Plug In to Switch Off: 8 of the Best Podcasts and Audio Books

In search of a little escapism? There’s no better way to dodge the monotony of lockdown than by immersing yourself in a different world, learning something new or having your perceptions of life challenged with a podcast or audiobook. Put your headphones in and zone out from the chaos of your house. 

The Happiness Lab 

Right now it might seem hard to be happy. Everything is changing and everything seems a little uncertain, which is why listening to The Happiness Lab podcast is exactly what you should be doing. Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos’ class ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ has changed the lives of thousands of people and now her podcast can help change yours. The podcast shares scientific research and stories of those who have overcome obstacles to find happiness, from an incurable virus providing perspective and a new outlook on life, to losing a job being the best thing to happen to someone, there’s even a bonus coronavirus episode. You can’t help but feel more positive after listening. 

How to Fail With Elizabeth Day 

Failing, it’s not something we tend to want much to do with, but in a time like this when so many things seem out of our control it can be easy to feel like we have failed through no fault of our own. How to Fail With Elizabeth Day explores why it is ok if things don’t always go to plan and how testing times can lead to our best successes. Guests include singer Mabel, Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge and bestselling author, Marian Keyes.

Down Under by Bill Bryson 

You’re not stuck in your home clawing the walls and slowly going round the bend, you’re travelling with Bill Bryson across Australia. The two of you are drinking cold beers in the sun, lying on the beach, exploring the cities, getting stuck into the local food and most importantly avoiding everything that tries to bite. And at over 12 hours long this is pure travel escapism at its best. 

Mythos by Stephen Fry 

Now is a pretty stressful time for some of us, perhaps you’ve tried meditation, stronger vodka tonics or colouring to relax, but if there’s one thing guaranteed to soothe you it’s Stephen Fry’s voice. With Mythos you get over 15 hours of pure comfort, so turn it on, leave your lockdown situation behind and immerse yourself in the Greek myths. 

Joe Exotic: Tiger King 

If you, like millions of others, binged Netflix’s Tiger King and are now missing the bizarre world of Joe Exotic then this is the podcast for you. Having come out long before the documentary (but now being rereleased with more episodes) the podcast takes a more indepth look at the surreal world of big cat owners, focusing much more on just Joe Exotic and Carol Baskin. If you thought the stories in the documentary were absurd, you’ve heard nothing yet, how about sheep being dressed up as tigers? 

Table Manners With Jessie Ware 

Missing dinner parties? Run out of conversation around the table? Not hard these days. Luckily for you, the ninth series of Table Manners with Jessie Ware has just landed, so you can join Jessie and her Mum, Lennie, as they cook and chat with the likes of David Schwimmer, Emily Maitlis, Jo Brand and Nick Grimshaw. You never know it might give you something to talk about after. 

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes 

Marian Keyes latest novel, Grown Ups has just landed on Audible and it’s pure comic, lighthearted easy reading - some families the Casey brothers and their wives are glamourous, rich and close, maybe a little too close... Any other year it’d be your beach reading, but this isn’t any other year, this is 2020 so unless you have your own private beach, it’ll just have to be the book you listen to whilst trying to soak up the rays from your garden/balcony/ front step. 

No Such Thing As A Fish 

When they aren’t researching the show QI, Dan, James Anna and Andy are producing and presenting their podcast, No Such Thing As A Fish which explores the best facts that they have unearthed and discovered that week. They talk about everything from how to break into Alcotraz, odour-analysing t-shirts and a shrew with brain freeze - you’ve got over 300 episodes to listen to, prepare to never be bored again.