I used to think people who preferred listening to audiobooks over reading regular old paper books were weird. I mean, isn’t that kind of like listening to AM radio?
But then I had kids, and somewhere amid the late-night feedings and filibuster-length bedtime routines, I realized I had a lot of wasted time on my hands. It was difficult to get much done with a baby literally attached to my body. And even once said baby was lying quietly in his crib, I didn’t have any light to read by.
At first, I developed a deep fondness for Candy Crush. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Candy Crush is a highly addictive puzzle game app. At least it’s mentally stimulating, I assured myself. Plus, I could play it with one hand, which was important since my other limb was usually trapped under a baby.
Such is life with infants.
Over time, I crushed a lot of candies. So many candies. I needed something else to fill my time because staring at that little screen began to hurt my eyeballs after awhile.
These episodic series of spoken words can be found on quite literally any topic you can think of. Search Apple Podcasts and you’ll see. Interested in the history of garden gnomes? Curious about hot topics in the dental industry? Well, you’re in luck because they’re both out there.
Assuming you’re looking for more practical shows to listen to, I’ve rounded up 5 podcasts—in no particular order—you can’t miss.
#1: Unlocking Us (with Brene Brown)
Could I make a list of ANYTHING I adore without including Brene* on it? Sure, I could. But I won’t.
On this show, Brene uses her 20+ years studying the emotions and experiences that bring meaning and purpose to our lives. “I want this to be a podcast that’s real, unpolished, honest, and reflects both the magic and the messiness of what it means to be human,” she says.
If you need a dose of connection and understanding—especially right now—her show is a winner.
*In my imagination, Brene and I are on a first-name basis.
#2: The Doctor’s Farmacy (with Mark Hyman, M.D.)
Yes. Farmacy, with an F.
“We are seeing an ever-increasing burden of chronic disease, primarily driven by our food and food system,” Dr. Hyman writes. “This podcast is a place for deep conversations about the critical issues of our time in the space of health, wellness, food, and politics.”
Every time I listen to one of his episodes, it opens my eyes to something new. If you think food is medicine and you think critically about what you feed yourself and your family, I highly recommend this one.
#3: The Meditation Podcast
The Meditation Podcast has been around since 2006, which is the Dinosaur Age of podcasting. If it’s still humming after 15 years, they must be doing something right! Run by a husband-and-wife team (how cute is that?), this show uses guided meditations, binaural beats and mindfulness to promote stress and anxiety relief.
If you’ve never heard of binaural beats, you’re not alone. Aside from The Meditation Podcast, I scarcely hear them mentioned. Binaural beats are a type of sound wave therapy. I find that listening to these episodes with headphones brings me into a deeper meditation faster and more easily than listening to guided meditations without the special sounds.
If you need help falling asleep or find regular meditation difficult, give this one a try!
#4: The Happiness Lab (with Dr. Laurie Santos)
Last summer, I took Dr. Santos’ class, The Science of Well-Being, online. (Side note: you can audit this class for free on Coursera!)
Her class is Yale University’s most popular course ever, and with good reason. She explains the psychology of happiness in a way that makes it easy to understand and interesting to follow. Plus, she seems like a genuinely cool person.
So when she came out with a podcast, I was all over it.
“You might think you know what it takes to lead a happier life… more money, better job, Instagram-worthy vacations,” she said. “You’re dead wrong.”
In fact, it was her course that helped inspire me to develop The Magic Joy Formula, a 6-week workshop that shows women how to transform their routines to bring more joy into their daily lives.
If you nerd out on personal development and self improvement, add this podcast to your list. It’s worth the listen!
#5: UnF*ck Your Brain
I stumbled on this podcast while searching for something else in Apple’s podcast app, and with a title like that, I just had to click on it.
I mean, that’s a pretty strong title.
The podcast is hosted by Kara Loewentheil, who ended her law career to become *drum roll, please* … a life coach. And she’s brilliant at it.
“This is the podcast for high-achieving feminist women who struggle with anxiety, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome,” she said. On the show, Loewentheil teaches women “how to overcome social conditioning and your own self-critical thoughts so that you can reduce your anxiety and insecurity, boost your self-confidence, and get what you want in life.”
What did I miss? Any podcasts you’ve fallen in love with that you’d recommend?? Let me know in the comments!