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9 expert tips from Life Kit for April – NPR

2 minutes, 58 seconds Read

LA Johnson/NPR; Halisia Hubbard/NPR; Malaka Gharib/NPR; Collage by NPR

The great thing about working on Life Kit is that the editors and producers get to pick up all sorts of nifty life hacks that save money, enhance our relationships and make our everyday lives more joyful.

Here are nine expert tips from our April episodes we were most excited to share — and put into practice in our own daily lives.

1. Planning a big trip? Consider traveling during “shoulder season,” the period of time between a city’s peak season and offseason. It’s often less expensive and it can help your “destination deal with over-tourism and overcrowding,” says Lale Arikoglu, articles director at Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

2. The rule that your wedding gift should cost as much as your plate is outdated, says etiquette coach Myka Meier. “That is kind of an old wives’ tale that you have to spend what the couple spent on you, because that’s often not possible for many people. At the end of the day, you need to stay within your budget.”

3. To prevent digital eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of computer work, take a 20-second break and look 20 feet away, say eye experts.

4. To truly connect with a poem, don’t worry about figuring out what the poet is trying to say. Instead, says poet Harryette Mullen, focus on how you feel. What impression do you get? What ideas float around in your mind as you read it?

5. Don’t depend on an anti-choking device if your baby is choking, say pediatricians. The evidence-backed and proven method is to do back blows followed by chest blows on your child — and then, if they’re unresponsive, proceed to call 911 and do CPR.

6. Start talking to your kids about vaping when they’re in elementary school, says Dr. Deepa Camenga, a pediatrician and addiction medicine specialist with the Yale School of Medicine. You want to be the first person to have that conversation with them so they know what your expectations are.

7. Think of your birthday as your own personal holiday. A lot of people dislike their birthday — they don’t like the attention or they’ve been disappointed by previous birthdays. Make your day special again by doing what you want to do, whether it’s throwing yourself a giant bash or treating yourself to a spa day.

8. In negotiation, avoid simple yes or no answers by trying a tactic called “a menu of options,” says career coach Joan Moon. For example: instead of asking for more flexibility at a new job and getting a flat-out no, you might propose a couple of options: working three days remote or a four-day workweek. It can help expand the possibility of a favorable outcome.

9. Tired of having roommates? Consider “communal living.” Communal living takes many forms, whether that’s sharing a home with like-minded people or raising your kids on the same street as your friends. And it goes by many names: intentional communities, co-housing, co-ops or communes. But they all have one thing in common: people who co-live don’t just simply live together as roommates. They make the long-term commitment to intertwine their lives with one another, says Gillian Morris, who co-runs a blog on communal living.


The digital story was written by Malaka Gharib and edited by Meghan Keane. The visual editor is Beck Harlan. We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823, or email us at [email protected].

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