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Life Kit's top episodes of 2022: How to split chores, stop 'lifestyle creep' and more

A grid of six images from NPR Life Kit's top stories of 2022. From left: An illustration showing a couple who are struggling over an uneven division of labor; eight water glasses stacked in a pyramid against a blue background; an illustrated woman finding her way through vegetation; A brown lunch bag transforming into sushi; A bird in a tree; and a toddlers hand playing with duplo lego blocks.
Clockwise from left: Malaka Gharib/NPR; Becky Harlan/NPR; Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR; Meredith Rizzo/NPR; Audrey Nguyen/NPR; Allie Sullberg for NPR

NPR's Life Kit offered a lot of tips this year. We shared guidance on how to take better photos on vacation, how to find your singing voice and even how to overcome FOMO.

Out of the 143 episodes that we published in 2022, there were a handful that really took off with our audience: You loved a story that busts myths on hydration, guidance on how to prevent impulse purchases and our advice column, Dear Life Kit.

Here are our top 10 episodes, ranked by page views on NPR.org.

10. Deciding a fair inheritance

Photo collage of a house sitting on a pile of money. The house is divided into three pieces. Coins rain down from the sky. The scene is surrounded by a frame of mail, letters, envelopes, and stamps.
/ Photos by Jacques Bopp/Unsplash, Becky Harlan/NPR
Photos by Jacques Bopp/Unsplash, Becky Harlan/NPR

A Dear Life Kit listener says she took care of her elderly stepfather more than her siblings did. Yet after he passed, he left all his children the same inheritance. The situation, says the listener, "keeps me awake at night." What should she do? Find out what our expert advised.

9. What to say to a husband who secretly spent thousands of dollars

Photo collage of a man's hand wearing a wedding band and holding out a wallet. Behind it, the bars in a bar chart grow taller and taller. The frame is surrounded by letters and envelopes and paper.
/ Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR
Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Financial therapist Amanda Clayman tells a Dear Life Kit listener how to deal with a spouse who spent a large amount of their finances on impulse buys. Read what Clayman advised.

8. How to protect North American birds during migration

A cedar waxwing, photographed through binoculars.
/ Audrey Nguyen/NPR
Audrey Nguyen/NPR
A cedar waxwing, photographed through binoculars.

In North America, we've seen a staggering loss of birds. A 2019 study from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology found that there are 3 billion fewer breeding birds than in 1970. Although the situation sounds dire, there's plenty we can do to help birds survive and thrive. Experts share 8 ways to help these creatures as they migrate to their breeding grounds.

7. Preventing 'lifestyle creep'

Illustration showing a brown paper lunch bag slowly transforming into a plate of expensive takeout sushi.
/ Allie Sullberg for NPR
Allie Sullberg for NPR

"Lifestyle creep" is what happens when you have access to more money — maybe from a raise or a bonus — but instead of investing or saving it, you increase your spending, explains financial planner Paco de Leon.

She shares tips about how to manage your money and your emotions in order to achieve what she calls "inner wealth." Here's her advice on how to avoid impulse purchases.

6. Dealing with a sister who prioritized a recital over a wedding

On the left side of the frame are feet in ballet shoes standing in a line. On the right side of the frame is a wedding cake. The border of the image is surrounded by letters and stamps.
/ Photographs by Photo by Jess Zoerb, James Bold/Unsplash; Collage by NPR
Photographs by Photo by Jess Zoerb, James Bold/Unsplash; Collage by NPR

Natalie Lue, author of the self-help blog Baggage Reclaim, advises a Dear Life Kit listener who asks for advice about a close family member who isn't sure she can come to their wedding because their 8-year-old daughter has a dance recital. Read our expert's counsel.

5. An illustrated guide to divvying up household chores

Illustration of a woman holding a baby and cooking in a skillet on the stove. Anger lines form above her head. Behind her is a messy kitchen with dishes in the sink, a school-aged child sitting at the kitchen island doing homework, and groceries that need to be put away. Her husband stands in the room and asks "How can I help?"
/ Malaka Gharib/NPR
Malaka Gharib/NPR

In many households, one person shoulders the brunt of the chores and childcare – and that's often the woman. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Eve Rodsky, an attorney and author, says it's possible to divide domestic tasks fairly, which can help reduce stress at home and give back precious time to each member of the household. These tips can help you share the domestic load.

4. The playtime ritual that can get your kids to listen better

Life Kit visuals editor Becky Harlan engages her 2-year-old son, August Grabowsky, in "special time." It's a kind of child-directed playtime that children's health professionals say can be helpful in treating disruptive conduct in kids.
/ Meredith Rizzo/NPR
Meredith Rizzo/NPR
Life Kit visuals editor Becky Harlan engages her 2-year-old son, August Grabowsky, in "special time." It's a kind of child-directed playtime that children's health professionals say can be helpful in treating disruptive conduct in kids.

Sometimes kids listen to instructions — and sometimes they don't. And when they don't, that can be very frustrating for parents.

So how can parents get their kids to be more apt to comply? It might sound counterintuitive, but one strategy widely recommended by children's health professionals is to engage your child in short, daily sessions of child-led play. Dive into the strategy here.

3. Busting myths about water and hydration

Photograph of eight glasses of water in clear glasses that are stacked into a pyramid. They are against a cobalt blue background and water is being poured into the top glass.
/ Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR
Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Drink eight glasses of water a day. Coffee will make you dehydrated. Drinking extra water can help you lose weight.

You've probably heard these claims about water and hydration before. But are they true? Scientists explain the science of hydration and bust 5 common myths about water. Find out what the myths are here.

2. How to avoid cognitive biases

Illustration of a woman in profile with the top of her head open like a lid. she's pulling a tangled string out of the space where her brain would be, and examining it. Cognitive biases can cloud our judgment and affect the people around us.
/ Malte Mueller/Getty Images/fStop
Malte Mueller/Getty Images/fStop

The mind is a tricky thing. It can lead us to believe that we can confidently sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" at karaoke even though we haven't heard the song in years, or that one terrible review on Yelp is reason enough not to go to a 4-star rated restaurant.

These thinking errors are what people in the psychology community call cognitive biases. But Yale psychology professor Woo-kyoung Ahn says there are things we can do to correct these thinking traps. The key, she says, is to pause before making assumptions — and be aware of our tendencies for different kinds of bias. Read her tips here.

1. The quiz that reveals your attachment style

Illustration of a curious person standing in the midst of three attachment styles, with each style depicted as a textured wash of color.
/ Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR
Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR

According to the field of attachment theory, each person has a unique attachment style that informs how they relate to intimacy: secure, anxious, avoidant and a small subset who are anxious-avoidant.

This quiz, adapted from Amir Levine and Rachel Heller's bestselling book, Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find — and Keep — Love, will help you figure out your own attachment style. Take the quiz here.

Edited by: Beck Harlan. Listen to Life Kit on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or sign up for our newsletter.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Malaka Gharib is the deputy editor and digital strategist on NPR's global health and development team. She covers topics such as the refugee crisis, gender equality and women's health. Her work as part of NPR's reporting teams has been recognized with two Gracie Awards: in 2019 for How To Raise A Human, a series on global parenting, and in 2015 for #15Girls, a series that profiled teen girls around the world.