Taking care of yourself shouldn’t be complicated. We talk to the experts for practical advice to live a long and healthy life, based on science. Subscribe to get episodes from Life Kit on health and wellness.
Here's the Latest Episode from Life Kit: Health:
Deciding to forgive is a big step. After all, you're the one who's been harmed! But it turns out that forgiving someone actually has benefits for your mental health. The practice of radical forgiveness can help you process hurt and anger — and ultimately find peace.
Everyone needs a little alone time, but with the current pandemic, you might have either too much "me" time or not enough. Let's get that balance back. This episode breaks down some of the research behind what makes even small bouts of solitude restorative and what to do when you're alone too much.
No matter your skin tone, sunscreen keeps your skin safe from harmful UVA and UVB rays. But to use it right, you need to know a few things: What SPF to use, how often to reapply and the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen. This episode explains what to look for on the back of a sunscreen bottle and how to use it effectively.
Thinking about making a trip to visit family? In the age of the coronavirus, there are questions you need to answer before showing up at your relative's house. In this episode, we talk through best practices for if, or when, you decide to visit elderly relatives during this pandemic.
One in five Americans struggles with medical bills. The secret is that there's something you can do about it — you just have to know where to look and how to ask.
Face masks are crucial for curbing the spread of the coronavirus. This episode goes over some best practices when it comes to face masks, including how to wear a mask properly, the protection given by cloth vs surgical masks, and how to safely take a break.
Returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic? This episode helps workers understand their rights, including current rules about unemployment, safety concerns and underlying conditions.
We all need strategies to push back against conflict, anger and worry. Tara Brach distills the practice of mindfulness into a simple 4-step tool from her book Radical Compassion. This daily practice can help you show up for 'life' – and let go of regret and anxiety.
Talking about death makes many of us uncomfortable, so we don't plan for it. But the reality is even a small amount of planning ensures our final wishes are honored — and makes it easier on our friends and family. This episode will help you get started on making a will and an advanced directive, even if you don't have a big estate.
How do you get a good night's sleep? Many of us have routines we use to try and reach that blissful state of slumber — from meditation to melatonin to putting on a pair of socks. Sleep scientists weigh in on what sleep rituals actually work.
A visit to the doctor's office looks a little different during the pandemic. Doctors are using telemedicine services to treat patients more frequently. In this episode, Dr. Mara Gordon provides tips to help you get the most out of your telehealth visit.
Summer is here, but the typical summer activities don't feel quite as carefree. How do you know if it's safe to hit the beach, rent a vacation home or pitch a tent? Life Kit host Allison Aubrey interviews experts to rate the risks of favorite summer pastimes.
Weight stigma can hurt more than just your feelings. Negative messages about weight are actually bad for your health. This episode, a case for ditching the obsession with weight loss and focusing on celebrating all different body shapes and sizes.
You can't fully show up for the people in your life until you know how to do the same for yourself. In this episode, we talk with Rachel Wilkerson Miller, author of The Art of Showing Up about how to take care of yourself.
We're all experiencing some kind of grief these days. As this pandemic progresses, more of us will experience losing someone important to us. This episode lays a groundwork for the grieving process, no matter what your loss.
Screens keep us connected while we're socially distant, but phone fatigue is real. It's important to take breaks from your device to destress. In this episode, expert advice for balancing screen time during quarantine.
Exercise is considered an essential activity during this pandemic. But what if it's the first time you'll be going for a jog? Avid runner and host of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!, Peter Sagal gives his pitch for why you should start running and three steps to get you there.
Experts say the coronavirus outbreak may be the biggest source of internet misinformation ever. Fake cures, unscientific tips, and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are flooding the Internet — but there are ways to sniff out misinformation.
Shame spirals, toilet paper panic and bingeing on news — It's easy to worry, but harder to stop. Psychiatrist Dr. Judson Brewer explains why panic can be as contagious as a virus and shares simple ways to recenter yourself when you get carried away by anxious thoughts.
Grocery shopping during coronavirus is fraught with confusion. Do you need to disinfect your groceries? When are the best times to go grocery shopping right now? This episode gives tips about safe grocery shopping — and what you can stop worrying about.
Taking care of your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic is important, and it's still possible to get therapy even when you're staying at home. This episode gives options for making online therapy a little easier, low-cost therapy and free mental health hotlines to get you the help you need.
