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Sasha Spangenberg has been with the St. James Healthcare Environmental Services team for the past six years and has recently accepted the Environmental Services Manager role through Sodexo, who contracts with St. James. Like many of our associates, Sasha has felt the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents to healthcare professionals, but Sasha has found a unique hobby that helps keep her mind, body and soul healthy.
Spangenberg started her career with St. James Healthcare as a janitor, but quickly demonstrated her skillset and leadership, advancing her to supervisor, and now manager. She and her team play an instrumental role throughout the St. James facilities. In her new role, she now oversees 17 employees, but still finds herself on the floor.
“I really take pride in ensuring that our HCAHPS scores continue improving and that we offer a safe and clean environment,” Sasha mentioned. “I manage the team, but if my team needs assistance, my priority is to be hands-on and assist them.”
As the demands and challenges of the pandemic continue, Sasha and her team have shown resilience and commitment to the health of the communities that we serve, both inside and outside of our walls.
Sasha carries a sense of optimism that, despite the stresses that the pandemic has created, she brings to work each day. She credits her optimism and resilience to her active involvement in the yoga community throughout Butte, Montana.
For the past 15 years, Sasha has used yoga to relax and stay physically active. While she has always had an interest in yoga, it wasn’t until she found a book at a garage sale that she began practicing.
“Several years ago, I happened to stumble across a 28-day yoga book for only 50 cents,” Sasha shared. “I thought to myself, ‘oh my gosh, this is my chance!’ and that is where it all began.”
At that time, YouTube was not an option for learning, so her best opportunity to tackle a new hobby was through this book, and it would ultimately change her life. Now, she practices six days a week and even teaches new and experienced yoga enthusiasts. A garage sale-found resource has provided her with the foundation needed to cope with the challenges that so many healthcare workers are experiencing during the pandemic.
Sasha often uses yoga methods to clear her mind, release stress and refocus.
“While on the [yoga] mat, we really get to challenge ourselves in poses that we are not used to being in,” Sasha said. “Through these poses, we are able to clear our minds and attain what we are trying to attain. Taking this off the mat and applying this in the real world, this becomes an automatic process during stressful situations.”
In addition to helping increase balance, manage weight, and improving mental health, yoga creates a community, which is exactly what she has experienced in the town of 35,000.
Yoga sessions are an opportunity for participants to practice together to create connections, focus on individual strength and harness a relaxing and rewarding experience. As the stretches and poses build throughout the class, the cool down process provides an opportunity to saturate in the atmosphere that was collectively created and experience the release of stress throughout the room.
“Knowing that you have like-minded people enjoying a session with you is such a good feeling,” Sasha mentioned on her yoga involvement in the Butte community. “Being involved in yoga has created a sense of community for me and has kept me physically and mentally healthy during the pandemic and the past many years.”