NPR's most popular self-help and lifestyle stories of 2023 This year, you loved our stories about relationships — with your partners, your friends and yourselves. And you wanted practical guidance on how to meal prep, declutter and take care of your teeth.

NPR's most popular self-help and lifestyle stories of 2023

Clockwise from left: Andrea D'Aquino for NPR; Becky Harlan/NPR; Malaka Gharib/NPR; Becky Harlan/NPR; Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR; Becky Harlan/NPR
Grid of six square images displaying art from the top 10 NPR Life Kit stories of 2023. Left to right: A collaged drawer of very organized objects, colorful toothbrushes arranged in a circle, an illustration of a woman staring contemplatively at art, a collaged house wearing a medical mask, illustration of a person detangling a knotty cable, and a photo of a very messy shelf.
Clockwise from left: Andrea D'Aquino for NPR; Becky Harlan/NPR; Malaka Gharib/NPR; Becky Harlan/NPR; Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR; Becky Harlan/NPR

NPR's Life Kit offered a lot of advice this year. We shared guidance on how to protect your ears, how to cope with losing a pet and what to do if you're ... constipated!

Out of the 151 episodes that we published in 2023, there were a handful that really took off with our audience: You loved our story on how to take care of your teeth, a quiz about perfectionism and cooking tips from a meal prep influencer.

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

10. Don't 'get' art? You might be looking at it wrong

Malaka Gharib/ NPR
A woman scrutinizes a Mark Rothko painting to try to understand it.
Malaka Gharib/ NPR

Everyone can have a profound connection with a work of art. You just need the right mindset and attitude. Art professionals share tips on how to navigate museums and observe paintings and sculptures. Read the story here.

9. A meal prep influencer shares 6 of his favorite cooking hacks

Compassionate Eye Foundation/Ste/Getty Images
Close up of man in his 20s cutting bell peppers at home in the kitchen and engaging in meal prep.
Compassionate Eye Foundation/Ste/Getty Images

What's for dinner? It's a question that can lead to overspending on delivery, unhealthy meals and dread. FitMenCook founder Kevin Curry shares meal prep techniques that can alleviate stress and save money. Read the story here.

8. Dear Life Kit: My husband is living under COVID lockdown. I'm ready to move on

Photograph by Pam Menegakis/Unsplash; Photo illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR
Illustration showing one red house that's isolated in the middle of the frame. Green houses with different silhouettes surround the house in clusters. The red house has a surgical mask covering the facade, symbolizing a household still living under COVID lockdown.
Photograph by Pam Menegakis/Unsplash; Photo illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Three years into the pandemic, one spouse is ready to lift lockdown. The other? Not so much. Epidemiologist and science communicator Jessica Malaty Rivera shares ideas on finding compromise and managing a risk budget. Read the story here.

7. Don't have the energy to clean today? Just tidy up these 5 things

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR
"Things that don't have a place" is the fifth category in KC Davis's "Five Things Tidying Method." Essentially, any item that is creating clutter because you're not actually sure where it belongs in your home. These are things that might end up in a junk drawer, like tape, plastic easter eggs, batteries, a rubik's cube, notepad, a tape measure, screws and a tote bag.
Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Therapist and author KC Davis shares a framework to help you get a messy room back to functional quickly. She says that in any space, there are really only five things: trash, dishes, laundry, things that have a place, and things that don't have a place. We help you tackle them, one by one. Read the story here.

6. Coping with the end of a friendship

Ed Bock/Getty Images
Two silhouetted figures walk down a floating pathway, surrounded by clouds. The path splits and each figure takes a different path, symbolizing the end of a friendship.
Ed Bock/Getty Images

Not all friends are meant to last forever. Here are 5 things to remember if you're processing the loss of a friendship — or trying to save one that matters to you. Read the story here.

5. Want a marriage that lasts? 5 questions to ask your partner before getting hitched

Malte Mueller/Getty Images/fStop
Illustration of a couple sitting on the grass seen from above. One person is mowing the lawn and another is watching them from a distance. The lawn mower forms a loopy heart shape as the person mows the lawn.
Malte Mueller/Getty Images/fStop

These conversation starters get at the heart of your values, including how you deal with conflict, your attitude toward gender roles and your relationship with money. Read the story here.

4. What kind of perfectionist are you? Take this 7-question quiz to find out

Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR
Illustration of a person untangling a string that's crossing the frame. The style of the illustration is very sketchy and hand drawn.
Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR

Are you a 'Parisian perfectionist'? How about a 'messy perfectionist'? Psychotherapist Katherine Morgan Schafler believes there are 5 kinds of perfectionists in the world. Find out which one you are. Read the story here.

3. The decluttering philosophy that can help you keep your home organized

Andrea D'Aquino for NPR
Collage of a black and white set of drawers with the middle drawer pulled out by a hand. Inside the drawer, in color, are pencils, scissors, a wine key, a key, a charge cord, playing card, chopsticks, batteries, a flashlight and other items typically found in a junk drawer, are colorful, impeccably organized. A framed photo of a smiling face sits atop the set of drawers.
Andrea D'Aquino for NPR

Got piles of stuff you just can't seem to get rid of? Professional organizer Star Hansen explains how to let go of unnecessary items – and keep your home neat and tidy. Read the story here.

2. 'Do I really need to floss?' and other common questions about dental care

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR
Photograph of 12 wooden toothbrushes with colorful bristles arranged in a circle representing a clock against a black backdrop.
Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

We asked experts to answer five questions about how to properly care for your teeth. Here's what they said about finding a dentist, whitening your teeth at home, and whether daily flossing is necessary. Read the story here.

1. 10 pieces of well-worn life advice you may need to hear right now

Becky Harlan/NPR
A photo collage of two people talking to each other and sharing advice as seen from behind. Around them are doodles showing a game plan.
Becky Harlan/NPR

We asked experts what life advice they keep on steady rotation. Here are 10 tried-and-true tips from therapists, career coaches and writers. Read the story here.


Our visuals editor is Beck Harlan, and our digital editor is Malaka Gharib.

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