Brandy Nix HeadshotThe UAB Department of Neurosurgery is spotlighting staff to focus on the importance of hobbies for stress relief, wellness and self-care.
The goal of the series is to connect individuals across the department by highlighting their hobbies as they relate to mental, physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, social and financial wellness.
Brandy Nix has worked at UAB for three years in the Department of Neurosurgery’s Office of Clinical Research. She works specifically on clinical trial financial management, grant submissions and contracts. Before coming to UAB, Brandy worked in banking for 10 years in customer intelligence, commercial risk, and consumer finance.

Brandy has undergraduate and master's degrees in Finance and German. Interestingly, she spent a year in Germany after high school as an exchange student after studying German in high school.

She has been married for 18 years and has one teenager. She also has an 18-year-old dog, Linus, two 1-year-old cats, Cleo and Minkle, and three flying squirrels, Rufus, Scooter and Nibbles. 

What hobby do you currently focus on in your downtime?   
I have too many hobbies and not enough time. I return to a few hobbies periodically: knitting, crocheting, woodworking and quilting. My newest hobby is building miniatures. I have also dabbled in painting and embroidery. 

What inspired you to explore this hobby?
Miniatures BuildA friend took me to Crazy Cazboys, and I found a miniature kit there for only $6. My mom had a Victorian dollhouse she built from a kit that I loved playing with when I was little, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to learn a new hobby. I learned to knit in undergrad, kind of as a dare to myself and to keep my mind off of accounting homework. I taught myself to crochet during the COVID-19 lockdown. Basically, anytime I find myself with time on my hands, I am doing some kind of craft.

Have you noticed a change in your well-being since beginning this hobby and how does that translate into your work?  
When I am anxious or stressed, doing these hobbies helps me relax and take my mind off whatever worries me. I would compare my hobbies to meditation when it comes to the benefits. I have also made friendships with people who share my hobby in person and online. I am by no means an expert in any of the hobbies I enjoy. ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ is a pretty good description for me.

What are you most proud of?  
Farmhouse TableI think I am most proud of the kitchen table I built. This was my first woodworking project ever. I also made a small play kitchen for my daughter when she was younger. Almost everyone I know who has had a baby has a knitted item from me. I have created things that I never thought I would be able to. I would tell anyone that they are capable of much more than they think they are.