The Six Podcasts Getting Me Through the Pandemic

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs from Pexels

I don’t know about you, but before COVID-19, I was not a huge podcast person. I had a few I listened to if I was out walking or when we took long road trips, but on my commute or when I was relaxing at home, I preferred reading books or listening to music. However, being stuck at home all day, and, now, not having a full-time job, I have leaned into listening to podcasts while I take care of stuff around the house or draw really bad crayon art with my son.

Here are the podcasts that I’ve really enjoyed the past eight (!!!) months:

  1. What Should I Read Next?”: I am a huge bookworm, and this podcast is the perfect escape during these unprecedented times (do we think that’s going to be called as the phrase of the year?). The host, Anne, has the most soothing voice, never fails to tap into what her guests might like to read, and I finish every episode with at least four new books I want to read (the library has stopped letting me put books on hold). 
  2. Up First”: As a person who lives in the nation’s capital, I am surrounded by news, and I have a hard time really shutting that off. But lately, while I want to stay informed, I can really only handle so much, so earlier this year, I turned to an old favorite. With most episodes clocking in under 15 minutes, NPR’s Up First is the perfect little hit of news every day so I know what’s going on, but don’t spiral over all of the details.
  3. Be There In Five”: If you like pop-culture deep dives and reminiscing about the 90s and 2000s as only millennials can, then this is the podcast for you. This one-woman show delves into all of our fluffiest interests in the most intellectual way, and I always feel a little smarter after listening, or at least a little more seen, than I did before I started the episode. The episodes are pretty long, so I never had enough time to really get into these eps before, but now, with longer stretches of time in my days, it’s one of the podcasts I look forward to most.  
  4. The Slowdown”: Feeling stressed? Over stimulated? This short podcast is one of my favorite things to turn on when I’m heading out for a quick walk around the block to get some fresh air and clear my head, maybe get my creativity flowing again. Each episode starts with host and Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith, reflecting on life recently, and ends with her reading a related poem. Also, not for nothing, if Tracy K. Smith launched her own meditation app, I would download immediately. Her voice is that calming. This podcast is currently on hiatus, which makes me so sad, but I highly recommend listening to the extensive back catalog. 
  5. Forever35”: One of the first podcasts I really got into, and it never fails. Love the guests, love the friendly banter between Kate and Doree – this podcast just always makes me happy. Even when they’re talking about heavier topics, it feels like candy for my brain, and for that I am incredibly grateful. 
  6. Higher Learning”: I am not a Bachelor/Bachelorette fan, but I watched Rachel Lindsay’s season because I think she seems wonderful. So when I was looking for new podcasts to listen to during the pandemic, I gave this one a listen and have really been enjoying it. She and her cohost Van Lathan get into both current events and pop culture, but in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve just doomscrolled through Instagram and Twitter like you did before the election (oh, just me?). As I’m not a huge pro sports fan, I normally skip ahead on those convos, but I love hearing their takes and their banter on everything else.

New Pod Honorable Mention:

How Did You End Up There?”: Full disclosure, I was a guest on Jenn’s podcast (more on that later!), but even if I weren’t, I would still love to hear about all of the roads people have taken to get to the careers they’re in now. Quickly becoming a fave over here, especially as I work to sort out my own professional life! 

Are you a podcast listener? What are you listening to?

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