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Life Kit

Life Kit

Everyone needs a little help being a human. From sleep to saving money to parenting and more, we talk to the experts to get the best advice out there. Life Kit is here to help you get it together.


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How to cope with seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

It's getting darker and colder, and there's still a pandemic. Oh, and then there's seasonal affective disorder. Here's how to spot it and what you can do. (This episode originally aired in October 2020.)
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Dog training 101 ? How to set realistic goals and where to get started

If you recently searched the internet for "dog trainers near me," there's a good chance you became immediately overwhelmed by the options, certifications and vocabulary. There is a lot of information out there! So we consulted some experts on where to start. Here's what they say.
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How to make sure you're paid for your time and work

Time is money. But often, especially in the creative industries, trying to advance your career can mean literally selling yourself short. It's commonplace, borderline expected depending on where you are in your career, to have to offer time and labor for free or for deeply discounted rates in order to get work. In this episode of Life Kit, journalist Juleyka Lantigua-Williams shares tools for advocating for yourself and your paycheck, and reflections on the value of betting on yourself.
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The case for being ordinary

For those in emerging adulthood, there's endless pressure from all sides to chase an extraordinary standard in every aspect of life. But writer Rainesford Stauffer says the so-called milestones are more unrealistic than ever. Now's the time for creativity and carving your own path ? and she's got some tips from her book, An Ordinary Age, to get you started.
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How to talk to your Latinx parents about mental health

Shame and stigma play a huge role in discouraging folks in the Latinx community from seeking mental health care ? and talking about it with their families. These steps can help you prepare for the conversation with your loved ones.
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Need to make a change in your life? Behavioral science can help

When's the best time to start a new habit? And what makes some stick while others fall by the wayside? Behavioral scientist Katy Milkman's new book, How to Change, breaks down the research about how to leverage human nature instead of working against it to achieve your goals. (This episode originally aired in May 2021.)
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How to talk about the COVID vaccine with people who are hesitant

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Jasmine Marcelin shares how she has conversations about the COVID-19 vaccine with people who have doubts about getting vaccinated. (A version of this episode originally aired on NPR's Short Wave.)
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How to make ethical investing work for you

Money talks, but how do you make sure your money is sending the right message? Ethical investing isn't magic, but it's one way to try and put your money where your morals are. Here's what you need to know before you get started.
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How to work through a creative rut

Do you ever try to be creative, but no matter how hard you try, struggle to access that spark in your head? This episode explains how to escape that creative rut ? and it all starts with taking intentional breaks.
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How to enjoy single life

Singlehood is not the waiting room of life. It's unfair to think single people can't create meaningful lives that are filled with purpose and love. We promise no cheesy advice, but rather tips for how to find peace with singleness and live a full life on your own terms.
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A pediatrician's advice on omicron, daycare and travel for kids under 5

Amid the omicron surge, there is understandable anxiety among parents, particularly those with kids under 5. In this episode, infectious disease doctor Ibukun Kalu answers listeners' questions on the latest COVID variant, daycare and travel for unvaccinated children.
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How to curb money avoidance and face financial woes head-on

If you wince every time you open up your credit card app or feel stressed just thinking about personal finances, here's how to curb money avoidance and train your brain to face your money woes head-on.
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How to divest from diet culture

In 2021, nearly half of all New Year's resolutions in the U.S. were based on weight loss. Why do we set these goals for ourselves? Diet culture, the social expectations that value thinness and appearance above all else can impact how we view our bodies and treat others. The good news is, we can free ourselves from this mindset.
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Mindfulness For Beginners

It's counterintuitive, but an effective way to manage our negative reactions to life's stressors actually involves slowing down and paying very close attention. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction, explains how to begin a meditation practice ? and how doing so can help you seize the present moment.
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When it comes to exercise, "all movements count"

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! (This episode originally aired in December 2018.)
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How to give the perfect toast

It's the wild card of every big event ? the toast. If you're giving a new year's toast, a best man or maid of honor speech, or any other toasts this coming year, we've got some tips to make sure people remember your toast with fondness and not horror.
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6 tips on taking a break from drinking

Thinking about taking a break from drinking? Here are ways to help you make a plan, navigate tricky social situations and reassess your relationship with alcohol so you can experience the benefits of dry January. (This episode originally aired in January 2020.)
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How solitude can help you regulate your mood

