The coronavirus pandemic has tilted our realities and now millions of people are now stuck indoors. This is done as an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Now with so many people stuck at home, with a lot more free time, cabin fever may have begun to set in. However, if you’re looking for a distraction that can be both entertaining and educational, then look no further than podcasts.
If you need a break from the vicious news cycle or your latest hobby, then podcasts are a great way to occupy your time. They’re a positive distraction that are not only enjoyable and informative, but they’re also free and easy to find.
So, if you’re looking for a distraction, here are a few podcasts to enjoy.
Podcasts To Enjoy in Lockdown
If You Want To Learn Something New
Why don’t you use this time to learn something new? In fact, research has found that learning new information can help to improve your memory, fight boredom, and even reduce the risk of dementia (1). If you want to learn something new, why don’t you try the below podcasts:
Stuff You Should Know (SYSK)
Hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, Stuff You Should Know offers informative and entertaining content, covering various topics that range from global warming and exorcisms to homelessness and LGBTQIA+ issues.
While not experts in the various fields that they discuss, the hosts have an intense passion for research, and they deliver their findings in a fun, enjoyable, and enlightening manner.
The ‘hidden brain’ refers to the area of our unconscious biases, emotions, and cognitive responses that influence our decision-making.
Hosted by NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vendantam, each episode of Hidden Brain attempts to expose the unconscious patterns that shape our choices. In an attempt to do so, the podcast examines different fields of research that include psychology, economics, and even sociology. In doing so, each episode now only answers the question of why we like certain things, but it also provides insights for us to apply in our daily lives.
If you want to spend this time getting a better grip on how the economy works, then Planet Money is definitely the podcast for you.
Produced by NPR and hosted by nine of their journalists, Planet Money originally launched in September 2008 to cover the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Since then, it has grown into a podcast that attempts to break down aspects of the economy in an effort to make it easier to understand and approachable to audiences.
If You Want To Protect Your Mental Health
Our mental health is important, and it’s quite evident that due to COVID-19, it’s definitely taken a hit. However, it’s important to find ways to which we can better protect and strengthen our mental health.
Aside from the fact that weakened mental health can weaken your immune system, it can also have other implications for your health (2). That said, if you’d like some self-care advice, here are a few podcasts you can check out:
Therapy for Black Girls
Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health in the black community, there is still a stigma that prevents black mental health sufferers from reaching out and seeking help. As a result, Therapy for Black Girls is a podcast that discusses mental health topics in a manner that is accessible and understood by the black community.
Hosted by psychologist Joy Harden Bradford, Therapy for Black Girls is a weekly podcast that not only delves into mental health but also discusses personal development in an effort to encourage growth in all areas of our lives.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a best-selling book that described Rubin’s year-long attempt to make herself happier using small and big resolutions.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin is based on the book and it too attempts to induce happiness into your life. With each episode, Gretchen, alongside her sister and co-host Elizabeth, offers practical and manageable solutions to combat your stress and how to begin the road to happiness.
In fact, the duo recently released an episode about the effects of the coronavirus, titling it ‘Coping During COVID-19 – how to stay happier and calmer in difficult times.’
How To Fail with Elizabeth Day
If you need something uplifting, then How To Fail with Elizabeth Day is the podcast for you.
Hosted by author Elizabeth Day, each episode explores how moments of failure led to the highest levels of success. With a slew of successful guests, the podcast details and recounts the key moments of their lives that they considered failures and the result is an inspiring and tender conversation.
If You Need A Dose Of Pop Culture
If you use pop culture as a welcome distraction, then you’ll certainly enjoy these podcasts:
Hosted by two witty New York Times culture writers, Jenna Wortham and Welsey Morris, Still Processing discusses all things pop culture. However, they also go further than that.
Each episode not only discusses the pop culture topic of the day but also discusses the way in which the media portrays each topic, which results in content that is both intellectual and raw.
If you’ve spent a few days in lockdown catching up on your film and television franchises, then this is a podcast for you.
Hosted by Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion, Binge Mode delves into each fandom as it details and heavily breaks down every massive pop-culture franchise out there. The podcast has already discussed two of the biggest pop culture franchises in the world – Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. It’s the perfect content for any fans that cannot stop talking about their favorite fictional characters.
If you’re looking to get up close and personal with public figures, then this is a podcast for you.
Hosted by award-winning journalist Terry Gross, Fresh Air consists of interviews with prominent figures from various fields such as entertainment, journalism, and politics. Each episode offers intimate conversations and it also offers additional content in the form of coverage and reviews of events and new releases.
If You’re A True Crime Junkie
If you’re in the mood for some mystery and true crime, then these podcasts should definitely keep you busy:
A true-crime podcast hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat. This podcast stands out from other podcasts because each episode focuses on a different theme. Be it murder, abductions, or conspiracy theories, Crime Junkie has an episode that can cater to any of your desires.
If you’re interested in the psychological aspects surrounding cults, then you will certainly enjoy this podcast.
Hosted by Greg and Vanessa, Cults looks at the most popular cults and their histories. With each episode, Greg and Vanessa delve inside the minds of cult leaders, and of those who decided to follow them. It’s a refreshing and informative look at one aspect of society that many of us will never truly understand.
If You Need A Good Laugh
Laughter really is the best medicine. In fact, research has found that laughter can help to strengthen the immune system, reduce your blood pressure, and even offer pain relief (3). So, if you’re feeling a bit down and are in need of a good laugh, try listening to these podcasts:
Hosted by two over-35 hosts, Forever 35 is a funny and uplifting podcast that discusses all things beauty and wellness.
With help from a special guest, Doree Shafrir and Kate Spencer provide a self-care podcast that goes beyond beauty advice. With each episode, they also share some real-life wisdom in such a loving and humorous manner, listening to it will make you think that you’re at the salon with your girlfriends.
That may be a little hard to do at this time, but this podcast offers some much-needed comic relief.
Hosted by British comedians Stevie Martin and Tessa Coates, Nobody Panic is a light-hearted podcast that attempts to answer the question of how one can become a fully-functioning adult. Witty, smart, and incredibly relatable, this podcast reminds you that it’s okay if you haven’t figured everything out yet.
The Guilty Feminist
A successful and lauded podcast, The Guilty Feminist offers insightful and humorous tidbits about the hypocrisies and double standards that come with feminism and womanhood.
Hosted by Deborah Frances-White alongside a guest co-host, each episode focuses on themes that many women can relate to. These include stereotypes, hair removal, as well as the decision not to have children. It’s an honest and liberating podcast that many women, feminists or not, can relate to.
Gottlieb S. (2003). Mental activity may help prevent dementia. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 326(7404), 1418.
Niles, A. N., & O’Donovan, A. (2019). Comparing anxiety and depression to obesity and smoking as predictors of major medical illnesses and somatic symptoms. Health Psychology, 38(2), 172–181. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000707
Strean W. B. (2009). Laughter prescription. Canadian family physician Medecin de Famille canadien, 55(10), 965–967.