With the COVID-19 pandemic still surging and classes being mostly online this year, I’ve found that both my heightened stress levels and my lack of physical structure has taken a toll on my mental and emotional health. I know I’m not alone in this – in fact, a lot of friends and classmates I’ve spoken to have said the same thing. It can be hard to focus on homework, find the energy to be creative, and take good, consistent care of yourself when the days just start to kind of blend together.
When I started feeling this way a few weeks ago, I knew I needed to make some changes. I started making my bed every morning, writing to-do lists in my planner, and late-night browsing on the Apple Podcasts app for any shows that could offer me some advice. Luckily, since I live alone and have nothing but free time anymore, I had plenty of time to curate a small collection and give them a shot. Here are my favorites:
The first podcast I recommend is called Unf*ck Your Brain, hosted by Harvard Law School graduate and master confidence coach Kara Loewentheil. According to her website, her emotional coaching is created using “cognitive psychology-based techniques + insights from feminist theory” that are proven to lead to some serious, fast change in your thought patterns. She has 153 episodes to date, and they are all available (for free!) on Spotify or the Apple Podcast app. Each of them is somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes in length, so you can listen to them on your morning commute or while you have breakfast.
Some of my favorite episodes include Episode #26: Taking Responsibility for Other People’s Feelings, which talks about how loving yourself includes sometimes allowing things to be out of your control, and Episode #6: How to Get Sh*t Done, which gives tips on how to be more productive and cut down on anxiety. That’s something I think we could all benefit from learning.
Kara’s coaching is developed specifically for women and targets a wide range of emotional experiences that most of us face at one point or another. She is a funny, encouraging narrator that keeps you engaged and explains thought work in a way that the average person can grasp well. I’ve learned a lot from her – I hope you can, too! Unf*ck Your Brain is updated weekly on Thursdays.
The second podcast I want to talk about is called Mindful in Minutes and is hosted by Kelly Smith, the founder of Yoga For You. She is a female entrepreneur in her 20s that has a passion for yoga and meditative practice, and her podcast helped introduce me to the benefits of meditation. Admittedly, I am still very new at it, but she has plenty of short meditations that can be done at any time of the day. Some of my favorites are her bedtime meditations and her work/study break ones – they are calming, centering, and help increase focus!
Kelly has hundreds of episodes that range from manifesting confidence to increasing your heart health, so there really is something for everyone. Her short meditations are usually between 10-30 minutes, but she does also upload longer, more reflective episodes that are a little chattier. I like listening to them in the bath! She also has an extremely soothing voice, which is a huge plus.
When I first started meditating casually, I wasn’t sure what it was all about or how sitting still and breathing could really benefit me. After a few weeks of practice, though, I can confidently say that I have learned a lot from Kelly’s exercises and now feel more in control of my thoughts and feelings! I’ve had a few nights where stress has made it difficult to sleep, and her bedtime episodes help me drift off quickly every time. This podcast is updated weekly on Sundays, so start your Sunday morning off with some easy, calming meditation!
The third podcast I recommend is called Tiny Leaps, Big Changes, and is hosted by author Gregg Clunis. He has uploaded over 600 episodes that focus on small changes average people can make to accomplish their goals. New episodes are released every single weekday, and each episode is somewhere between five and fifteen minutes, so it is the perfect motivational start to your morning. Gregg wants you to remember that “all big changes come from the tiny leaps you take every day.”
This podcast covers an extremely wide range of topics, from being more assertive and building self-confidence to saving money and budgeting your time. There are so many lessons to be learned from Gregg, and he teaches them in a way that is easy to understand and feels approachable. My favorite episodes are Episode 574 – Being Positive is a Choice, and Episode 521 – How to Become Your Best Self.
Tiny Leaps, Big Changes has a 4.5-star rating on Apple Podcasts, and for good reason. Reviewers comment on how it has changed their lives for the better, and how Gregg’s unique approach to sharing his tips and tricks has connected with them on a deep level.
There are plenty of resources for thought work and emotional management available for free online, and I think podcasts are one of the best ways to get introduced. It is so easy to play one while you do dishes, do your laundry, drive to work, or walk to class. I have found a lot of personal peace and emotional stability thanks to these creators, and I hope you do, too!