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.


“Accept your needs. Recognize what your triggers are. What situations make you feel physically and mentally agitated? Once you know this, you can avoid them when it’s reasonable to, and to cope when you can’t” ( 

“These negative stress cycles can ultimately put us at risk of experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression, and burnout. This process is a downward spiral of stress, and recognizing when you are moving in that direction can be an important part of moving away from the pattern” ( 

What You Deserve

Getting sucked into the stress spiral…it’s not fun. It’s incredibly overwhelming and exhausting, and can impact your mindset for an entire day (sometimes even longer!).

What is a stress spiral? When a negative experience sparks a complete take over of your mind, body, and soul. You struggle to think of anything else besides that negative thought, which then causes other negative emotions and physical reactions. 

Your annoyance with another person then leads to doubting your own abilities, then your heart rate quickens and you say something rude, then you can’t focus on anything else. 

Sound familiar?

It’s so important that we understand why we are getting caught in these stress spirals. This can allow us to close the door on negative thoughts and make the change we need in the moment. 

Here’s how:

➡️ Step 1: Identify what sparked the stress spiral.

➡️ Step 2: Identify why that thing sparked stress. 

➡️ Step 3: Take action to feel the complete opposite. I would argue this is the hardest, but most important step.  

Some examples:

WHAT: Scrolled on social media mindlessly for an hour 

WHY: Started a vicious comparison mindset

ACTION: Go on a walk outside without your phone

WHAT: A particular co-worker

WHY: They made you feel defensive

ACTION: Send a quick email to a co-worker you admire and tell them why

WHAT: A weekly meeting at school

WHY: Others’ complaining made you feel incredibly annoyed 

ACTION: Blast a song that sparks joy (with students or later)

WHAT: A particular student in class

WHY: That student made you fear you are losing control

ACTION: Take that student to the hall to tell him, her, or them something you are proud of and something they need to work on

WHAT: Bad traffic on the way to work made you late

WHY: It made you feel agitated and rushed

ACTION: Take five minutes out of your first class to do something calming with your students: draw, write, just talk, read, play the Zen Counting game, etc.  

YOU are the only person who can get yourself out of such a stress spiral.


At School:Identify a weekly (or daily) stress spiral spark. Plan out the action you will take to reverse it.

At HomeIdentify a weekly (or daily) stress spiral spark. Plan out the action you will take to reverse it.


How often are you pausing to address what sparked a stress spiral?

How can the process discussed above help you alleviate and manage stress in your life?

In health and happiness,

Lauren Girgash
Founder of Livable Learning