Difficulty sleeping can cause anxiety, which often leads to more trouble sleeping. Life Kit host Allison Aubrey talks to sleep experts about how cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia can bring relief for people with chronic sleep issues.
How can I tell the difference between allergies and coronavirus symptoms? Can you get coronavirus from food? Can I have people over? The coronavirus pandemic is causing lots of uncertainty about everyday life. In this episode, Life Kit host Allison Aubrey answers common questions about coronavirus. This was recorded March 17, 2020. Because the news is moving fast, check npr.org for the latest updates.
So many food labels proclaim their eco-virtues these days: organic, pasture raised, cage-free, non-GMO. But what is a label based on? Here are six ways to make sense of it all.
Feeling blocked with it comes to starting an exercise habit? You can actually get the health benefits of exercise with just 22 minutes of exercise a day — and you might be surprised what "counts" as exercise. Kiss your excuses goodbye!
You might be wondering how to prevent coronavirus and protect your family if the virus continues to spread. Nancy Messonnier from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares five things you can do to prepare. One takeaway: wash your hands often with soap and hot water.
Given all the types of birth control out there, picking a form of contraception can be overwhelming. It involves understanding how birth control works, your preferences, side effects and more. This episode presents the facts so you can choose the contraception that works for you.
What can you do if you suspect a child is being impacted by a family member's addiction? Experts say you don't need to be an addiction expert, just a caring adult. This episode offers guidance to help a kid through a tumultuous time.
We all need strategies to push back against conflict, anger and worry. One of the globe's leading mindfulness teachers distills the practice of mindfulness into a simple 4-step tool from her new book Radical Compassion. This daily practice can help you show up for 'life' – and let go of regret and anxiety.
One in seven women experiences postpartum depression. But it's easy to feel alone — especially when you're told having a baby is supposed to be blissful. This episode helps both struggling moms and loved ones identify the symptoms and find treatment.
If the mere thought of going to therapy seems overwhelming, you're not alone. Plenty of people put off seeking therapy because of the stigma, cost and inconvenience. We've got four tips to help you make your first appointment.
Trying to quit smoking can be hard. The good news is the science behind how to quit smoking is very clear. This episode gives you strategies to help boost your chances of success.
Professional artists aren't the only people who can make art. This episode, learn how to weave art into your everyday life. Because whether you're doodling, making pottery or embroidering, creating art is good for you and your health.
Thinking about taking a break from drinking? This episode will help you make a plan, navigate tricky social situations, and reassess your relationship with alcohol, so you can experience the benefits of dry January.
So many weekends get filled up with too many errands, plans, and, yes, work. Never getting time to relax means feeling like a zombie come Monday. Say no to burnout by making your two days off into a mini vacation with relaxation techniques and tips to unplug.
There are so many food tribes out there — everything from Keto to vegan. We help you understand how to pick a diet approach that's right for you.
If you've got 22 minutes, you can get an effective total-body workout. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's personal trainer Bryant Johnson walks us through an interval session and explains why it's so effective.
Carbs get a bad rap. Here's the science behind why eating too much starch isn't good for you — and smart tips to integrate more slow carbs into your diet.
When is snoring just annoying or the sign of a bigger health issue? Life Kit's Allison Aubrey and Maddie Sofia, host of NPR's new daily science podcast, "Short Wave" get answers from a doctor, as well as some tips to achieve a snoreless sleep.
Healthy eating can be easy if you follow a few simple rules. We guide you through three types of healthy food you should eat more of, and three foods to cut back on.
None of us is prepared to be caregivers — the role is thrust upon us. More than 40 million Americans are caring for an elderly parent or loved one. Here are six tips to make the caregiving burden more sustainable:
- Accept help, and don't be afraid to ask for it.
- Break down caregiving tasks into bite-sized solutions.
- Don't tell your loved one what to do. Ask about the quality of life they want and how you can get them there.
- Be an empowered medical advocate for your loved one.
- Get your legal ducks in order so you can focus on your relationship.
- Make sure to take care of yourself, too.
Finding out you have a serious medical condition can leave you reeling. These strategies from medical and lay experts will help you be in control as you navigate our complex health care system and get the best possible care.
Here's what to remember:
- Your primary care doctor is the captain of your health care team.
- Don't be afraid to get a second opinion.
- Get organized, and find someone to help you if you can't do it yourself.
