Daily Life

Pop on your headphones and switch off your busy mind: These are the best podcasts to listen to while you're in self-isolation

Plug in and switch off with these eight fascinating podcasts.

By Rebecca Sullivan
Self isolation brings with it a whole list of challenges - Anyone else started talking to their plants? No? Ok, just me then. But for many of us, the biggest obstacle is staving off an anxious and overactive mind.
Without our usual distractions, like Friday night drinks with friends or our favourite exercise class, it's way too easy for our minds to become filled with negative thoughts.
So it's important we find new ways to boost our mental health and keep ourselves busy, as we all adjust to a new normal, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Podcasts are a great way to do that.
As well as being often educational and usually entertaining, they can, if you choose the right ones, help distract us from the intense and often negative news cycle we're currently experiencing.
So pop one of these on while you're going for your daily social distancing walk, or while you're cooking for yourself.
Keep on scrolling for eight great podcast recommendations.
Pop on your headphones, block out the noise, and let your mind wander. Image: Getty

The Happiness Lab with Dr Laurie Santos

Even the logo is happy! Image: Supplied
Yale psychologist Laurie Santos's college course about happiness was so popular with her college students, that she decided to turn it into a free online resource. The course has become so popular that it's gone viral around the world, even spawning its own podcast.
In each episode of The Happiness Lab, Dr Santos, who has a delightfully cheery voice and instantly puts you in a good mood, takes us through the science of happiness and gives concrete, science-based explanations of how to improve your mental health.
She gives great real-world examples, like the guy who won the lottery and then took his own life (morbid, but true), to explain the science behind why money really doesn't buy happiness, and offers practical tips for how to make small changes in our lives that will help us be happier over time.
She's also recorded a few bonus coronavirus-themed episodes, which you might find particularly useful if, like many of us, you're struggling a bit right now.

Second Life

Host Hillary Kerr talks to inspiring women about the good, the bad and the ugly. Image: Supplied
The path to success is never linear. And its those twists, turns and roundabouts that Second Life host Hillary Kerr is most interested in hearing.
Hillary, the chief content officer at US fashion website Who What Wear, interviews incredible female entrepreneurs, business owners and celebrities, who have at some point taken a "pivot" in their careers and embarked on their "second life".
For example, she talks to New York Times food columnist Alison Roman, who began her career as a very poorly paid pastry chef, and English actress-turned-photographer Amanda de Cadenet, who started out as a model and now runs a platform connecting creatives.
Plus, she chats to some of the biggest A-listers in the world, including J.Lo, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Richie. Casual, huh?
But the best thing about this podcast is that every single woman Hillary interviews, no matter how successful or famous, has numerous stories of failure.
Each interviewee is completely unafraid to talk about those moments where they messed up, got fired, were laid off, or had a full-on existential crisis - and then how they managed to pull themselves back up again, putting one foot in front of the other, and started again.
If you're feeling a little stuck right now, or if you're struggling with where your career is at, Second Life offers a comforting reminder that the path to success is never straightforward.

Kate, Tim & Marty

Hosts Tim Blackwell, Kate Ritchie and Marty Sheargold. Image: Supplied
Nova's drive show hosts Kate Ritchie, Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold get paid to take the piss out of each other for two hours a day, five days a week.
Unlike most radio shows, they don't bother with celebrity interviews or deep-diving into the news. The trio's appeal is in their hilarious banter, which is filled with in-jokes and not-so-gentle ribbing.
It doesn't matter if you listen to the podcast version of their show out of order, or even years after an episode was originally broadcast.
The jokes are still funny, Kate's competitive streak still runs hot, and you'll immediately feel like you've become the show's fourth co-host.

TBD with Tina Brown

The iconic magazine editor Tina Brown. Image: Supplied
Former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor-in-chief Tina Brown is considered a legend in magazine publishing.
She's responsible for some of the most iconic magazine covers ever seen (remember that shot of a heavily pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991? Tina did that), and she's also written one of the juiciest books about the royal family, The Diana Chronicles.
Her contacts book reads like a guest list for the best Hollywood party - she has Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama on speed dial, and can offer up a cackling anecdote about some of history's greatest figures, like Princess Diana or Anna Wintour, at the drop of a hat.
During each episode of her podcast, she sits down with an interesting person to discuss their life and career. She asks the difficult, curly questions and gets the answers we all want to know.
It's an interview masterclass. Plus, her clipped British accent is incredibly soothing.
This is a must-listen for anyone needing a bit of gentle brain stimulation right now.

The ABC's Coronacast

This podcast has quickly become one of the most popular in the country. Image: The ABC
While we completely understand if you're trying to reduce your consumption of corona-themed material, this podcast featuring Australia's reluctant health hero of the moment physician Dr Norman Swan is a great bite-sized way to access the practical information you need to know about COVID-19, without the side dish of panic and fear.
The episodes are very short, mostly between eight and 10 minutes long, and Dr Swan uses solid, scientific evidence when giving advice to common questions like "How can I convince my parents to stay at home?" or "How do I stay fit, if I can't go outside?"
Dr Swan's calm, considered advice - and his delightful Scottish accent - is the perfect antidote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's confusing press conference updates.
WATCH BELOW: The coronavirus explained. Story continues after video.

Beauty IQ Uncensored

Beauty IQ hosts Hannah Furst and Joanna Fleming. Image: Supplied
As we suddenly find ourselves with a lot more time on our hands, now is the perfect opportunity to educate ourselves about skincare.
If you find the world of beauty a bit perplexing, or ignorant of the actual grooming realities we all face - hello ingrown hairs, pigmentation and rosacea - then this is the perfect no-BS beauty podcast for you.
Hosts Joanna Fleming and Hannah Furst, who work at online beauty retailer Adore Beauty, aren't afraid to talk about the awkward, but oh-so-relatable, beauty conundrums we all deal with, like asking your laser hair removal clinician for "the add on" (if you know, you know) or trying to look cute after a one night stand.
They also interview skincare, makeup and hair experts, as well as beauty therapists, in an effort to answer all your burning beauty questions.
If you've been wanting to focus a bit more attention on your skin and your beauty routine, but have no idea where to start, this podcast is a great first step.

The Catch and Kill Podcast, with Ronan Farrow

American journalist Ronan Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and filmmaker Woody Allen, is one of the reporters who helped expose movie producer Harvey Weinstein's shocking predatory behaviour.
This podcast, an oral version of his bestselling book, details all of the secret meetings, anonymous source drops and threats by Harvey himself, that went on behind-the-scenes, as Farrow tried to put together enough facts to ensure his story was airtight.
Even though we already know the outcome - Weinstein was recently found guilty of rape in a New York trial and has been sentenced to 23 years in prison - Farrow's tale is still incredibly gripping and will literally have you on the edge of your seat.

Beauty Island

Although this is technically a beauty podcast, it's also a podcast about women - what drives them, their struggles, their triumphs and their insecurities.
Australian journalist Brittany Stewart interviews interesting (and usually high profile) women about their favourite "desert island" beauty products, meaning their favourite skincare, makeup, hair and self-care goodies that they absolutely could not live without.
But as each female guests talks through her favourite products, Brittany's interesting and probing questions reveal far more about each woman than just why she likes that particular red lipstick.
The episodes with KIC co-founder and model Laura Henshaw, and chemist Michelle Wong, are particular highlights.