Helping You Help Yourself #3

feature image via shutterstock

Going to the doctor’s can be stressful and confusing, but if you have insurance coverage that includes things like physicals, you owe it to yourself to get one. If the process of making an appointment feels overwhelming, here’s how.

Have you tried watching the jellyfish cam yet? Give it a shot and see if you aren’t soothed.

Here are a bunch of things that it’s a really good idea to keep in your car, especially during the winter. Take some time this week and stock your trunk.

Make a point this week of reaching out to someone that you care about but haven’t talked to in a while. It can be anything from sending them a koala emoji to inviting them to coffee. It doesn’t have to be a big deal and you’re not gonna regret doing it, pinkie swear.

Are you considering doing your own taxes this year? Here are some thoughts about how to decide whether you want to do this yourself or pay a professional. If you do decide to do them yourself, maybe some of the information here or here will be helpful. Regardless of how you approach your taxes, probably at least some of these links are gonna be useful.

Is everything you own now covered in white stains thanks to snow, ice and road salt? Yeah, me too. Here’s how to clean it off of basically everything.

Here’s Lisa Eldridge showing you how to give yourself a facial massage and talking to you for a while. Whether you want to learn how to give yourself a soothing massage or just listen to her relaxing accent while you do other things, it will probably make your life better.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the only thing better than soup is soup mix in a jar, ready to become delicious soup at the drop of a hat with a little water. Here are 58 different soups-in-jars to make your life warmer and yummier.

Practice different ways of saying no. How to say no to your sibling, how to say no to your ex, how to say no to your boss, how to say no to your best friend. Practice ways of saying no politely, directly, loudly, rudely, passive-aggressively. Practice saying no in a box, with a fox; with a mouse, in a house. Get comfortable enough with the idea of saying no that when you’re presented with a real-life situation where you’re asked to do something you don’t want to you can do it without second-guessing yourself at all.

If you have five minutes free this week, maybe make a list of everything that’s in your wallet — cards, ID, all of it. This will make it 100 times easier if you do at some point lose your wallet; you can know right away what needs to be canceled/frozen/replaced without trying to remember it and risk forgetting something that needs to be taken care of.

Is there a dire need in your life for pancakes shaped like bumblebees and cats? Great news! All you need is a condiment squeeze bottle for your batter.

Did you know you can watch a bunch of full episodes of Mr. Rogers on the PBS website? You’re welcome!

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Oh my god, Rachel. Bless you. It’s actually one of my New Year’s resolutions to get a physical. Also, I am working on my taxes today, so that jellyfish cam is ON POINT.

      • :) yeah there’s nothing like channeling the motion of a Japanese sea nettle as you add up your expenses for the past year!

    • Today, I waited outside a locked building for 20 minutes. It was 20 degrees.

      I am jealous, is what I’m saying.

  2. I really needed that first link. It’s been like a year and a half since I’ve been to a dentist and I need to just find one in my city and call them up and make an appointment. But I have to say, though, the “Find A Doctor” thing on my insurance’s website is NOT helpful. It gave me the information for 528 dentists in my area. How on earth am I supposed to narrow that down??

    Also, thanks for the reminder to reach out to people. It’s hard to stay in touch with friends in different cities, but absolutely worth it!

    • i am also always plagued by how impossible it is to narrow that list down! i was able to successfully make a doctor’s appointment earlier this year; what i did was check my city’s LGBT community org, and they handily had a list of lgbt-friendly healthcare providers. i looked to see which of those healthcare providers were also in my insurance’s network (and also were women, bc i prefer that) and then i only had to narrow it down between like eight. i don’t know if your city has a similar list, but it’s worth checking!

  3. I always picture you speaking these softly and calmly in my general direction while seated around a fire at A-Camp. Reading these is the most relaxing.

  4. the thing about massages, tho, is you always feel the need to explain yourself when someone else walks into the room. The only downside.

  5. The (slightly) bitter irony of having done my taxes 6 hours before you posted this is soothed by visiting Mr Roger’s Neighborhood of Make Believe.

  6. I do have a correction to the last link in the tax paragraph: If you make $53,000 or less, you can use Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinics for free tax preparation. Call your local United Way or go to to find a site near you! (Full disclosure: I am a VITA site coordinator.)

  7. I’m so glad these columns have become a regular thing!
    Just did the one about reaching out to an old friend. Thank you for the reminder.

  8. Lol even the list – read your bio – did you know there is a children’s book about how much dragons love eating tacos?

  9. This is such a brilliant idea. As a CSA survivor\ACODF, anything in this vein is so helpful and so radical a notion! Thank you.

  10. I liked all of this so much. Especially needed to hear “get your a$$ to a dentist” and “reach out to people, plz” and “learn how to say no w/o feeling guilt”. Srsly, home run! Also, I really did just NOT show up to a dentist appointment my gal made me this morning because I hate all things physician related. My parents grew me up under the notion that all doctors are evil and I haven’t quite been able to shake that feeling o.0

  11. I actually reached out to two of my ex-best friends this week because I missed them. We will see what comes of it. These are people who dropped of the face of my earth during a really tough time in my life, but used to be my closest friends.

    Dear lord I’m so sick of being lonely and friendless so hopefully this works!

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