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Top Podcasts to Keep You Company when Social Distancing

By now, there’s a good chance that your city or even your country has taken measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus such as closing schools, restricting travel, canceling social gatherings, and recommending working from home as much as possible. But with unprecedented limits on the ways we can fill our time, people are looking for creative things to do to keep from going stir-crazy! Our suggestion? Listen to some great podcasts! We’ve explored our libraries and brought you a collection of some of our favorite shows in a variety of genres to help you past the time. There’s amazing shows for kids, shows that will provide some much-needed happiness, as well as shows to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Exciting True Tales

We’ve got three amazing candidates for you if you’re looking for exciting true tales to keep you enthralled and engaged.

1. The Dropout 

If you haven’t checked out The Dropout yet, now is the perfect time to do so! Winner of Podcast of the Year at the iHeart Podcast Awards back in January, The Dropout tells the flabbergasting story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, a medical company headed by Holmes, with grand ambitions of changing the world. There was just one teeny-tiny problem…the technology they claimed to have and built the company on for 15 years, didn’t work. The podcast expertly shows the unraveling of the scandal, but it’s also a truly eye-opening exploration of Silicon Valley, the strong motivation of believing in something, and the sheer extent a person will go to in order to perpetuate a lie. It’s style straight-forward reporting – rather than relying on interwoven narrative from the host. But don’t think it’s without flair and flavor! It’s an example of investigative journalism at it’s finest, as well as giving you plenty to mull over in respect of the human condition, and all the elements that made it possible for a scam of this magnitude to continue for so long. 

2. Death in Ice Valley

If you love the unraveling of a mystery, then Death in Ice Valley would be a great choice to occupy your time. This 50-year-old mystery has got it all! A badly burned body of a woman, with all the labels of her clothes cut out, and seemingly random objects found around her body, and even a suitcase of disguises. Marit Higraff and Neil McCarthy pick up where the police left off to see if they can piece together the mystery of the “Isdal woman”, and using both modern technology and human memory, they attempt to discover who she really was, and answer the bigger question, was she a spy? It’s a fascinating tale, full of intrigue and interesting interviews, ranging from policemen and ex-agents to people who actually met the Isdal woman all those years ago, and even a spy catcher. (Yes, that’s right, I said spy catcher!) Death in Ice Valley will provide enthralling entertainment and have you using all that CSI knowledge you’ve acquired to good use as you join the effort to find the truth.

3. 13 Minutes to the Moon 

A journey to the moon set to a score by Hans Zimmer? No, it’s not the latest blockbuster, but 13 Minutes to the Moon, a podcast detailing the fascinating story of the quest to achieve the first moonwalk. It’s an in-depth look at what it took to get there, right from the planning stages to that historic giant leap for mankind. It’s riveting, informative, and captivating. The history and the facts of this incredible feat have been woven together perfectly. It’s simultaneously factual and emotive, which seems impossible, and yet perfect in light of the story they’re telling. And did I mention Hans Zimmer? I’m fairly confident that you could read the phonebook to one of his compositions and your podcast would be a hit! 

Related read: Best Road Trip Podcasts for the Holiday Season

Soul-Food Staples

With so many panic-buying, we thought we would include some great soul-food staples. These don’t run out and there’s more than enough for everyone to keep our soul tanks full.

But on a serious note, if you are going to stock up, then please be considerate of others! Don’t take more than is necessary and let’s make sure everyone gets what they need!

Now on to our soul-food podcasts…

1. Happier With Gretchen Ruben

What could be better in these scary times than a podcast focused on learning to be happier? Happier with Gretchen Rubin not only sounds super cheerful, but it’s focused on helping us lead happier lives. Gretchen and her sister and co-host, Elizabeth Craft, show us that we can, indeed, cultivate happiness in our lives without depending on outside entities to do it for us. They give practical strategies to help develop good habits – like talking more kindly about ourselves and banishing all that inner criticism – and all the other tactics we can employ to live happier and be more at peace with ourselves. The show is thought-provoking, insightful, and you’ll always come away feeling really good after every listen. So if you’re needing a little serotonin boost and more joy right about now, then you should definitely give Happier a try.

2. Happy Place

If you’re looking for a happiness tonic to lift your spirits while chaos and confusion run rampant around us, then Happy Place is definitely a soul-food staple you should stock up on! Hosted by Fearne Cotton, this show delves into understanding happiness through conversations about life, love, and loss, and everything in-between with some truly amazing people as together, we discover what happiness really means. This show is a great reminder to keep going, to keep pushing forward, and to keep working hard because it’s always worth it in the end. Fearne is a wonderful host, full of warmth and understanding, with a dash of hilarity to boot! She’s relatable and genuine, making each episode a joy to listen to. If you’re feeling a little down and need a little inspiration and some positivity, then find your Happy Place and glean wisdom, hope, and happiness from Fearn and the courageous individuals she gets to share the mic with. 

