Scottsdale nonprofit combats frontline worker burnout through mindfulness

An emergency room physician is using her experience in dealing with trauma and stress to help frontline workers cope during the pandemic.

Dr. Mara Windsor is giving a new meaning to L.I.F.E.

"I started L.I.F.E., my nonprofit organization about seven years ago, when I had a personal experience of burnout," Windsor said. "We had our third child, he had some illnesses, I was working 18-hour shifts in the emergency department, and I was really not putting my well-being or self care first."

When the pandemic hit, Dr. Mara Windsor realized other frontline workers probably weren't putting themselves first either.

"Every physician I have coached and many of the nurses that I have coached they say they were burned out already, and then the pandemic happened," said Windsor. "Now they are having to work twice as hard with, you know, less resources."

Dr. Windsor uses her Scottsdale-based nonprofit L.I.F.E. - Living in Fulfilled Enlightenment - to help. The purpose of the organization was to create and cultivate a community of like-minded people with a positive outlook, using mindfulness to find meaning and sustained happiness.

The group met in person once a month until the pandemic hit.

"What we started doing was focusing our efforts on raising funds to provide meals," Windsor said. "We had some members actually volunteer to sew surgical caps which is part of our PPE gear that we wear daily."

Dr. Windsor also went through specialized training to serve as a peer coach so she could support the emotional needs of her colleagues, first responders and frontline heroes.

She also assists with a free, 24-hour crisis help hotline through a virtual wellness crisis support group that L.I.F.E. offers for frontline heroes and first responders.

"It's been very challenging but I just move forward sometimes," Windsor said. "I think we just have to take one day at a time, and you just have to show up, and I just keep showing up, and things are getting better."

Check out the L.I.F.E. website:

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