Everyone needs a little alone time, but during this pandemic, you may have felt like you had too much "me" time or not enough. Let's get that balance back! This episode breaks down research behind what makes even small bouts of solitude restorative and what to do when you're alone too much. (This episode originally aired in July 2020.)
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How to give thoughtful holiday gifts on a budget

Holiday gift exchanges can feel like a burden, especially if you're shopping on a budget. Here are tips from a shopping expert on how to give more thoughtful presents ? without breaking the bank. (This episode originally aired in December 2020.)
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Your questions on holiday anxieties, answered by psychologist Andrea Bonior

We asked for your questions on navigating the holiday blues. Clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior guides us through some rough patches involving family, money, loneliness and safety.
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What happens in our brain when we grieve ? and how it helps us stay afloat

When we lose a loved one, it can feel like we've lost a part of ourselves. And for good reason, our brains are learning how to live in this world without someone we care about in it. In this episode, psychologist Mary-Frances O'Connor explains what happens in our brain when we experience grief. (A version of this episode originally aired on NPR's Short Wave.)
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How to shop for sustainable holiday gifts

Shopping secondhand can ease the environmental burden of holiday consumption ? and save you money, too. Here are three tips to help you start cutting down this season.
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How to squash negative self-talk

Being self-critical comes naturally for a lot of people. It's easy to focus on the one bad review or the tiny flaw in an otherwise perfect presentation. Psychologist Joy Harden Bradford walks us through some strategies to quiet down those negative thoughts, including how to monitor and interrogate your negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk.
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How to host a meaningful holiday gathering

Hosting family and friends during the holidays can be stressful, but it doesn't need to be. Conflict resolution facilitator Priya Parker discusses ways anyone can host a meaningful, memorable gathering. (This episode originally aired in July 2021.)
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Omicron variant, COVID booster shots ? and how to stay safe during the holidays

The holiday season is well underway, and with it, a fresh batch of worries over the latest COVID-19 variant, omicron. For those planning end-of-year celebrations and travel, NPR senior science and health correspondent Maria Godoy breaks down the latest coronavirus news.
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How to talk about money with friends, from planning a hangout to splitting the bill

Even among the closest of friends, conversations about money and privilege can be awkward. In this episode from Life Kit and The Cut, author Otegha Uwagba discusses how we can break that ice ? before it's time to split the check.
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How to stop being late

People are late for lots of reasons ? being overly optimistic, not accurately gauging how much time it takes to actually get somewhere, even being afraid of being early. Time management coach Rashelle Isip shares some tactics that can help you embrace punctuality and avoid that awkward apology for being tardy ... again.
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Coping with grief during the holidays

As we inch toward the holidays, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith shares how she's processing grief, a subject at the center of much of her work. (This episode originally aired in December 2020.)
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How to be a kinder, more caring neighbor

What does it mean to be a kinder, more caring neighbor? From Daniel Tiger's world of make-believe to Winnipeg, here's how to plug into your community, practice small acts of kindness and boost your mood. We'll also think critically about being neighborly when things get complicated.
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How to decide if freezing your eggs is right for you ? and where to get started

Freezing your eggs can open doors for your fertility. It's also emotional, time-consuming and expensive. Here are some things to think about before you decide to freeze your eggs ? and what to know if you do, including how much it costs and how to prepare for the process.
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How to give good advice by less fixing, more listening

When someone comes to you for advice, where do you start? This episode explores how to give good advice to the people you care about. Hint: It's not always about fixing someone's problems.
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How To Have Meaningful Conversations At Holiday Gatherings

Having good conversations is an art form. To help you out at end-of-year gatherings, NPR's Sam Sanders tapped longtime radio host and podcaster Celeste Headlee for her tips for really listening and connecting.
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How To Make Tastier, Prettier Pies, According To A Self-taught Pie Artist

Just in time for Thanksgiving, self-taught baker Lauren Ko shares her tips for making tastier ? and more beautiful ? pies.
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This Thanksgiving, You Can Carry On Family Recipes In Your Own Way

Making a family recipe for the first time can be daunting. Will it turn out just like you remembered? For those cooking for the holidays, podcaster Noor Wazwaz walks us through what to remember in the kitchen.
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How To Document Family Stories

Learning stories about our loved ones helps us to better understand the trajectory of their lives ? and it helps us make sense of our own story. Here are five tips to guide you as you document your family history.
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Remembering Petra Mayer: Everyone's a 'real writer.' Here's how to write that book

