Liv·a·ble (adjective): worth living; enjoyable
Every Livable Lesson will encourage you to prioritize your own health and happiness by:
1. Sparking inspiration from a quote/research.
2. Connecting the quote/research to what you deserve as a teacher.
3. Promoting accountability with related actions to implement inside and outside your classroom.
4. Encouraging reflection with a related wellness question.
“Rather than choosing foods based only on caloric value, think instead about choosing high-quality, healthy foods, and minimizing low-quality foods…Researchers in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health show us that quality is in fact very important in determining what we should eat to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and that the notion of ‘a calorie is a calorie’ does not tell the whole story” (Harvard School of Public Health).
What You Deserve
Our world has an obsession with numbers: number of calories, number of likes on an Instagram post, number of passing scores on a standardized test, number on a scale, number of calories burned in an exercise…the list goes on and on.
These numbers blind us to any deeper meaning. For example, the number of calories does not always dictate a food’s impact on your health. The number of passing standardized test scores does not determine your effectiveness as a teacher all year. The number of calories burned in a workout does not reveal how meaningful the workout was for your body and mind.
We must start highlighting the significance of quality over quantity to increase meaning in our lives—the quality of your food, quality of your friendships, quality of your sleep, quality of your lessons, quality of your exercise, etc.
Let’s think about some examples:
Higher quality friendships ignite a deeper sense of connection, self-confidence, happiness, and purpose rather than fixating on the number of people in your friend group. You may hang out with 20 people, but are they all high-quality friendships?
Higher quality lessons promote lifelong learning rather than superficial cramming to pass a multiple choice test. These are the lessons that remind you of your abilities as a teacher AND encourage students to become invested in what they’re learning. They may not have accurately identified the turning point of a short story on the state test, but they definitely remember finally connecting with a character because you chose a book in which they saw themselves, and spent time having meaningful conversations about it.
Higher quality foods have more nutrients, promote higher energy levels, stabilize blood sugar, balance hormones, and support a better mood, among so many other things.
Take a look at the two labels below:
Which bar would you pack for a snack at school?
When I’ve discussed this with groups of teachers, MANY chose the Chewy Granola Bar because it had only 100 calories. My follow-up question is, “What purpose are those calories serving in your body?” Mostly, people express “energy.” We then have a discussion about the quality of our energy. Do we want our energy to come from sugar and processed ingredients? If we want high-quality, abundant energy, then we need high-quality, abundant nutrients. If you look closely at the Chewy bar INGREDIENTS (not calories), you’ll notice your sources of energy are coming from sugar and processed ingredients which will lead to a blood sugar crash, irritability, and ultimately lower-quality health if you pack one for a snack every day. If you look at the Perfect Bar ingredients, you are getting your energy from healthy fats, protein, and whole food sources. This higher-quality bar will keep your blood sugar balanced, hunger satisfied, and will keep your body functioning at peak capacity.
Next time numbers start swarming your mind, take a step back, and really consider how quality can be focused on instead.
At School: Have a conversation with your students about the pressure of numbers in their life. Discuss how they can focus more on quality.
At Home: Choose a packaged food item out of your pantry—could be a granola bar, peanut butter, chips, etc. Look at the ingredient label and consider what a higher quality option might be.
How will your life improve when you prioritize quality over quantity?
In health and happiness,
Founder of Livable Learning