Latest Help Desk headlines

Meditating Figure by Linda Hoffman, shown at the 10th annual outdoor sculpture exhibit in 2016 at Old Frog Pond Farm and Studio in Harvard. Looks peaceful, doesn’t it?


How to start a meditation practice

If you’re resolving to be less stressed in 2019, meditation might be for you. Here’s how to get started.

Bread slices with facial expressions - isolated on white


How to tackle your food issues

Here are some (rational, actionable) tips from experts on how to eat well all year long, no matter what your dining persona.

To inspire a new generation of volunteers, start young.


How to get kids into the giving spirit

It’s possible that the best gift you can give your child is to show them that they have the power to give, too.

Janet Reich Elsbach


How to show you care with food, in the most helpful way

Author Janet Reich Elsbach takes a look at how helping people with meals in times of stress not only provides nourishment, but comfort and pleasure at times when all can be in short supply.

According to a poll, most of us would rather save our pennies instead of feeling pressured to swap presents.

How to opt out of swapping gifts (or at least buy less and stress less)

We’ve got expert tips for how to bow out of gift-giving gracefully and other advice to maximize savings and minimize stress.

Need help getting your child to listen and do things in a timely manner? You aren’t alone.


How to get your toddler to listen to you. (No, really.)

The stalling. The helplessness. The sneaking out of bed multiple times a night. The crying. The whining. It was time to call in the experts for help with my 3-year-old.

Visitors enjoyed the holiday lights display beside a reflecting pool at Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

Your guide to surviving winter — with a little fun thrown in

We’ve got 120 days until spring and too much holiday angst to have no survival plan for the next few months. Here are some ideas to get you started.


How to become a morning person

If you weren’t born with the early riser gene, you’re not alone. Here’s how you can reset your inner clock.


How to deal with property management companies — the good ones and the bad

A quick search on review sites yields scathing reviews of some property management companies, accused of everything from not making repairs to ignoring mice infestations to refusing to return security deposits. So what do you do?


Got a friend trying to sell you things you don’t want? Here’s how to just say no

By all means, if you want to buy those leggings or stress-busting oils, buy them. But if you don’t and you’re struggling to say so, here’s some advice from experts.


Yes, you can argue online without going crazy. Here’s how.

Step 1: Take a deep breath. Step 2: Remember there’s a human on the other end. *Unless it’s a bot.

JetBlue’s Mint passengers get extra-long lie-flat seats with massage functions, artisanal, small plate menu options from well-known restaurants, top-drawer spirits and wines, and one of the largest libraries of free in-flight entertainment.

Are business class tickets worth the price? And how do I score one (without paying a bundle)?

Even if you’re not one of the airline’s biggest spenders, there are ways to up your odds of securing an upgrade.

Those bunny slippers are dangerously close to the space heater. They should be at least 3 feet away.


How to safely use a space heater

Use of space heaters is common, but they account for “vast amounts of civilian deaths and injuries,” according to Boston Fire Marshal Jack Dempsey.


How to sneak a little fitness into the workday

As working from home becomes increasingly common — about 43 percent of all workers work remotely at least occasionally — more people are navigating the perks and downfalls of the zero-minute commute.

These days, you may find yourself locked into a conversation with someone who doesn’t see things the way you do.

How to navigate a tense conversation in these contentious times

Experts say that sometimes it really is best to avoid tense conversations altogether. But if that’s not possible, try to first bite your tongue and open your ears.

Experts say that when it comes to extracurricular activities, it’s important to follow your child’s lead. Do they really want to be participating, or are they doing it because they think they have to?


When it comes to your child’s extracurriculars, experts say focus on ‘building a life and not a resume’

Is having your child participate in as many activities as possible really what’s best for college admissions and their growth and mental health? We asked the experts.

A sign on a door on Pleasant Street alerted firefighters, police officers, and Columbia Gas that the gas is off. They used locksmiths and climbed into windows to gain access to the homes to check for gas leaks and then lock down the meters.


Need to turn off the gas, or electricity, or water? Here’s how.

The explosions in the Merrimack Valley were a wake-up call for those of us who don’t know the first thing about the shut-off valves in our basements.


How to buy a home when you don’t have enough saved up

Saving enough for a down payment, particularly in a housing market as red-hot as Greater Boston’s, is among the top concerns for many would-be first-time home buyers.


Which is best: fresh, frozen, or canned produce? The answer may surprise you

The best produce to eat is the produce you can afford. In other words, purchase and eat as much produce as you can get with your dollar, in whatever form you can get it in.

What to do if your dog bites someone

What happens after the family pet bites someone? Veterinary clinicians and animal control officers in Boston say knowing what to do next is valuable.

Heavy and ill-fitting backpacks can be a real pain.


How do I pick the right backpack for my kid?

Pediatric orthopedic experts told the Globe a too-heavy backpack can in fact cause children some back discomfort, but there are things families can do to avoid that situation.

Notch Brewery's Traveling Biergarten made a stop in Bird Park in Walpole earlier this month.


It’s 5 p.m. and it’s still warm out. So where do I get a drink around here?

Finally, there are a few good answers to a summertime question that has been plaguing Greater Boston since Prohibition.

The Rose Kennedy Greenway offers plenty of diversions for visitors, including seven water features.

Things to do in Boston with your guests on the cheap

Some of the best things in Boston, as in life, really are free, or at least cheap.

Always wash fruits and vegetables.

Help Desk

How not to get food poisoning

Each day seems to bring news of another outbreak or recall. You don’t have to give up eating, though. Here’s how to avoid food poisoning like the plague.

If alcohol is taking on a bigger role in your life, if might be time to reassess your drinking.


Time to cut back on drinking? Here’s how

You can drink too much without necessarily being addicted to alcohol. And drinking less can make your life better.


How to get over a bad vacation

Here are some tips from workplace and travel experts to help you avoid feeling cheated out of some much needed time away, and to ease into a busy week without feeling more harried than usual.

How to construct a dating profile that might get attention

You’ve done it. You’ve joined the countless Americans using a dating app in their quest for love. Now, though, comes the hard part: Constructing a profile.

Plastic that China no longer wants stacks up at E.L. Harvey and Sons in Westborough.

How to recycle the right way

Many of us aren’t very good at recycling, throwing items in bins that simply don’t belong there. Environmental advocates call that “wish-cycling” or “optimistic recycling,” and it’s not helping.

How to be a better subway passenger

On the MBTA, some bad etiquette will merely make a trip less pleasant, but other poor manners could even delay or interrupt your commute.

At the Studio Allston Hotel, the lobby pops with color.

Inside Boston’s hottest hotels, from bleak to chic, and everything in between

Travel writer Christopher Muther slept around so you don’t have to.

A moving truck sign on Highgate Street in Allston reserved a parking space on Sept. 1, 2016.

You’re about to move. Do you really need to get a permit?

Permits for your moving truck can feel like one more hassle to deal with when packing up your apartment. Do you really need to bother? Yes, experts say. Yes, you do.

Massachusetts General Hospital.

How to land an appointment with a sought-after doctor

Here are some strategies for getting in to see some of the region’s top doctors.

‘If they touch it, you tip it’: The definitive guide to tipping while traveling

With the help of etiquette experts, we’ve assembled a handy guide for tipping while traveling in the United States.

You’re not powerless in keeping your location data private.

The Help Desk

How to stop your smartphone from tracking your location

Here are some steps you can take to help stop companies from knowing exactly where you are all the time.