A LifeSpire of Virginia Pause

As 2020 continues to be a stress-filled year for many people, LifeSpire of Virginia recognizes the benefit of taking a pause. It is well-documented that stress can lead to high blood pressure, a suppressed immune system and can contribute to depression and anxiety. With endless worries in the world, it’s important to encourage one another to look for ways to de-stress and support fellow team members, residents, neighbors, families and friends during difficult times.

A Harvard Health article suggests that practicing deep, diaphragmatic breathing can elicit a relaxation response, which can lower blood pressure and even slow the heartbeat. One of the worst things to do while exercising is to hold in a breath. When preparing to have a baby, new moms are trained to deliberately breathe during labor because conscious breathing can increase relaxation and lessen pain during birth. 

In hospitals since 2004, a Surgical Time Out (STO) has become a mandatory quality standard by the Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits more than 22,000 U.S. healthcare organizations and programs. The STO was created to reduce errors in surgical procedures, requiring participants to take a breath, double/triple check the details and then, when all agree, the team moves forward with confidence. When an operating room team pauses together, respect for team members is built, the empowerment of team members is encouraged, while accidents, mistakes and risks are diminished. The team openly seeks opportunities to improve their performance and the patient’s safety. 

Taking a cue from these examples and best practices, on September 1 at 1 p.m., the LifeSpire of Virginia team began a monthly pause across the company. On the first day of the month, community chaplains will help facilitate a 15-minute pause from work to take a breath, to pray or meditate together, hear a blessing or word of comfort. For the September Pause, Lakewood Chaplain Julie Walton led a group of team members from across LifeSpire of Virginia’s communities and corporate office in a guided meditation that focused on breathing, learning to value the importance of stopping to breathe and to center in the midst of a busy workday. 

A couple of LifeSpire of Virginia team members commented after the pause:

“The LifeSpire of Virginia pause was a much-needed moment of peace and reflection in the middle of the work day. I was grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a thoughtful and refreshing moment with the team.”

Administrative Assistant Sarah Amick

“The LifeSpire of Virginia pause was a much-needed moment. The guided mediation gave me the opportunity to reset resulting in a calm state of mind and mood. I felt better focused and centered immediately afterward. Thanks to LifeSpire of Virginia for offering this and supporting us by incorporating this into our schedule!  I’m looking forward to the next one!”

Senior Financial Analyst Layla Somers

The intention of the pause is to promote self-care and provide resources to all LifeSpire of Virginia team members. In the midst of challenging times, LifeSpire of Virginia’s chaplains and leadership team seek to provide a measure of spiritual and emotional support.