Like many women in their mid-twenties, I was introduced to podcasts with the phenom, Serial. I would blast the volume during my rickety commute on the Brown Line to hear every detail about Adnan Syed. Though the details of the story were enticing, and the format of the episodes brought back the excitement of having to wait a week to hear more of a story, one of the reasons I loved the podcast was the tone of Sarah Koenig’s voice. It may sound creepy, but if you’ve listened you know it — there is a relaxing softness to her tone, which pulled me into the story and made me tone-out the smelly crazy man shoving by me on the train, as well as my daily worries.
Four years have passed since Season 1 of Serial came out, and I’ve changed jobs, apartments and train lines, but the power of a podcast has remained the same (or arguably grown!). According to Podcast Insights there are now over 660,000 podcasts you can listen to; from Bachelor Recaps to Talks Goldman Sachs to My Favorite Murder, you can find it all.
Some that bring back the soothing, Sarah Koenig voice, feeling and that have not only passed the time on my commute but also encouraged me to feel more confident in my body and my life are categorized as “Self Love.” I don’t like displaying emotions (something I need to work on) and these make me feel a little bit like Luke from Gilmore Girls when he is trying to learn how to pursue Lorelei — but similar to the results he had, podcasts that discuss body positivity and personal growth are effective and worth hitting “play.”
This one hits home, given that I am 29. The hosts, Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik, are really funny, so they have the great balance of bringing on guests who are true experts and digging into serious topics while also making it feel like you’re just talking about those things with your friends. The “Scarred Not Scared” episode covers body positivity, and they literally start the podcast talking about going to a holistic doctor and being nervous they were going to shit on the table. If that ain’t honest balance, I don’t know what is.
Call Your Girlfriend
Best Friends Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sou lead a podcast that is another one that will make you laugh and cry. The intro-song itself is amazing and always has me doing the casual upper-body rock side to side with the beat and is an immediate mood-bump; then the content gets even better. They delve into real-life current topics that you’ve probably chatted with at brunch with your friends (note the title), but they also will bring in experts and research issues so they provide insight that you may not have thought-of before. Plus, they created the idea of Shine Theory, something we talk about regularly on aSweatLife and strive to practice every day by lifting up our friends.
For body-pos vibes, tune into episode 148 (“Hot Bods”) to hear how Aminatou and Ann are choosing to feel good in their own skin; the “Intimate Secrets” episode, meanwhile, dives deep into the lingerie industry and highlights some brands that are bringing gorgeous underwear to women of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones. Listen to this on your commute and you’ll find yourself smiling on the train and feeling ready to confidently take on the day.
The Life Coach School Podcast
This podcast is technically focused on teaching people how to be a life coach, but even if you have no desire to do that (hi, me), it is still such a good listen. They talk through real, raw content and it is useful to hear how people who are incredibly positive work through tough situations. One of the most recent episodes discusses grief, and how people often compare their pain – and how we judge people’s sorrow on what we think we know about relationships. You might be thinking, “how is grief self-love?”, but the deep content they dive into provides perspective on how to get through the hard times to love yourself and be your best self — and it provides a solid base to love yourself even more in the great times by appreciating those moments.
The Recovery Warrior
This podcast features stories from survivors of disordered eating, and those who categorize themselves as perfectionists. By hearing others’ stories, it helps to identify negative areas of thought that I didn’t even realize I had, and how to transition to a more positive outlook. They bring on experts that talk about the impact of social media and other triggers that play a role in how you view your body. It is often very easy to see the positive aspects of someone else, and I think by hearing very personal stories this podcast helps you identify them in yourself too.