Kate Hardy, a fourth-year student in the Biomedical Sciences program of the College of Graduate Studies and a student member of the University-wide Mental Health Committee, contributed the following article. It’s the first in her series of recommended podcasts on the eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual. (In case you’re wondering, the term eight dimensions of wellness was coined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a U.S. government agency.)
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Do you ever lament that you have to pause your learning if you want to cook or exercise? I don’t have a magic solution to help you study for exams while doing those tasks, but I do have a solution for a different type of learning that can boost your intellectual wellness: Instead of learning by reading, you can learn by listening.
Podcasts are great for multitasking, as most don’t require your undivided attention. I listen while driving, cleaning, cooking and exercising. I also listen while walking a loop around campus to take a short mental break and stretch my legs for physical and emotional wellness!
Being a great health care provider requires more than knowing what’s in the books. By listening to these podcasts, you can keep yourself updated on current events on just about every topic imaginable. Many of them are also worth listening to just for their entertainment value.
Most hosts and guests on podcasts speak very slowly and clearly, which makes this format accessible to people with mild hearing loss or whose first language isn’t English. Alternatively, many podcast apps have the option to speed up the playback. I listen to most podcasts at 1.5x speed.
Because podcasts are so abundant, there are countless choices for each of the eight dimensions of wellness. Below, I have included my podcast suggestions for the first dimension, marking my personal favorite with an asterisk.
And if podcasts aren’t your style, you may like listening to audiobooks. The Libby app by Overdrive allows you to borrow audiobooks (and ebooks) for free with a library card.
(American Public Media, ~45 min): Interviews with comedians and other famous guests who have dealt with depression; example episodes:
- John Green falls victim to some bad fiction while writing his new book.
- Aparna Nancherla is having a harder time doing something she’s great at.
(Wondery, ~35 min): True crime podcast about a reckless neurosurgeon and how the medical system failed to stop him.
(NPR, 53 min): Trivia fans will have a blast playing along to this game show on consumable media (books, film, TV, music, etc.). Each episode has an interview and a game with a famous guest such as Taye Diggs, Awkwafina, Nichole Byer and Matthew McConaughey.
(The McElroys, 60-90 min): A hilarious journey following two brothers and their dad in Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.
(Paul Gilmartin, ~120 min): In-depth interviews focusing on "all the battles in our heads from medically diagnosed conditions, past traumas, and sexual disfunction to everyday compulsive negative thinking."