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I’ve never been one for podcasts. I used to be more of a visual person; give me something to see or read or hold.
But since late last year, and particularly this year, I’ve had a newfound appreciation for podcasts. I think during the pandemic and with being isolated at home, especially since I lived on my own—I craved company. And what better way to have that than by feeling like there’s a conversation happening in your own room. There’s something about hearing a good debate on a particular topic that just gets your mind buzzing with ideas, or an informative talk that makes you evaluate things you previously would have never thought about.
For me, I learned a lot this year about climate change, gender ideology, right wing politics, dealing with failure, sex and relationships, and also just listening to comedians talking sh*t when I need a break from anything serious.
Here are my top recommendations:
1. Sex with Emily
This podcast is a game changer, and for good reason. It’s ranked the #1 Sexuality podcast on iTunes. Dr. Emily Morse is on a mission to liberate the conversation about sex and pleasure. She covers really interesting, diverse topics and answers questions submitted through her hotline from couples, singles, anyone who has a problem or concern about their sex life, which makes it very relatable. There is no shaming and nothing is off limits. Her “Yes, No, Maybe” list is fun, refreshing, and can spice up your sex life big time. Do yourself a favour and check it out.
2. How to Fail with Elizabeth Day
This podcast celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. When I feel like I’m not grounded or I’m caught in the anxiety of not feeling like I’m where I need to be in my life, I listen to this. Elizabeth Day is a journalist and podcast host, she interviews people and talks about their failures, and eventually, what made them succeed. You start to realise failure is not an inconvenience, but rather, it’s a necessary prerequisite to success. Inspired by the huge response to the podcast, she wrote a book about it, too.
3. The Huberman Lab
When I say nothing has helped influence my physical health for the better than this podcast, I mean it. Give this man a trophy. The work ethic, the detail, the science—everything he puts into this podcast is gold. Dr. Andrew Huberman discusses neuroscience—how our brain and its connections with the organs of our body control our perceptions, our behaviours, and our health. He’s a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine. His episode on sleep and circadian rhythms significantly influenced my morning routine and adjusted by sleep cycles. I learn something new every week.
4. On Being with Krista Tippett
When I want to tap into a conversation about spirituality, this is my go-to. She talks about the big questions in life—what does it mean to be human? This kind of spiritual inquiry feeds my innermost self and is a soothing balm for the rough patches we experience in life. Her episode on “The Losses We Grow Into” is profound, and “The Erotic Is an Antidote to Death” with Esther Perel is one my favourites, too.
5. The Joe Rogan Experience
Controversial, I know. But he’s popular for a reason; he speaks his mind. In the age of cancel culture and political correctness, I actually find him a breath of fresh air. I may not agree with all his statements, but he does interview excellent people and opens up the table for very educational dialogues. Take what you can from it, leave the rest if you don’t like it. His episode with Yeonmi Park on escaping North Korea was enlightening.
6. Mango Bae
These guys crack me up when I need a laugh. The two stand-up comedians from New York, Usama Siddiquee and Pranav Behari, talk about issues affecting the South Asian diaspora, and just generally, if you are a second or third generation immigrant, you will find this hilarious. This was actually the only thing that kept me sane in the first lockdown. Their episodes are available on YouTube, they just chill on a couch in their socks, vaping, and they have a go at anything and everything they can think of. “Stay post-woke” is their mantra. If you’re a problem child to immigrant parents, you’ll love this.