For The Kids (And the Whole Family!)

With schools closed around the world, kids are going to need some extra stimulation and entertainment – a daunting task under normal circumstances! And with there being no real way of knowing just how long a state of lockdown could go on, you’re going to need to stock up your arsenal with some really great, fun-for-the-family podcasts…

1. Purple Rocket Podcast

The Purple Rocket Podcast is full of imaginative adventures and daring tales that will keep the kiddos (and their parents) entertained for hours! The first (of eight!) series brings us Season One of Grandpa’s Globe. What could be more captivating than a magical globe, a handy guidebook and secret missions to apprehend a sinister organization? And while it’s definitely a children’s podcast, there’s enough humor and hidden pop culture references for those of more advanced years. (Try spot The Princess Bride reference in the first episode!) You’ll gain a little cultural insight into all the countries that you “visit”, and your imagination will be in full throttle through each daring escapade.

2. Circle Round

Circle Round is a great story-telling podcast that shares folktales from around the world, all with an important underlying message. Orchestral instruments are cleverly used for sound effects and background music, making for a very calming, imaginative experience. Each episode ranges from 10-20 minutes and includes a thought-provoking question about the tale for children to discuss with a grown-up. Folktales have been used for centuries to teach morals and are still a great way to teach character lessons to children, as well as an appreciation for different cultures. Sharing stories from different countries provides plots that most have never heard before, making these a worthwhile listen for children and their parents alike. With the beautiful instrumental accompaniments, Circle Round would be perfect for bedtime stories or quiet afternoon activity.   

3. Brains On!

If you’ve got curious kids on your hands who you want to keep stimulated in-between schoolwork, you’re going to want to check out Brains On! Branded as a science podcast for kids, you’ll love learning about vast and varied topics just as much as they will. They cover myths and mythical creatures, answer questions you never knew you had, and even cover the coronavirus and germs in general in a way that’s easy to understand. It’s a great way to keep the thirst for knowledge alive and thriving, as well as being a really fun activity for the whole family. 

4. Trivia With Budds

A fun activity to keep the whole family entertained is trivia-themed podcasts, and Trivia With Budds is a perfect choice. Hosted by Ryan Budds, this podcast covers a wide variety of topics but with a particular focus on all things pop culture. Ryan is upbeat and enthusiastic, making this a really fun listen while you put your general knowledge to the test. It’s a great option when you’re looking for something to do together, and it will keep everyone entertained for hours as you fight for the honor of Trivia Champion. Ryan is also a comedian in his own right and will bring joy to your ears and a great, big smile to your face, making this podcast both entertaining and productive – a definite win to pass the time!

Related read: Top Podcasts to Improve Your General Knowledge

Binge-Worthy Shows

We’re under no illusion that “couch-time” will be on the rise over the coming days, but if you’re going to do it, then do it to the max! And that means finding podcasts to accompany your binge-watching. There are so many companion podcasts out there – for old and new shows alike – you just need to find your favorite. We’ve got two on offer for you today, but there are many more where these came from!

1. The Hatch: A Lost Podcast

Whether you’re rewatching the epic island saga, or are watching it for the first time, now that you have the time, The Hatch: A Lost Podcast, is the podcast you need to take along on your journey. Hosts Sammy and Rosalie have been able to share the mic with some of the stars of the show – from Michael Emerson (the formidable Ben) to Sonya Walger (Penny) as well as other members of the crew including Damon Lindelo, co-creator, and showrunner of the series – making this more than just your average “rewatch” podcast. The “hot takes” and “hindsights” that are included for each episode are a testament to the work they put into making this show for other loyal Losties as well as those watching for the first time. 

2. The Crown: The Official Podcast

A firm favorite the world over, Netflix’s The Crown gives us a look into the lives of The British Royal Family like we’ve never seen them before. Covering the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, we get to see moments of history come alive before our eyes. If you’re planning on diving into this series while you’re cooped up, then allow The Crown: The Official Podcast to escort you along the way (but only from Season 3, the first two seasons have not been covered…yet…) and get all the juicy details from the show’s cast and crew. It’s a real treat to hear all the behind-the-scenes details, and you’ll fall in love with the podcast just as much as the series itself. 

Closing Thoughts

So while we need to take precautions – not only for ourselves but also for those around us – this time of enforced social distancing does have its perks. From families looking for creative ways to pass the time together to trying new crafts or focusing on forgotten projects, and of course, catching up on some amazing podcasts, there’s plenty to keep us engaged during this turbulent time. What is important is that we take these precautions seriously,  avoid the temptation to mass panic, and show kindness and humanity to those around us. 

For more great podcasts check out the following posts:

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