Sunday, July 21, 2019

Weekly Inspiration: Listen to Podcasts

This morning, I was half-listening to Good Morning, America (Sunday Today was pre-empted by the golf tournament) while I did my yoga stretches, and I heard a piece on stress. The interviewee mentioned a podcast called Ten Percent Happier, so I was intrigued and looked it up. It's a podcast all about meditating, which features different kinds of meditation, as well as interviews with various celebrities (including the Dalai Lama!). It looks pretty good, so I will probably give it a try. This led to my deciding to devote today's Weekly Inspiration to podcasts.

I love listening to podcasts and split my audio time between a wide variety of podcasts and audiobooks, while doing things around the house, driving, walking, even brushing my teeth! I am probably a bit too plugged in, but if you haven't yet discovered podcasts, they're a great way to find inspiration and improve your life (or just entertain yourself). Here are a few of my favorites:

Inspiration & Improvement

Happier with Gretchen Rubin - this light, fun podcast comes from the acclaimed self-help author of The Happiness Project, Better Than Before, The Four Tendencies, and other books. She and her sister, Elizabeth (see below) chat about how to make your life happier. Their show is upbeat and insightful and includes regular features like Happiness Hacks and Listener Questions, as well as interesting and engaging discussions between the two sisters and with guests. I've been listening to this one for years and really enjoy it.

Happier in Hollywood is a spin-off podcast that Gretchen's sister, Liz Craft, hosts with her writing partner and best friend, Sarah Fain. The two of them are successful TV writers living in the L.A. area, so while their episodes are also focused on happiness, it is with a Hollywood spin. You don't have to live or work in Hollywood to enjoy the show, though. It does have more of a work focus to it, but the pair also discuss happiness at home, personal fulfillment, and mental and physical health.

The Slow Home Podcast is a newer one for me, just discovered this winter, but I am enjoying it already. The hosts are a husband and wife who live in Australia, and their tagline is "Slow living for a fast world." They talk about ways to slow down your life (something we all know about!), focus in on your self and your family and whatever is most important to you, and tune out all the noise in the fast-paced world we live in. I like that they are very open and honest about what brought them to this point, including extreme stress, unhappiness, and serious depression. Their episodes are also quiet and soothing to listen to.

The Rich Roll Podcast is one that I don't listen to regularly, but I have enjoyed a few of his episodes. I guess he is someone famous - used to be a professional athlete? - but I was unfamiliar with him. His focus is on wellness, spirituality, and other inspirational and improvement topics, and his episodes are lengthy interviews (or conversations, as he says) with various people, some celebrities and some lesser-known, on a wide variety of topics. I've enjoyed the episodes I've listened to, and they are always thoughtful and thought-provoking.

By the Book is a cross between inspiration, self-improvement, and entertainment that I enjoy. The hosts are two friends, Jolenta Greenburg and Kristen Meinzer. In each episode, they choose a different self-help book, live by it for two weeks, and report back. Along the way, they break down the elements of the book for listeners and recap their own experiences, as well as provide an epilogue on what (if anything) from the book stuck. They have covered everything from The Five Love Languages to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. The two women are super-honest and open, leading to some fascinating insights and conversations. The podcast is also very entertaining and enjoyable to listen to.

Balanced Bites Podcast is all about healthy eating. Its two co-hosts, Diana and Liz, are both nutrition experts. They are not focused on diets or weight loss but on eating well for a healthy life, something that those of us with chronic illness certainly need. I've only listened to a few episodes, but they seem to focus somewhat on Paleo and Keto type diets, but they also talk about topics like emotional eating and a wide range of health problems, like thyroid conditions and how food affects cortisol levels - again, all stuff that's relevant to us. looks like they may have stopped creating new episodes in May (since the most recent one is called "The Last Episode"!), but they have a huge archive of interesting and informative episodes.

Books Podcasts
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I love to read, so some of my top favorite podcasts are about books and reading. Here are my current top 3 for those that love books: 
  • Book Cougars - "two middle-aged women on the hunt for a good read." Co-hosts Chris and Emily are friends of mine, and I love listening to their fun podcast. They recount what they've been reading, literary adventures (like local author signings), and more. Sometimes, it's just the two of them - good friends talking about books - and sometimes they have guests on the podcast or interview authors.
  • What Should I Read Next? - hosted by Anne Bogel, who writes the book blog, The Modern Mrs. Darcy. On each episode, she has a guest - usually a regular reader like you or me, sometimes someone well-known - who tells her three books they love and one book they hate, then Anne chooses some books that they might enjoy reading next. Fun, interesting, and guaranteed to give you some great ideas for your next book to read!
  • But That's Another Story is hosted by the fabulous Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club and Books for Living. This is a quieter, more reflective book podcast that is great for those who are sensitive to noise or have shorter attention spans. Episodes are usually shorter, featuring a celebrity talking about a book that changed his or her life, and Will's voice is soothing. He's a great guy, and I love listening to this fascinating podcast.

Just for Fun

I listen to some podcasts just for fun and entertainment. Here are three of my favorites:
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour - two episodes a week from a group of NPR pop culture experts on the latest and best in TV, movies, books, and music - a great source for new things to watch, read, or listen to! This is one of my favorite podcasts, and I listen to the episodes each week while I refill medicine boxes for my son and I.
  • Ask Me Another - a hilarious and quirky quiz/puzzle/game show. It's pure entertainment, with celebrity guests, plus regular contestants all competing in strange, sometimes musical, and always funny contests. Lots of laughs and lots of fun - my family laughs at me for yelling out answers while I'm listening in my earbuds (though they enjoy listening with me in the car).
  • Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me is an old favorite in our house and my family's first choice for car rides! It's a quiz show based on the weekly news, with a focus on the hilarious, bizarre, and strange. Host Peter Sagal leads a panel of three comedians in exploring the week's weirdest news and interviews a celebrity guest each week. It's timely, fun to play along with, and very funny.

You may have noticed that I don't listen to any podcasts that are focused on chronic illness or specifically ME/CFS. I have a few episodes here and there downloaded that I haven't gotten to yet.

So, I would love to hear about YOUR favorite podcasts! Whether on illness and health, inspiration, or just for fun, please leave me a comment and tell me which podcasts you enjoy listening to!


James said...

This podcast episode on Love, Dating and Sex with ME/CFS came out last month and features several patients discussing the issues around relationships and ME/CFS. The sex therapist featured has ME/CFS and the host is super understanding and supportive. Even if you don't normally listen to ME/CFS related shows I think it is worth a listen.

Sue Jackson said...

Great! Thank you, James!

I think I didn't explain that very well - it's not that I avoid illness-related podcasts, just that I haven't found and/or listened to any yet! So, I very much appreciate the suggestion - AND, how awesome is it that this mainstream podcast on ABC covered ME/CFS??