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” (available in our own Brown Library).

Pink writes:

“The research on the benefits of singing in groups is stunning. Choral singing calms heart rates and boosts endorphin levels. It improves lung function. It increases pain thresholds and reduces the need for pain medication. It even alleviates symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Group singing — not just performances but also practices — increases the production of immunoglobulin, making it easier to fight infections. In fact, cancer patients who sing in choirs show an improved immune response after just one rehearsal.

And while the physiological payoffs are many, the psychological ones might be even greater. Several studies demonstrate that choral singing delivers a significant boost to positive mood. It also lifts self-esteem while reducing feelings of stress and symptoms of depression. It enhances one’s sense of purpose and meaning, and increases sensitivity toward others. And these efforts come not from singing per se but from singing in a group. For example, people who sing in choirs report far higher well-being than those who sing solo.” (p. 195)

The Virginia Western Singers spring concert is 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27, in Whitman Theater. Tickets are available at the door and cost $7 for adults and $5 for kids. Free admission for VWCC students.

3. Bowling nights. I once joked about starting occasional bowling nights based around career clusters — an advanced manufacturing team, for example, which could serve as ongoing alumni connection and a welcoming event for adults students who were curious about our programs. A group of Virginia Western folks could just decide to meet at a bowling alley for some family-friendly social time. Deal alert: Lee-Hi Lanes in Salem offers 99-cent games on Mondays and Tuesdays (shoe rental is $3.50). While we’re talking deals, I should mention the Skate Center of Roanoke Valley offers $2 admission and $2 skate rentals on Mondays (a new tradition in my family). The fliers write themselves, people! “Get your career rolling …”

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About Stephanie

Stephanie SeagleStephanie Ogilvie Seagle has served as Grant Specialist at Virginia Western since 2016, but she prefers her honorary title: “Chief Joy Officer.” Stephanie spent most of her career at The Roanoke Times, a daily newspaper, where she served in various news and features roles including “Shoptimist” shopping columnist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies at George Mason University and a master’s of arts in liberal studies at Hollins University. Stephanie is a mom to one human daughter and multiple chihuahuas … and is obsessed with reading nonfiction, Halloween, and crafting glow necklaces inspired by the Mill Mountain Star. Glow Roanoke!