Ward, who hosts "Ologies with Alie Ward" is a science correspondant and writer. courtesy Alie Ward

Podcast corner

Podcasts might be the thing you need to find motivation and solidarity in challenging times.

The end of the semester is drawing near and that means many things. On one hand, there are a bunch of exciting end of year events like Spring Fest and graduation. On the other hand, there are the less fun kinds of stress such as final exams, papers, trying to figure out internships or jobs.

All exciting things in one form or another, but these end-of-year activities can be draining. Motivation waxes and wanes over the course of the semester. Studying grows increasingly harder. Summer beckons as the weather starts to warm and green things start to grow.

Luckily, there are podcasts that can help! A simple search for “motivation” in your favorite podcast app can result in dozens of episodes. Most feature a man mid-shout on the cover, spouting off cliche motivational speeches. Not exactly the thing for everyone.

But the shows featured below offer more doable, sustainable ways of finding and retaining motivation, inspiration or anything else you might need to get through these final weeks of the semester.

“The Happiness Lab,” with its cheerful yellow cover, is a show hosted by Yale professor of psychology Dr. Laurie Santos, who has studied happiness and aims to help her listeners figure out ways to be more satisfied with life. Episode 12 of season three is especially useful, as it covers the concept of a growth mindset. Dr. Santos explains what the growth mindset is, talks about some studies that show the benefits of a growth mindset and how you can incorporate this mindset into your life by making slight changes in the way you talk about yourself.

For instance, if you want to become a better public speaker but feel you are not the best at doing so, instead of thinking “I am a bad public speaker,” you would instead think “I am not a great public speaker yet.” The thought leaves room for growth, giving you the motivation and encouragement you need to figure out how you can become a better public speaker.

If we think of ourselves as having fixed personality traits, we hinder ourselves from growth. But by acknowledging the ability to learn and change, we can often be in a better place to make those changes happen.

“Ologies with Allie Ward” has an episode focused on life hacks to be happier and more productive. Although we shouldn’t always have to be productive, sometimes we need to figure out ways to stay on track with responsibilities. In “LIFE ADVICE: For anyone who is tired & needs some hacks,” Ward asks her Patreon subscribers for their best life hacks. This is part of the ADHD series, but Ward assures the listeners that anyone can listen to this episode and use the advice that feels right to them. The episode is split into five parts: “Your Hot Bod Needs This,” “Home is Where the Hard Is,” “Wrestling with Father Time,” “Tricking Your Brain to Trick Your Brain” and “Emo Stuff.”

Part one isn’t about aesthetics, but about taking care of your body in a way that makes your brain feel good. It’s relatable and the episode offers a variety of self-care tips which shows that there’s not one right way to care for your mind or body. There’s something about hearing multiple people share their advice for living well.

I would like to caution that one user talks about clean eating, a concept that is steeped in diet culture. Clean eating implies that there are good and bad foods, a mindset which can contribute to eating disorders and disordered eating habits. Nutrition is important, but what that looks like is different for everyone.

The show doesn’t necessarily address the harmful implications of “clean eating,” but does offer other ways of thinking about food. For example, one user talks about picking foods that bring them personal enjoyment and that they are excited to cook in the kitchen.

These are only the tip of the iceberg of the podcasts available. Everyone is different, so taking time to explore the different kinds of podcasts that help with motivation and inspiration could be well worth it as we navigate the end of the semester.

You can find “The Happiness Lab” and “Ologies with Alie Ward” on all streaming platforms.

Post Author: Hana Saad