Given the last year of on-and-off lockdowns, social restrictions and a news cycle that seems to worsen weekly, it would be surprising if you weren’t feeling, at the very least, a bit despondent. However, whether you’re bored of WFH, are feeling the pang of self-doubt or the ache of heartbreak, be comforted by the notion that you are most definitely not alone. For every emotional ailment, there is an aural remedy – a podcast prescription, if you will, to lessen the blow and lighten the load. There’s something for everyone in our list of the best medicinal downloads, so plug in your headphones, set off on a long walk (you’ll be used to those by now) and let the feel-good vibes nurse you back to health.
In the depths of a break-up, navigating a tricky patch in your relationship or struggling to believe you’ll ever meet your match? We hear you. For 16 years, The New York Times’ Modern Love column has offered up incomparable insight into the messy and wonderful love lives of normal people. They’re stories of people just like you: the heartbroken, the compromisers, the true romantics and the eternal cynics. The podcast, hosted by editor and creator of Modern Love Daniel Jones, should provide some solace, if only in reminding you that no love is uncomplicated.
Think, just for one minute, about all you could achieve if you’d only stop telling yourself you couldn’t. That’s the idea behind The Goal Digger podcast which, despite its somewhat kitsch title, deals incisively but sensitively with the issue of imposter syndrome, which plagues even the most successful people. An excellent companion for midweek lunch breaks, host Jenna Kutcher will guide you through the choppy waters of silencing your own inner critic – how to recognise self-doubt, why we feel it and what to do about it – while offering as much encouraging advice as your most trusted friend.
The last year has felt especially lonely for most of us, with months of lockdown, self-isolation and social restrictions leading to many hours spent solo. If you’re getting slightly bored of your own company, try tuning in to The Moth podcast, which features countless tall tales, absorbing characters and surreal situations from the not-for-profit organisation of the same name, founded in 1997 to protect the art and craft of storytelling. Don’t underestimate the power of some new fictional friends – a sure-fire antidote to lockdown blues.
Most of us may not be able to reframe the day we collapsed from sleep deprivation, broke our cheekbone in the process and woke up in a pool of blood as a success, but most of us aren’t Arianna Huffington. Her experience of burnout inspired her to launch Thrive Global, which aims to raise awareness of the problem and help individuals and companies action real change. The accompanying podcast features (as you might expect) a host of great names, from Elaine Welteroth to Gayle King, discussing how they find – and maintain – balance in their lives.
When you tell people you’re fine, do you really mean ‘fine’? We’d hazard a guess that lots of the time, you’re referring to the acronym F.I.N.E. – as in, F*cked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional. If you’re a bit sick of always claiming you’re ‘ok, thanks’ when you’re actually nothing of the sort, you need Terrible, Thanks for Asking: a podcast hosted by Nora McInerny, an author and TED speaker, that asks its guests to cut the social niceties and talk about how they’re really feeling. The result? A wonderfully freeing listen that’ll leave you reassured you’re not the only one having a bad day/week/month/year.
If you’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately, you’re forgiven: the last year hasn’t exactly been kind. You needn’t look for more money, a better job or a tropical holiday to lift your spirits, however – the secret to happiness is surprisingly easy. Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos explains the latest scientific research behind what makes us happy in this undeniably joyful podcast, which covers everything from the bugbear of ‘time famine’ to what we can learn from the Ancient Greeks, all explained by experts in the field. Completely smile-inducing, from start to finish.
This neat, useful podcast from Meditation Studio does what it says on the tin, untangling life’s many worries and wobbles, covering topics as diverse as anxiety and procrastination, self-love and fasting. Authors, psychologists, Buddhists, sleep experts and neuroscientists all weigh in with their valuable opinions, acting on a stressed-out mind like a particularly soothing balm. If you’ve been feeling a bit on edge recently (insomnia, we see you) give this all-round fixer-upper a try.