Thursday 21 March 2024

Everyday Routines for Your Wellbeing

Submitted by: Dr. Astrid Kendrick, PHE Canada HPEC Liaison Representative

As a part of my research into compassion fatigue and burnout, I often hear from educators (through surveys, interviews, and discussions) that their most precious resource is time, and they don’t have time, and are not given enough time, to prioritize their own wellbeing during the hectic school day.

During each school day and class period, we follow a series of routines. Take attendance. Run a warm-up activity. Describe and demonstrate a skill. Practice and play a game. Run a cool down activity. Rinse and repeat. When I was a high school PE teacher, I ran through these routines twice each afternoon, and as a half-time elementary PE teacher, I ran through them six times before lunch.

Gyms are loud places – the sound of excited kids, music, and the ever-rebounding balls reverberate off the walls, and I realized over time that I needed some quiet to recuperate between classes.

I started using my cooldown activities to create quiet times in the gym. At the high school level, the cooldown was 5-10 minutes of yoga and stretching, and in elementary, the cooldown was five minutes of ‘sleepy time’ in which the kids had to lay down and listen to soothing music. Taking this time to calm the students before sending them to their next class resulted in a better transition between gym and their other classes.

Over time, I also realized that the quiet time and space I had created was good for my own wellbeing. I felt calmer and more energized for my next class because my ears and brain had a few moments of rest between classes. This time was also useful for a bathroom break, as the students were preoccupied and could be safely monitored by other available staff while I zipped down the hall.

I’d love to hear from you! You can reach me at and

1.      How can you adapt your daily routines to include practices that support your wellbeing?

2.      How do you structure your lessons and units to include time and space for you to take micro-moments during the day for you to breathe, experience calm, and temporarily rest so that you are able to make it through each day?

3.       What advice would you give to other or beginning teachers to include wellbeing in their teaching and learning practices?

I completely respect that the school system is not currently designed for teacher wellbeing, but we can change the narrative – one minute, one strategy, and one routine at a time.


Dr. Astrid Kendrick was a PE and English/Language Arts teacher for nineteen years before moving to her new work as an assistant professor at the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.