I’m always on the hunt for a new podcast to add to my feed, which is usually full of serialized crime shows, historical podcasts, daily news briefs and nonstop entertainment talk programs.
Lately, I’ve been adding a few inspirational podcasts to the mix. These shows help me get motivated and remind me to take care of myself. Some of them are short and sweet, meant to give you the information you’re looking for in a small amount of time. Other shows are longer, and they focus on taking care of yourself so you can achieve your ambitions. You can’t do a lot of good if you’re overextended or unmotivated. I learned that lesson after going through a few bouts of stress-induced illnesses.
Through these six podcasts, I’m learning how to put my needs first, make time in my schedule to relax and still have time for my side projects.
Maybe I’m conditioned to love listening to Oprah by my many years of coming home and watching her show after school with my mom. After all this time, I still find her interview style so calming and measured. People open up to her and speak freely, like Salma Hayek did after she wrote about her experience with Harvey Weinstein. She doesn’t just talk to celebrities, of course, so I also checked out an episode with Jean Houston, a philosopher. The two talked about the spiritual lessons they learned from “The Wizard of Oz.”
I have a real fondness for podcasts that are short, sweet and to the point. Each episode is around seven minutes or less, and I even skip this podcast’s 30-second intro to get to the good stuff faster. This show wastes no time identifying a problem and proposing solutions to try. Last week’s episode — titled “How to deal with feeling ‘too busy’ ” — struck a chord with me and my overburdened planner. In a brief episode, Minors explains how he’s breaking up his workday with scheduled breaks. He also talks about how he’s still struggling to defend his free time and avoid overcommitting. It’s comforting to know that balancing one’s schedule is an ongoing process.
This half-hour podcast features interviews with people who are studying the effects of stress on our lives. Between job insecurity, dwindling pay and subpar health insurance, there’s no lack of stressors out there. One episode I listened to interviewed business professor Jeff Pfeffer (author of “Dying for a Paycheck”), who likened the health risks associated with stress to be as harmful as secondhand smoke. (Whatever we can do to cut back on our exposure to stress sounds like a good plan to me.)
Another short and smart podcast is the long-running “Side Hustle School,” hosted by author Chris Guillebeau. There are more than 500 episodes to choose from, and each one runs around 10 minutes long, making this a very bingable podcast to get hooked on. It focuses on everyday entrepreneurs who pick up a side gig. Maybe they’re a personal trainer with a healthy food idea, a social media strategist with a love of baking dog treats or a young doctor who picks up voice over work to pay off student loans. In addition to being a great springboard for side hustle ideas, the show offers extended episodes to walk you through some good digital business 101 training, like how to start a service business or start a podcast.
It feels good to hear your goals reaffirmed, which is how I discovered this career-centric podcast. It’s intended for non-industry-specific working women, but honestly, a lot of the tips in Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin’s show can apply to everyday life. Whether it’s conflict resolution, confronting your imposter syndrome or digital detoxing, each podcast episode approaches a near-universal problem many of us face at some point in our careers. It also breaks down action plans with easy-to-remember tips. Earlier this month, this podcast explored how #MeToo affects women’s leadership in the workplace and how can you implement the lessons from the movement into your office life.
This podcast combines my love of history with my aspirational interests. It’s all about the highs and lows entrepreneurs experienced before becoming iconic brands. From Zumba to Lyft to FUBU, “How I Built This” looks back at companies’ histories, examining successes and setbacks. This show does a great job of exploring what inspired people to go into business in the first place, the shortcomings these entrepreneurs faced, and how they dealt with failure on the way to the bank. Several episodes in, I’ve yet to hear a boring conversation. They’re passionate about their projects and can clearly talk for hours about their businesses and their pasts: Each episode clocks in at around 45-50 minutes.