Ahskendrick/ April 5, 2023/ HEARTcare

About This Blogger – Nadeen Halls is a full-time Physical Education and Wellness teacher in Calgary, Alberta. Nadeen has a Bachelor of Human Kinetics, a Bachelor of Education, and Masters of Education. Nadeen is a Past-President of the Health and Physical Education Council of the Alberta Teachers Association. She is passionate about providing comprehensive and meaningful Physical Education and Wellness programming to her students. She loves being active, outdoors, and in the mountains.


* Self-Care
* Mindfulness
* Friends and family
* Spiritual/religious community
*Physical Health
* Collective Well-being/Workplace Culture
Sources of stress and distress I feel stressed when I am trying to balance a heavy workload and professional expectations at work (planning, teaching, assessing and reporting) while also maintaining commitments I have at home. I feel distressed when I have a misunderstanding at work with a colleague or my Admin.
Roadblocks and challenges (personal and professional) I find it challenging to have any remaining energy when I get home to participate in activities I enjoy such as walking my dog or trying to make a healthy meal for myself after a long day. Sometimes I feel like I have nothing left to give at the end of the day. It takes me several days/weeks to recover when I get time off. This makes me feel lazy and unwell even though I know I’m not a lazy person and an advocate for well-being. It feels inauthentic.
Collective Well- being When I can apply the strategies I find are most effective for my own personal well-being (such as being outside and connecting to nature) to learning opportunities and environments for my students, I feel an authentic sense of collective well-being.
Find the original fillable PDF on the main HEARTcare home page.

Reflective Questions: At an individual level, what strategies and supports do you engage to be well…

1. Who is your personal support network? How does this support network help you to be well? Are there aspects to your support network that do not work for you? 

My PERSONAL SUPPORT NETWORK is made up of my family, a few close friends, and my dog :). My family is my core network. They do not live close to me, so one strategy we find helpful is that we make time to connect using Facetime each weekend. On holidays/breaks, we make plans to travel to visit each other. My friends are the people I enjoy walking, hiking, or being active with and who help to make plans for adventures. My dog keeps me grounded and calm especially during times of increased stress and is my best motivator to get outside when I get home from school each day. We use our walking time as a strategy to disconnect from work mode and transition to home mode.

2. Who belongs to your professional support network? How does this professional support network help you to be well? Are there aspects of your professional support network that do not work for you?

My PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT NETWORK is made up of the trained professionals that I rely on to provide additional well-being support. These professionals include my doctor, dentist, massage therapist, physiotherapist, counselor, and also my work colleagues. These strategic supports provide regular check-ins and are necessary trained professionals who help navigate and attend to my overall health. My work colleagues are the people I spend my professional time with during the day and having a team that works together in a healthy and positive way is important to me. Some of my most cherished collegial friendships are those I made while serving with The Health and Physical Education Council (HPEC) of the ATA. This professional support network is made up of exceptional teachers, leaders, and mentors who support many aspects of my growth both personally and professionally.

3. What do you do to take care of your well-being? Are there times when you find it challenging to maintain your well-being practices? How do you manage this?

I’ve started to think about how I focus on my well-being more like seasons which has become very helpful. This strategy allows me to focus and manage areas of my well-being for a few months at a time.

I considered the winter months as a season of rest and made space for strategies that help to relax and recover. I was more kind to myself, allowed more napping, and spent more time at home with no guilt. I read more books. I embraced winter by making time for quiet, reflection, and the odd winter snowshoeing adventure. I used this time to plan adventures to look forward to in the future.

As I transition into spring, I start to feel more energy coming back. I look forward to walking my dog on warmer evenings. I spend more time in my garden and complete a few house projects I’ve had for a while. I take time on the weekends to grocery shop and prepare meals for the week, hopefully making it easier to make healthy dinners on weeknights. I start to try and confirm some bucket-filling adventures.

During my much-anticipated summer months, I will lean into people, activities, and places that I love. I will travel home to spend time with my family and friends on the coast. I love to be by the ocean and into the deep forest which brings me energy. I love to take my dog swimming and we adventure on more hikes together. I am my most creative self during the summer when my mind can settle into dreaming and new ideas. I will start journaling my ideas more regularly so it’s not all taking up space in my head which sometimes feels so busy. I will commit to protecting my summer break and adventure times with healthier boundaries on either end.

When the fall season comes around and school starts again, I will try to apply the strategies that worked the best throughout the previous year adjusting my year plans to include space for new ideas. I will preemptively schedule more time with my physio and massage therapist because I have a very physical and active job and this helps me to slow down and take time for myself. For the last few years, I have spent almost every day all day outside with my students and I will continue with this strategy. This has truly been one of the most significant strategies I can apply in support of our collective well-being. The fresh air and feeling of freedom, while being outside together, benefits how I am able to be with my students these last few years during what has been the most challenging teaching and learning conditions I’ve experienced in my 20+ year career as a teacher.