I’m all about maximizing my time to get the most out of my day, and there’s no way I like doing that more than by listening to my favorite inspirational podcasts. Doing a load of laundry? Press play to an episode that’ll change my life. Going for a walk? Might as well double up and engage in a little personal growth. While the inspirational podcasts we all know and love are definitely on my most-listened-to playlist—I’m talking Oprah’s Super Soul, Unlocking Us with Brené Brown, and On Being with Krista Tippett—the ones I have on repeat right now are… a little more obscure. Perhaps it’s because I’m expanding my horizons in terms of what it means to be a life-long learner, but I just find myself curious about everything. And the best thing about podcasts? There’s always an episode for exactly the topic you want to dive into.
Another thing I love about podcasts? The fact that they make an abundance of information easily accessible. From the moment I wake up to the time I go to bed, you can find me doing something productive. Between a morning workout, meditation, a full day of work, dinner, and the inevitable 1-2 hours I devote to personal projects in the evening, the idea of curling up with an inspiring book is almost laughable.
So what’s my solution when time is limited but I still need a dose of motivation? A solid podcast. Despite a packed schedule, I never seem to run out of opportunities to multitask and tune in to some of my favorite shows. Whether I’m at my desk, on a flight, in my car, working out, or cleaning around the house, I simply pop on my headphones and zone out.
In my podcast queue as of late? It’s a healthy mix of pop culture deep-dives, real-talk reflections on wellness culture, and food podcasts whose narratives depend entirely upon the back-and-forth of a best friend pair. Okay, I’ve teased them long enough—these are the podcasts you need to start listening to asap. That is, of course, if you’re not already a devoted fan.
Keep scrolling for the top 6 inspiring podcasts that’ll transform your perspective.
If you’re like me, you’ve followed the Elizabeth Holmes trial day in, day out. Besides her (now ubiquitous) black turtleneck/chignon/chic lipstick combo, there’s so much about this shockingly real-life story that builds intrigue. The money, the romance, the deception that somehow went undetected for years—all of it. The Dropout takes a critical look at how one woman went from being a self-made billionaire to losing it all. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction.
Listen to The Dropout.
Time to get nostalgic: Spilled Milk is the first podcast I listened to after discovering the existence of my now-favorite cultural medium. The concept is simple: Two friends take a food-related topic, and from there, the content expands in infinite directions. The commentary is hilarious, brilliant, and informed, and it’s a reminder that food is a catalyst for meaningful conversation—and there’s more to winter squash than meets the eye.
Listen to Spilled Milk Podcast.
The year is 2022, and dating is still as challenging, awkward, and seemingly impossible to navigate as ever. This Is Dating acknowledges all of that—and so much more. It isn’t afraid to pursue and delve into the cringe-worthy elements of dating. The episodes touch upon the concepts we each know well. There’s the small talk, the agreed-upon, but still awkward first kiss, and, of course, the mishaps and mayhems involved in navigating any text-based conversation. Through a series of recorded first dates, listeners get a privileged, adjacent-to-eavesdropping perspective into the world of dating as we know it. You’ll find yourself fully engaged in the lives of people you’ve never met, and rooting for the romance and the confirmation of (all the many) feelings at play.
Listen to This is Dating.
When wellness first came to the forefront of every millennial’s cultural concerns, I was fully and wholeheartedly on board. After all, experiencing burnout and disillusion with the grind and hustle culture that seemed to be the norm, I sought comfort in something that felt entirely different. Mindbodygreen has led the charge in making health and wellness content accessible to all—and not a day goes by where I don’t read the many daily stories their world-class writers report on. Each week, founder and co-CEO Jason Wachob interviews experts about a range of topics, and the conversations that result never fail to completely transform how I think about my own well-being—and understand the world.
Listen to The mindbodygreen Podcast.
This podcast came into my life thanks to our Beauty Editor, Langa Chinyoka. Ever since I first saw The Farewell (Awkwafina 4ever), I’ve been a huge fan of every single last A24 film. Their roster of Oscar-worthy movies is impressive, to say the least, but what truly floors me? The guests—and the interviewee duos—featured on the show. Examples: Simon Rex and Angus Cloud, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, and Fred Armisen and Jason Schwartzman. It’s proof that when a series of intentionally-asked questions gets paired with world-class guests, the possibilities are endless.
Listen to The A24 Podcast.
I can’t even begin to say how many times I’ve recommended this podcast to friends, family, and really anyone who will listen. And I’m proud to say that everyone who’s been on the receiving end of these recommendations also looks forward to Maintenance Phase’s bi-weekly, every-other-Tuesday, new episode drop. This is by far the most well-researched podcast I’ve ever listened to. Co-hosts Michael Hobbes and Aubrey Gordon debunk and decode a range of health and wellness topics—always with a side of clever, nuanced, and laugh-out-loud humor. The show’s gained a cult following for good reason. Walk, don’t run, and download this gem of a podcast right now.
Listen to Maintenance Phase.
This post was originally published on May 6, 2016 and has since been updated.