- If you need a procedure, go to someone who does it all the time.
- Use the Internet, but use it wisely.
- Figure out what matters to you, and fight for it
Going to a doctor who puts you at ease can actually improve your health. We have six tips for finding a primary care doctor you click with — and how you can make the most out of that relationship.
- Figure out what type of patient you are, and let that guide your choice of doctor.
- Seek out a doctor who makes you feel comfortable.
- When you go to the doctor, go prepared.
- Be clear about your agenda.
- Be yourself at the doctor's office.
- You have a right to give your doctor feedback. But if things aren't working, don't be afraid to break up.
So many food labels proclaim their eco-virtues these days — organic. Pasture-raised. Cage-free. Non-GMO. What do they actually mean? Here are six ways to make sense of it all.
- "Natural" or "sustainable" labels have no legal standard.
- "Organic" means it's better for the planet, but may not be better for you.
- Non-GMO is not organic. The food was still grown with pesticides.
- Labels like "Animal Welfare Approved" mean the animals got to live outdoors.
- "Fair Trade" products deliver a little extra money to small farmers in cooperatives.
- Don't let labels stress you out. When it comes to solving the world's problems, your shopping decisions aren't nearly as important as your political decisions.
Knowing when and what to eat may sound simple, but dieting can mess up our connection to hunger cues. The practice of intuitive eating can help people make peace with food.
The way many of us think about weight loss is totally counter-productive. Focus on healthy habits you can sustain instead of the numbers on the scale.
Here's what to remember:
- Forget goal weights. Instead, focus on behavioral goals.
- Start with small changes and let them snowball.
- A loss of only 3% of your body weight can meaningfully improve your health.
- Remember that your best weight is the one you reach when you live the healthiest life you can actually enjoy.
Our biology makes it hard to lose weight. In this episode, we won't tell you how to lose weight — or whether you even need to. We will give you five realities about biology, and they might even help you be kinder to your body.
Here's what to remember:
- Metabolism slows when you lose weight.
- Hormonal changes that come with weight loss make you hungrier.
- What you eat is more important than how much you exercise.
- Exercise seems to play a big role in maintaining weight and preventing further gain.
We all can feel the effects of weight stigma, no matter what our size is. In this episode, we help you feel good about the body you're living in and give strategies to improve your health without obsessing about your weight. Here's what to remember: - Recognize that weight stigma can actually harm your physical health. - Remember that weight and body mass index are imperfect indicators of your health. - Focus on well-being, regardless of your weight. - Even if you don't experience weight stigma in daily life, ask yourself: Am I helping to perpetuate it?
When you can't sleep, your thoughts can be your worst enemy. In this episode, we explain five key strategies to help break the spiral, based on what many believe is the most effective treatment out there: cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I.
Here's what to remember:
- Log your sleep time to get a reality check on how much you're actually sleeping.
- Write down your anxious thoughts; then replace them with more rational ones.
- Restrict the amount of time you spend in bed based on information from your sleep log.
- Find a relaxation technique.
- Make it a rule: The bedroom is only for sleep (and sex); no electronic devices, no lying in bed, ruminating.
From mediation to melatonin to putting on a pair of socks, we all have routines to help us reach that blissful state of slumber. These are the ones that work:
- Forget sheep. Instead, use mental imagery — picturing a walk in the woods or a stroll on a beach — to help relax.
- Relaxation and meditation apps can help you unwind.
- Melatonin supplements might ease your way into sleep, but too much melatonin could disrupt it.
- Over-the-counter sleep medications may knock you out, but they won't result in effective sleep.
- If young kids wake you in the wee hours, don't react in a way that increases their stress — but do find strategies that make it no fun to be up.
- Sleep rituals are personal. If you believe in yours, that might be all you need.
From the moment you wake up, your body starts to prepare for sleep. We show you how to adjust your daytime habits to get the best possible night of rest.
Here's what to remember:
- Start the day with natural light — from an east-facing window, or even better, go outside — to put the brakes on melatonin.
- Cut the caffeine off by late morning. Even if it doesn't keep you up, caffeine impacts how much deep sleep you're getting.
- Get moving during the day. Exercise can increase the quantity and quality of your sleep.
- Avoid the nightcap. Alcohol makes you feel sleepy but disrupts deep sleep.
- Ban the smartphone and TV from the bedroom. Too stimulating, when you should be letting go.