In times of social distancing, it’s been a little more difficult to connect with others. Those fulfilling conversations with friends are either distracted with our pandemic anxieties or just not the same through phone calls and Zoom. Thankfully there’s another way for us to get our daily dose of quality conversation—or at least a quality one-sided conversation.
Podcasts are the often forgotten medium that has something for everyone. If you want to learn something, catch up on news, or help yourself fall asleep, there’s a perfect podcast for you. Fashion Potluck has some great posts with suggestions on how to make the most of lockdown living, so here’s another for when you’re looking to fill your days.
I’ve broken down my favorite podcasts into categories and hope you get as much out of them as I have. I’ve been listening to some of these shows for years and others I’ve just found in pandemic boredom and couldn’t be happier. So let’s start it off with shows that have a good story and something worth learning about.
Learn Something New
Harvard professor and historian Jill Lepore is attempting to answer, who killed truth? In this 10-episode series, she uncovers different stories from the last 100 years to give some insights about how we remember, what stories we tell, and why the truth doesn’t seem so concrete anymore.
I listen to The Last Archive every Saturday and Sunday morning to start off the weekend right. It’s the perfect blend of thoughtful inquiry and delightful surprise. Did you know the man who helped invent the lie detector also created Wonder Woman? And that he had two wives? And they all lived happily ever after together? The story is wild and all explained in The Last Archive’s “Detection of Deception”, but I highly recommend you start from episode one.
The Happiness Lab started as a course from Yale by Dr. Laurie Santos. Now it’s a podcast that promises to share the secrets of happiness, backed by science and psychology. Upbeat music strings together interviews of really intelligent people talking about the little things we can do to spark a bit more happiness.
My only wish of The Happiness Lab is that it would be a bit more straight forward in what exactly I have to do to be happy. In the episodes I’ve listened to so far, I haven’t gotten any direct instructions on what we should be doing. Instead, Dr. Santos more discreetly shares that we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves, we should invite human connection, and we should share our struggles to free ourselves—easy stuff, right?
Stay Up To Date With The News
The Daily is the New York Times’ podcast that explores one topic in less than an hour every weekday. When I was commuting over an hour into New York City every day, my favorite routine was sitting on the bus and listening to what Michael Barboro and his colleagues would teach me that day. Admittedly, since my commute has changed from the bedroom to the living room, I haven’t been listening to The Daily, but I know it’s my go-to for news.
Narrative Stories To Escape For A Bit
Girl In Space is the newest podcast I’ve started listening to in the hopes of finding a new show to dive into. After episode one, I’m hooked. The title says it all—it’s about a girl in space and we learn a bit more about her as time goes on. For a podcast about space exploration, it’s pretty relatable in this time of a pandemic. Themes of loneliness and the search for happiness has already come up and I never thought I’d connect with an astronaut so strongly.
We all love a good Netflix binge, but have you ever binged a podcast? I hadn’t until Sandra. This was my first narrative podcast and it’s the perfect introduction. Episodes are short (less than 20 minutes), the story is engaging (there’s always a cliff-hanger), and you’ll even recognize some voices (Alia Shawkat, Kristen Wiig, and Ethan Hawke). Plus, if English isn’t your first language or you’re trying your luck at learning a new language, Spotify came out with French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese versions for everyone to enjoy.
Update Your Evening Routine
If you have trouble falling asleep or are looking for a new addition to your nighttime routine, consider Sleep With Me. It’s a fun and playful podcast with a bit of music, senseless stories, and a supportive environment. There’s a long introduction that talks about what the podcast is and that’s probably my favorite part. It’s different each episode, but you know what to expect and I find that comforting.
Let me know if you also love any of these podcasts! I’m always looking for new ones, so I hope you’ll share recommendations in the comments.