Podcasts are a Boredom Buster
Podcasts can be excellent boredom busters. Boredom is often an obstacle in achieving optimal mental health among individuals in the chronically ill community. We need extra time to charge our batteries. This often looks like lounging around all day doing nothing. This can be B O R I N G! Our brains were meant to be exercised just like any other organ in the body. Finding appropriate ways to recharge the mind without overdoing it can be a challenge. This is why we want to recommend listening to podcasts.
Most likely everyone has heard the term podcast but maybe is not really sure what it is all about. Podcasts are like television shows that occur on the radio. This is great for Chargies that experience brain fog or sensory overload. The only sense being used is the sense of sound so even with closed eyes the experience is still enjoyable. There are probably a million or more podcasts hovering on the web ranging in topics from Real Crime Mysteries to Celebrity Gossip to Disability Advocacy. Available on Apple and Android devices as well as from a laptop, most Podcasts are free; although some do charge a small fee. Here is a list of recommended podcasts for Chargies. Enjoy!
Disability Advocacy Podcasts
This is Not What I Ordered · Full-hearted Living with Chronic Illness & Health Challenges · Hosted by Lauren Selfridge
Host Lauren is the epitome of looking on the bright side. She talks openly about how an unexpected diagnosis challenged her to rethink her priorities. A registered associate marriage and family therapist from San Francisco, Lauren uses her education and experience as a therapist to challenge the idea that living with an illness is automatically negative. The podcast is available from iTunes or online at This Is Not What I Ordered where additional resources are also available. Self-described as “deep, funny and full of insights” listening to this podcast is much like sitting in a coffee shop with a girlfriend while discussing challenges unique for Chargies. Currently there are 23 episodes available with each less than an hour long. Go ahead and take a lunch break with Lauren and her friends as they discuss important topics that will leave you feeling energized and optimistic.
in sickness + in health · a podcast about chronic illness, disability, healthcare, and mortality · Hosted by Cara Gael
Cara Gael is a patient that knows the “system sucks” for people with chronic illness. There are 50 episodes varying from a short few minutes to nearly two hours in length. This patient-centered approach might resonate with Chargies tired of being told to “look on the bright side” when all they want is a hug or maybe someone to do a load of laundry. Episode 50 features Jennifer Brea of the documentary Unrest as she discusses with determination the challenges many ME/CFS patients face. Make sure to also catch Dysauto-whatta?! with Lauren Stiles of Dysautonomia International. So far there are 50 episodes varying in length from 14 minutes to almost two hours. Available on iTunes and at In Sickness + In Health Podcast .
Disability Visibility · Politics, Culture, Media · Hosted by Alice Wong
Disability Visibility podcast was recommended via The Unchargeables twitter account. It is inspiring to listen along as Alice helps give a voice to those in the disability community. Many of her interviews are conducted through the vibrant filters artists recognize. We reached out to Alice and she had this to say, “This is life from a disabled lens. Disability Visibility is a weekly podcast hosted by San Francisco night owl Alice Wong featuring conversations on politics, culture, and media with disabled people. If you’re interested in disability rights, social justice and intersectionality, this show is for you. It’s time to hear more disabled voices in radio. All episodes and transcripts are available online at the Disability Visibility Project.” Listen to feel galvanized by the constant reminders that you are enough and you deserve equal treatment under the law.
Laughter is the Best Medicine Podcasts
The Hilarious World of Depression · A Show about Clinical Depression…With Laughs · Hosted by John Moe
With over 40 episodes available for free, this series is all about evoking the “you are not alone” mantra. J.C. in Washington state explained, “It was enlightening to listen and hear that these feelings I have are pretty common. At the same time, it is poignant how many people have experienced similar situations [as me] in their childhood that lead to depression as an adult. You don’t realize how many people are going through the same thing you are going through because we never talk about it.” Host John Moe does an amazing job of breaking through the barriers that keep mental health and depression silenced so we can begin to heal. Available on iTunes and Here.
Armchair Expert · A podcast that celebrates the messiness of being human · Hosted by Dax Shepard
This podcast series proves celebrities are just like us, except with better refrigerators. We all make mistakes, get hung up on our imperfections, and crash into our loved ones causing chaos and injury along the way. Blatantly open about his past demons, Dax Shepard is revitalizing and relatable. In his interview with Mae Whitman, he discusses the idea that there are a million different ways to get to the same destination and sends that message of hope out for all of us. Imagine eavesdropping on a couple of celebrities in some posh L.A. bistro and you’re pretty close to Armchair Expert. The only struggle Chargies may find is that many of the episodes are two hours or more in length. If you have trouble staying focused you might find the longer length a deterrent. However, if you’re going to be sitting in the waiting room or on a long ride to the doctor anyway give this a try. Available on iTunes and at The Armchair Expert Podcast.
Sawbones · A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine · Hosted by Dr. Sydnee & Justin McElroy
With over 200 episodes each about an hour long and with topics ranging from chapped lips to Chinese cupping, there is something for everyone. Justin from Atlanta says he listens not just for the co-host, one of his favorite comedians, but because “it is important to be educated about the shortcomings and scams in the medical industry both historically and today.” The he-said, she-said banter between spouses is authentic and the duo are instantly likable. Find Sawbones on iTunes or at the website Maximum Fun.
Spiritual Health Podcast
Insights at the Edge · by Sounds True · Hosted by Tami Simon
Admitting bias here because this podcast series is one of my personal favorites. Many years ago while searching for answers to my daughter’s debilitating chronic fatigue, I stumbled across this podcast series and was hooked. Each episode takes a look at the spiritual connection to our health from an alternative viewpoint. The wide depth of interviewees was definitely a draw. One day it was listening to a mystic healer, the next a priest, and then a Native American spiritual leader. The principal of grounding, the practice of placing your bare feet on the earth daily,
developed from one episode. While it certainly was not the answer to all the problem, the opportunity to pause from a hectic day and connect with nature for a couple of minutes has been a part of my wellness journey. Expert interviewer Tami Simon helps her guests reveal their message with heart. Listeners are not pushed to accept any ideology but rather offered the ideas like a warm bowl of chicken soup. Guests include chefs, entrepreneurs, authors, artists, spiritual healers of every religious denomination, and new age thinkers. Each podcast is about an hour and there are very many available for free on iTunes or at Sounds True.
About Author T.J. Madden
Reader, Writer, Baker, Teacher, Chicken Soup Maker, Fighter for all Things Healthier, Stronger, Kinder, and Better than Yesterday.