Sometimes after a hard day’s work staring at a screen, you come home to relax and stare at a different screen and you think: enough’s enough. There has to be a way to kick back at home without sitting down in front of a glowing rectangle.
Maybe that’s why podcasts for mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation have taken off. You can ease into a favourite chair and let the sound wash over you while you give your eyes and brain a rest.
So, to make the most of this trend in audio relaxation, we’ve scoured around for some of the best stress-busting podcasts out there. All you need to do is hit play and unwind.
For mindfulness in minutes
Sometimes the hardest thing is finding the time for a moment of peace. Radio Headspace is tailor-made to give a hit of mindfulness to the time-poor. “Hundreds of meditation apps promise to deliver peace in the palm of your hand, and Headspace is arguably the best,” says the New York Times. The podcast offers “bite-sized episodes” of just a few minutes in which former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe “expands on how mindfulness can help to combat anxiety and simplify daily life”, as the Times puts it.
For getting through these hard times
The host of 10% Happier, Dan Harris, knows all about stress: he had a panic attack live on-air while presenting Good Morning America. It led him on a journey to explore meditation and happiness with spiritual teachers, scientists, and even the odd celebrity. His podcast aims to show that happiness, calm, generosity, compassion, and connection are all skills that you can acquire. Recent episodes have dealt with pandemic stresses head-on, making it “your go-to guide for tackling any anxiety, low mood and panic you might be feeling during these uncertain times”, according to Woman and Home.
For pure, relaxing sound
When you want to tune out all the chatter and lose yourself in a pure, restful atmosphere, tune into Slow Radio from the BBC. Each episode plays out over 15 minutes to half an hour, immersing you in the sounds of a journey across Spain, cider-making in Somerset or the Kalahari desert. “Several “Slow Radio” episodes involve walks, evocative in their footfalls, like an elegantly produced pocket dial,” says the New Yorker, which adds that the show “deftly blends luscious sounds” with gentle narration from human voices.
For insights on coping with stress
Presenter Fearne Cotton wrote a book called Happy which was all about finding “a way to release what’s going on inside your head and to keep heading towards the good stuff”. Since then, she’s been expanding on those ideas in interviews with friends and celebrities such as Paloma Faith, Gareth Southgate, and Mary Berry. Stylist says it offers “helpful insights for staying upbeat and positive when faced with the daily stresses of a hectic, fast-paced treadmill”.
For getting a good night’s rest
“Bedtime stories for grown-ups” is the concept behind Nothing Much Happens. Each episode features a story read in the calm tones of host Kathryn Nicolai, designed to lull you into a sense of peace. The Evening Standard calls it “the perfect antidote to your busy life” and says: “Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you should miss out on the soothing nature of having someone read a bedtime story to you.”
(You can find these podcasts on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, BBC Sounds and many more services)