Well's Favorite Health Tips of the Year – The New York Times

As editors and reporters on the Well desk, we get to hear great advice — like how to become less stressed or what workouts to try. I asked my colleagues to share the tips they learned this year that really stood out.
Here are their top pieces of advice →
Read a Novel
When we interviewed Dr. Richard Restak, an author and neurologist, about his new book on how to sharpen your memory, he shared lots of helpful advice. One tip was particularly surprising and delightful: Read more novels.
Reading fiction requires active engagement with the text, starting at the beginning and working through to the end. “You have to remember what the character did on Page 3 by the time you get to Page 11,” he said.
A Neurologist’s Tips to Protect Your Memory
Be Candid About Covid
Reporting on Covid-19 has hammered home the importance of clear communication when it comes to who has the virus — or has been exposed to it.
My social circle also clearly communicates boundaries, whether it’s being comfortable with someone who has sniffles, for example, even if they test negative.
Find Balance
As a tall person, balance and coordination have never been my strong suits. As such, I spent my teens and 20s consciously trying to be better at both.
Even so, I was surprised to learn how important having balance is for longevity. Now testing and improving balance is my go-to advice for anyone over 60 (and for tall people) to make life easier and to literally prolong their lives.
Take the 10-Second Balance Test
Do Angry Well
I now make an effort to tell my kids when I’m angry, rather than hiding my frustration (or exploding).
I label what anger feels like in my body, and how I am managing it, which is often stomping out of the room to take a few deep breaths. I fall short a lot, but I hope to teach my sons that learning to cope with anger is a lifelong skill.
How to Raise Kids Who Are Good at Getting Angry
Brush Before Breakfast (If You Want To)
For decades, I’ve wondered whether you should brush your teeth before breakfast or after. Few studies have looked into this question, and their results have been mixed and limited.
But I did learn that failing to brush your teeth before breakfast gives all of the budding bacteria in your mouth a chance to feast on your food, which can increase the risk of cavities. So brushing before my morning meal is the way forward for me.
Is It Better to Brush Your Teeth Before Breakfast or After?
Get a Humidifier
It is the one tool that kept coming up as an essential for both preventing and treating pretty much any respiratory disease I covered this past year, including Covid-19, the flu and R.S.V.
What Actually Helps When You Have a Cold or the Flu?
Schedule Worry Time
Instead of staying awake at night, letting my most anxious thoughts swirl and spiral, I’ve followed Dr. Aric Prather’s advice and carved out time during the day to jot down my fears and fixations.
I don’t need to solve, or even understand, that list in the moment. It’s enough to just get my anxiety down on paper, and I sleep better throughout the night.
Can’t Sleep? Try Sticking Your Head in the Freezer.
Get more advice to live your healthiest life from Well: