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Top tips from Life Kit: 7 ideas to make your summer safer and brighter

Becky Harlan
/
NPR

When it comes to bright ideas, our Life Kit experts have a lot of them. This month, they offered timely guidance on summer safety, science-backed strategies on how to boost memory and improve sleep, and relationship advice (like how to get over a pesky crush).

Here are seven tips from Life Kit's June episodes that our editors and producers are most excited to put into practice in daily life.

1. If you need a creative breakthrough at work, move to a different location. One study found that "if you change your environment in a very simple way, like getting out of your office to work in the kitchen or go for a walk, you become more creative," says cognitive neuroscientist Tali Sharot. "Now, the creativity boost that you get from simply changing your environment lasts for only about six minutes. However, those six minutes could be quite important. That could be the big eureka moment."


2. If you have a ton on your mind as you're trying to fall asleep, quiet the chatter by writing a to-do list. Write out each issue or task and a specific next step that you will take tomorrow to address it, says Allison Harvey, a professor and clinical psychologist. Don’t try to actually solve the problem, though. “Once people get into problem-solving, that becomes arousing.”


3. Need to get over an old crush? Reach out to them. "A lot of time has passed, so you're crushing on the perception of this person that may not actually align with reality," says sex educator Shan Boodram. "There's so much unknown about who that person is now. You have to collect a lot more information."


4. When kids are in the water, designate a "water watcher" to monitor them at all times. It should be an adult who is sober and fully focused. They should have their phone nearby in case they need to call 911. To avoid fatigue, they should assign another adult to watch the water after a set period of time.


5. If the temperature is in the high 90s and you don't have air conditioning at home, go to a cooling center. If you're having trouble staying cool at home for any reason, don't hesitate to look for a cooling center nearby. "That might be something like a community center, a public library, a coffee shop, a movie theater or a mall," says Paul Schramm with the Climate Health Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Electric fans are not enough — they will just move around hot air.


6. Don't want to forget where you parked your car? Slow down and focus on what you want to remember, says neuroscientist Lisa Genova. When people gripe about having memory problems, they're often having attention problems. "The first necessary ingredient in creating a longer-lasting memory is attention. We need that input — otherwise that memory doesn’t get made." So if you can't find your parking spot, you probably weren't paying attention to it in the first place.


7. To protect your home and loved ones, position your gas or charcoal grill in an open environment. "You don't want anything above your grill, like a balcony. And don't place your grill along your house siding. Keep the back of the grill positioned in open air," says Jess Larson, founder of the food blog Plays Well with Butter. Double-check your grill's manual for more details. "Some grills say they're deck friendly. Some say you should be really grilling on cement or pavement."


Want more tips like these? Subscribe to Life Kit's weekly newsletter for more advice on relationships, health, money, lifestyle and more.


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 LifeKit@npr.org.

Listen to Life Kit on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and sign up for our newsletter.

Copyright 2024 NPR

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[Copyright 2024 NPR]