Beloved books editor Petra Mayer believed that all you have to do to be a 'real writer' is to write. We're re-running this episode in honor of Petra who died on Saturday. We hope Petra's generosity, wit and passion for story will help shut down those distracting voices and honor the stories you have to share. (This episode originally ran in April 2020.)
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Here's How To Simplify Your Thanksgiving Menu

This Thanksgiving, New York Times food writer Eric Kim is on a mission to help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your food and your company. These tips and recipes will help you cook smarter, not harder. And you don't need a lot ? just a skillet and a sheet pan. Oh, and a turkey.
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Suleika Jaouad On Working Through Isolation And Life's Interruptions

Writer Suleika Jaouad has made a career out of covering folks living in the 'in between' spaces ? starting with herself. Diagnosed with leukemia at 22, she embraced writing as a way to regain narrative control of her life. She shares lessons on making peace with uncertainty and transforming isolation into creative solitude.
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5 Tips For Transferring Colleges

Most students who want to transfer colleges don't. The process can be complicated and confusing and differ from state to state and institution to institution. Despite these hurdles, transferring is a common route to a four-year college. So how do you make the process go as smoothly as possible? Start early, stay organized and find a good fit.
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How To Build A Sleep Routine For You And Your Children

Getting enough sleep helps you focus, retain information and helps to fortify your immune system. For parents and caretakers struggling to get their little ones to bed on time, here are tips on establishing healthy sleeping habits ? that can benefit your entire family.
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How To Wake Up Early, Even If You're Not A Morning Person

Waking up at dawn with the bakers and the baristas may not be for everyone ? especially night owls. Whether you have to wake up early or you'd like to become more of a morning lark, here are a few habits that can help you set yourself up for success at that first alarm.
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What To Do When There's A Flash Flood Warning While You're Driving

What should you do when there's a flash flood warning? In this episode, we'll walk you through why we're seeing an increase in flood events, what you should keep in your car in the event of a flood-related emergency, and how to get from point A to point B safely, if you have to drive during heavy rains.
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How To Start A Budget. (And Why You Might Actually Enjoy It)

Whether you're paying down credit cards or saving for daily necessities, the best place to start is with a budget. Some simple tools can help. (This episode first ran in November 2019.)
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From Family Planning To Recycling: Your Climate Questions Answered

Ahead of the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow this weekend, we're sharing this episode from our friends at It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders.

In this episode, Sam chats with climate experts Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, marine biologist and writer, and Kendra Pierre-Louis, senior climate reporter with the podcast 'How to Save a Planet.' Together, they answer listener questions about everything from how to talk to your kids about global warming... to how to deal with all of this existential dread.
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Your guide to a simple skin care routine

Your skin is your largest organ. If you want to care for it without getting sucked into a wormhole of pharmacological-sounding jargon, this guide to building a basic skin care routine is for you.
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How To Learn A New Skill

It can be incredibly gratifying to harness mastery of a skill. But why is learning new things so hard?

In this episode, we'll explore that question and give you three steps to start learning something new. Now all you need to do is decide what it is you want to learn!
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Climate Anxiety Is Real. Here's How To Address It

The climate crisis is here, and if you feel climate anxiety, that's a totally normal response. It's easy to feel overwhelmed or numb when you start thinking about the bigger picture, but it's important to let yourself feel all those emotions, says ecotherapist Phoenix Smith.

In this episode, Smith talks about tools to acknowledge and use these feelings for the decades to come.
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Inbox Zero Isn't The Goal Anymore. Try Inbox Infinity

Unread emails can be a source of anxiety for a lot of people. So instead of trying to read, filter or delete everything in your inbox, what if you just ignored it?

In this episode, New York Times technology reporter Taylor Lorenz shares how spending less time on email and changing the way she thought about online communication has increased her productivity and given her back hours of time.
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Finding Agency With A Birth Plan

For expectant parents, navigating pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum can raise a range of emotions. There are so many things to think about and prepare for, and knowing where to start can feel daunting. But a birth plan can help!

In this episode, Martina Abrahams Ilunga and Gabrielle Horton of NATAL, offer guidance on creating a birth plan that works for you, and makes it simple for your support system to pitch in.
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How To Choose A Health Insurance Plan

Picking health insurance takes a lot of work. It's not a one-size-fits-all type of situation, and there are a lot of confusing terms that come up every year. You also need to consider your general health and finances. So how can you make sense of it all?

That's where we come in. In this episode of Life Kit, we'll have experts guide you on where to look for coverage, how to narrow down plans ? and how to get trustworthy help if you need it.
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