All posts by Hilary Achauer

How Clutter Drags You Down (Plus 3 Ways to Fix It)

How Clutter Drags You Down (Plus 3 Ways to Fix It)

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When you walk in the door after a long day at work, what’s the first thing you see?

If your eyes fall on clothes piled on the couch, papers on the dining room table, and dishes in the sink, the mess in your home could be a hidden source of stress, fatigue, or depression.

A 2010 study found that women who described their homes as “cluttered” were more likely to be depressed or fatigued than woman who felt their homes were “restful.” The women with the cluttered homes also had higher levels of the cortisol, the stress hormone.…

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How to Be Mentally Healthy While You’re Sick

How to Be Mentally Healthy While You’re Sick

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I know how to stay strong during a tough workout, how to work long hours to meet a deadline, and how to eat well when I’m surrounded by junk food — but when I’m sick or injured, my mental resolve crumbles.

Maybe it’s because I rarely get sick, but when illness or injury descends, I lose all my stoicism. This is especially true if I perceive that the illness is something out of the norm, difficult to explain, or lasts longer than a few days.…

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How to Get Ready for Summer (and Learn to Love Yourself in the Process)

How to Get Ready for Summer (and Learn to Love Yourself in the Process)

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Get ready — it’s coming.

The days are getting longer and the temperature is rising. This means you’ll soon see articles about how to get ready for summer. Usually with titles like 5 Ways to Get Summer-Body Ready or Get Bikini Ready Now.

The premise of these articles is that there’s something “wrong” with your body and you’d better change quickly if you’re going to walk around in something other than long pants and a jacket.…

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Friendship: How to Make and Keep Friends (and Boost Your Health)

Friendship: How to Make and Keep Friends (and Boost Your Health)

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Making friends as a kid is easy. When you’re young, you see your friends every day at school or at after-school activities. No full-time job or adult responsibilities means kids can spend endless hours of playing, laughing, and talking with friends.

Then adulthood hits, and with it work and family responsibilities.

At some point you realize friendship takes work, and overwhelmed with just getting through the day, you wonder: is it all worthwhile?…

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4 Better Ideas for Healthy Resolutions to Make This Year

4 Better Ideas for Healthy Resolutions to Make This Year

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When I was growing up, my family’s New Year’s Eve tradition was to sit around the fire and write New Year’s resolutions. Our resolutions changed from year to year, depending on what lay ahead of us. My sister resolved to get a lead in the school play, I said I’d study harder in math and stop biting my nails, my dad wrote about medical textbooks he hoped to finish writing, and my mom put down her volunteering goals.…

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How to Reduce Holiday Spending and Love the Season More

How to Reduce Holiday Spending and Love the Season More

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Before online shopping was a thing — and before we had kids — my husband and I took care of our Christmas shopping in one day. We’d pick a Saturday in December and drive to a local design district, a beautiful street lined with quirky stores selling everything from outdoor apparel to home decor.

Taking our time, we’d stroll in and out of the shops, holding up our finds:

“A fleece jacket for your dad?” I’d ask.…

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4 Better Sleep Solutions (That Don't Come in a Bottle)

4 Better Sleep Solutions (That Don’t Come in a Bottle)

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In high school, I had a friend whose mom lived a glamorous life of parties, concerts, and late-night socializing. She’d sweep into the room on her way out for the third night in a row, and tell us in her husky voice, “Girls, you can sleep when you’re dead.”

My friend would repeat this phrase to me any time I said I was too tired to go out, and it usually convinced me to reconsider and head out the door.…

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4 Tools to Overcome Negativity Bias (and Learn to See the Positive)

4 Tools to Overcome Negativity Bias (and Learn to See the Positive)

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Quick, name three good things that happened to you recently.

Next, name three things that aren’t going well.

Which was easier?

If you’re like most people, coming up with negative examples was much easier. It probably wasn’t difficult to think of more than three things that are causing you stress or worry.

The reason for this is something called “negativity bias.”

This is a phenomenon that causes our minds to react more strongly and persistently to bad things.…

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4 "Secrets" to Accountability That Aren't Really Secrets at All

4 “Secrets” to Accountability That Aren’t Really Secrets at All

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Accountability is what keeps us all on track, but most of us struggle when we’re answering only to ourselves — especially when it comes to health and wellness.

Add in work stress, family obligations, and the constant presence of unhealthy food, and staying accountable becomes extremely difficult.

But if you want to have a long, healthy life, then sooner or later, you’ve got to figure out how to hold yourself accountable, even when (or, perhaps, especially when) life gets complicated.…

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How to Not Fall Off the Health and Fitness Wagon

How to Not Fall Off the Health and Fitness Wagon

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The world of health and fitness can be confusing.

Recommendations change. Studies conflict each other. A food is a super food, and then it’s to be avoided. A new exercise is the only way to health, and then it’s dangerous.

I’ve come to realize it’s not exactly which diet or exercise you choose, just that you commit wholeheartedly to something.…

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What Is Moderation? How to Define It for Yourself

What Is Moderation? How to Define It for Yourself

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Much of the advice about healthy living comes down to a simple instruction that in reality can be extremely difficult to follow: everything in moderation.

Okay, but what does that mean? What is moderation?

While it would be nice to spell it out in portion sizes and workout prescriptions, moderation is more challenging than that in practice.

Here is the challenge — moderation is relative.…

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How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label—and Make Better Food Choices

How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label—and Make Better Food Choices

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A few years ago, I picked up my favorite energy bar and looked at the nutrition facts label.

I had a suspicion about these bars. They advertise simple, natural ingredients, and they are delicious and sweet—a little too sweet. I selected my favorite flavor and looked at the sugar content: eighteen grams.

I find “grams” hard to visualize and without a lot of meaning, so to give myself some context I divided eighteen by four—this is how you convert grams to teaspoons, which is a measurement I can get my head around.…

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