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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Self Care

In Elemental. More on Medium.

Pandemic Winter Health Hacks

How to calm the chaos (on your coffee table)

I’m not entirely sure what goes on in my brain when I work on a jigsaw puzzle, but I do know there is something uniquely engrossing about it. As Marisa Evans reports for Elemental, the slow gathering and careful study of a pile of pieces serves as a form of “play therapy.” By creating order out of chaos, puzzlers arguably experience a mini triumph over (albeit manufactured) anxiety. Puzzling also reportedly delivers a tactile, focused lesson in patience.


If you have to do it, here’s how to do it right

Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images

There are plenty of very good reasons to be wearing a mask. As we slowly emerge from pandemic lockdowns, face masks, even simple fabric ones, can drastically reduce the spread of Covid-19.


‘In the anxiety of this moment, I deeply appreciate the calm and resilience I’ve found since changing the way I eat.’

Close up of unrecognizable woman cracking an egg for breakfast while putting it in a frying pan.
Close up of unrecognizable woman cracking an egg for breakfast while putting it in a frying pan.
Photo: skynesher/E+/Getty Images

Normally, having an article of mine tweeted by Bernie Sanders would have been all I could talk about. But on the day it happened, my doctor told me something that made the career high pale in comparison: “I’ve never had any patient stay on a low-carb diet this long.”


Welcome to the world of crying therapy sessions

Illustration: Alexis Jamet

It’s the first thing most of us do when we enter this world: cry. And yet by the time we reach toddlerhood, we’re socialized to learn that crying is undesirable behavior. Big boys and girls don’t cry.


An “invisible illness” that changes everything

Art by Jessica Siao

If you saw me now, you wouldn’t think I was ill. I don’t look ill. I have an “invisible illness” called lupus.


Being healthy shouldn’t feel financially out of reach

Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

I’ve always known it was important to be “healthy.” But for much of my life, I didn’t know how to get there.


Virtual reality is the hottest new way to relax

Illustration: Jon Han

The first time Ralonda Dittmar went to Esqapes Immersive Relaxation, a new virtual reality spa, she was so relaxed exploring a beautiful garden, so captivated by the vivid imagery of rippling water and swaying branches, she thought that her 30-minute experience lasted for hours.


How my diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia changed my self-perception

Photo: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury via Getty Images

During one of the lowest moments in my year without sleep, I remember watching some silly Disney Channel sitcom where the kids were all settling in for a sleepover. They told each other good night, lay down in their bunk beds, and went to sleep.


Devotees of cycle syncing argue that tracking their physical and mental fluctuations helps them to plan better for everything from workouts to social time

Credit: Ekaterina79/Getty Images

For the past five months, 27-year-old Sara Robbert has been tracking her menstrual cycle — in a graph-ruled notebook, scribbling down a sentence each day about how she feels. Every 28 days or so, she has a new set of data points, which she mentally adds to an ever-expanding portrait of her own emotional and physiological patterns.


How to focus on activities that help your emotional well-being and cut out the ones that don’t

Photo: thenakedsnail/Getty Images

The term “self-care,” once found mostly in the revolutionary texts of writers like Audre Lorde (who described it as “an act of political warfare”) and the reference materials for psychiatrists in training, is now ubiquitous in conversations about mental health. More than ever, people are putting a conscious, curated effort into the once simple task of maintaining their own well-being.

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