Updated: Jan 20
This post has been updated since it was first published. The first edition of The Little Box of Calm is currently sold out and we are assessing whether and when to make another. Please join our newsletter for updates.
In case you don't know, we have a new perpetual box that we produce; The Little Box of Calm. The idea of this box is to provide a physical thing that prompts people to take some time to look after themselves. So much of living with mental health issues can be just getting through the day and the hustle and bustle of that often doesn't provide space to process and really take care of yourself, and we wanted to create a box that changed that, as well as providing reading material that people can identify with and/or use to find out more about a particular issue.
If you've had one of our regular quarterly boxes you'll know that we like to put in random other things and prompt people to think outside the box (see ninja masks, kindness cards, recipe cards, grow your own dragon fruit etc etc) and the extra things were one of the thing I was most excited about with creating this first incarnation of The Little Box of Calm, the On Anxiety box.
From my own experience of living with anxiety, I find that playlists, audiobooks and podcasts can be particularly helpful with distracting my mind and calming me down, so I thought that as an accompaniment to the anxiety box I would offer a few of my favourite calming podcasts. Of course this is subjective and some of the areas I'm interested in you may not be so feel free to take whatever sounds interesting to you and give it a try!
One of my first podcast discoveries, author Gretchen Rubin and her sister discuss all sorts of things that might make you happier. I particularly love their 'try this at home' segment - a simple and quick thing you can try yourself that often gives a quick little happiness boost. The most recent episode featured a 'blues bag', something not dissimilar to The Little Box of Calm and designed as a gift to someone who may need cheering up. Episodes are usually fairly short - 30 -50 minutes - and I'd really recommend giving it a go! I'd also recommend Gretchen's books, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home.
Krista Tippett is the queen of difficult conversations. She talks about all sorts of things with all sorts of people and has one of the most calming voices around. On Being will make you think about things from all sorts of different perspectives, so probably not one for if you're overthinking everything already, but a great one for redirecting your attention. My favourite ever episode is Love in Action with John Lewis, just an extraordinary, beautiful and moving episode which will inspire you to love everyone more.
This one only really works if you're into Harry Potter, but if you are you absolutely must try it. It's amazing and hilarious (it'll make you laugh out loud while walking around and probably get you some weird looks) and they come at Harry Potter from so many different angles and sneak a lot of feminism in there too. One of my favourite podcasts of all time, and if you so desire you can also re-read the books along with them. Harry Potter is one of my favourite calming comfort reads, so this is a bit of a double whammy really. There's also a gorgeous episode in Season 2 where host Marcel talks to a family who are really into the podcast and Harry Potter, and the mother makes Defence Against the Dark Arts kits for her kids in the wake of the 2016 election results. I may have slightly borrowed that idea...
I discovered this as a direct result of Witch Please as its host, Hannah McGregor, is co-host of the above. Originally each week she would talk a little about her secret feminist agenda for that week (anything from cats to Brooklyn 99 and everything in between) and then interview an awesome feminist about something cool that they do. Now she's split the episodes so that she alternates her secret feminist agenda (which also has a self care section) with the interviews. It's always hugely interesting and she interviews all sorts of people about all sorts of things. Another great distracting podcast.
My first favourite books podcast and part of the Book Riot family of podcasts (as is For Real, below). All the Books is a weekly podcast where Liberty Hardy and various co-hosts talk about the weeks new releases and what they're reading now. They feature a great mix of genres and I've found out about so many things I'd never have heard of otherwise. Liberty is some kind of reading machine and has read pretty much everything (which you'll see if you listen to her bonus 'All the Backlist' episodes), and it has the added perk of being hilarious.
Also a Book Riot podcast hosted by Kim and Alice. I was very excited when this started as I've been reading Kim's non-fiction blog since I first started blogging seven or eight years ago. It's every two weeks and each episode focuses on a theme around which the hosts recommend different non-fiction books. If you think non-fiction isn't your thing you should try this because I bet there's something for you! I find adding to my TBR to be infinitely relaxing, so it's a great one for me.
What Should I Read Next?
This is a more recent discussion for me, and host Anne Bogel is another woman with a very calming voice! In each episode she interviews different guests about various aspects of their reading lives and suggests books for them to read. It's a really interesting look at why we read and I personally find it very soothing.
Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields
Another podcast host with the most soothing of voices, Jonathan Fields also interviews all sorts of people about what it means to them to live a good life.
How to Fail
Author and journalist Elizabeth Day interview famous people from all areas about their failures. This is actually really inspiring because it makes you see things from another perspective and reminds us that failure is actually how we learn to, as she says, succeed better.
What are you favourite podcasts? Have we missed any you love?