WRITTEN BY HELLE HANG
I’m obsessed with podcasts and it seems so is the rest of the planet. If you’re one of the two people who has never listened to a podcast, this gushing will probably sound exaggerated and a bit strange but I’m telling you, give some of the ones I’ve listed below a go and you’ll get what I’m talking about.
I walk everywhere (as I guess most people do in Edinburgh), often around three hours a day, and even though I enjoy being outdoors and moving, it can get a bit boring after a while. Same applies to a lot of other things, like long runs, cooking, cleaning…it all needs to get done and I even enjoy it once I get going but it’s about billion times easier and more fun when I’m listening to a good podcast. I actually find myself looking forward to the super glamourous activities like dusting and sweating at the gym because I want to listen to the latest episode of my favourite show. I have a rule that I only listen to podcasts when I’m walking somewhere or doing something productive (the strategy of pairing) so now I’m basically a non-stop productivity machine (more or less…).
I love TV, cinema, Netflix, books, theatre – from trashy reality shows (shout out to Love Island) to Newsnight and David Lynch films and so on – I love it all. I love getting lost in a story, learning new facts, getting advice, getting inspired by other people, culture and more. I think it’s because I can often feel pretty anxious so immersing myself in something that gets me out of my own head, is very comforting and helps me recharge my batteries. The problem is that like everyone else, I don’t have much time to spare so podcasts are the perfect solution for me. Brilliant entertainment and life-changing advice, all while I’m doing my weekly shop at Tescos. Without further ado, here’s my top 10:
1) Happier with Gretchen Rubin
You might have read or heard of Gretchen’s New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project and subsequent books Happier at Home and Better than Before. As the name suggests, in the podcast Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth continue to explore the age-old topic of happiness and good habits.
I like it because the podcast is very structured and packed full of actionable and practical advice – unlike some other ‘self-improvement’ podcasts I’ve come across. They often analyse habit formation through the Four Tendencies framework. You can take the test here and find out if you’re an Upholder, Rebel, Questioner or an Obliger.
2) Dear Sugars
Hosts Cheryl Strayed (of Wild fame) and Steve Almond answer and analyse listener letters, kind of in the style of agony aunts in old magazine but thankfully the advice is a lot better. They’re incredibly insightful and things get pretty emotional, pretty quickly. I’m in tears half the time I’m listening to it and putting aside the fact that crying while walking to work is a bit embarrassing, I love it.
3) The Dinner Party Download
It’s the podcast to listen to if you want to feel cultured and ‘clued in’. They have some amazing people on and discuss everything dinner party related – etiquette, music, films, cocktails, food…
4) Desert Island Discs
Classic for a reason! This is of course the podcast version of the long running, beloved radio show. Embarrassingly, this one also makes me cry fairly often. All the episodes are brilliant but probably the Sue Perkins and Nigel Owens ones are my favourites.
5) No Meat Athlete Radio
This is a bit niche maybe but if you’re into plant-based eating and exercise (especially running), this is the one for you.
6) The Guilty Feminist
My favourite feminist podcast, without a doubt. The host Deborah Frances-White is brilliant and hilarious! It’s a comedy podcast in essence but they definitely don’t shy away from exploring some serious topics.
7) The Simple Show
I don’t listen to every episode of this one as it’s occasionally focused more on family and motherhood (and I don’t have kids) but I love the philosophy behind it. It’s all about the simple life and saying no to things in your life that you don’t need or love. I hate clutter and what at least to me feels like a too hectic pace of life so I’m looking at ways of simplifying everything – by moving to a van for example!
8) No Such Thing As A Fish
The four hosts each present their favourite fact of the week and discuss it. It’s super fun and informative (without being boring). Thanks to this podcast I now know that butter sculpture competitions are a big deal in Tibet and a fruit fly’s sperm cell is a whopping 2.3 inches long, for example!
9) Side Hustle School
A side hustle is a (small) business that earns you extra money on the side and lets you focus on your passion without quitting your day job. Each episode focuses on a real-life side hustles ranging from websites about fish tanks to producing Valentine’s day sweets. It’s crazy inspirational, full of useful advice and each episode is only about 10 minutes long so it’s perfect for days when you don’t have much time to spare.
10) What Should I Read Next?
This podcast is an absolute gold mine for anyone who enjoys reading or is trying to read more! Literally (!) 100% full on book talk. The host also has a blog called Modern Mrs Darcy that’s definitely worth checking out.
We’re always on the lookout for great podcasts so if you have any recommendations, let us know, what are your favourites?