5 Podcasts That Helped Me Through My Mental Health Struggles
Dec 03, 2021
By : Janelle Kyla M. Cruz
2020 assured everyone a smooth and amusing year to spend, yet unexpectedly the pandemic transpired. At exactly 12:00 AM on January 1, 2020, I looked up to a sky filled with fireworks. In my mind, I felt that this was the sign for a new year to thrive. I had hoped that 2020 would be the year for me; the year I would see myself grow in a path where my mental health would be better.
But, I was wrong; 2020 wasn’t meant for me. Instead, it was the year my mental health worsened due to the isolation from the pandemic, the uncertainties in my life, the issues in the country, the invalidation from people, and the shift to online classes. Everything changed.
Another year had passed, and I hoped for better. But again, I was wrong. 2021 was still the usual pandemic where I felt like I was pretending I was fine even though I was breaking into pieces. However, I didn’t want to feel stuck anymore like how I was in 2020. I wanted to move. This led me to discover the world of podcasts, which helped me in overcoming my mental health struggles.
As I enter this world, I wonder if most of you know how accessible it is, how helpful it can be, and how far it could reach. With that, I am here to recommend the podcasts that motivated and enlightened me amidst the pandemic.
1. In Your Feelings talks “Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think You Are”
“Am I doing enough?” This is a question that I often ask myself. When the pandemic started, it felt like everything was falling out of place. Aside from losing the everyday life that we once had, I also felt like I was losing myself. I lost the enthusiasm I had, I lost the growth mindset I developed, I lost the people I thought I could lean on, and so much more. There were so many losses in my life that it felt like everything was falling apart, and I had to blame myself for everything.
But, a few months later, I discovered a popular podcast among Gen Z, In Your Feelings. It’s a podcast from Thought Catalog that talks about the human quality of being a sensitive, feeling person. They released an episode entitled Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think You Are. This episode gave me so many realizations on how I look at myself. I realized that in every downfall, there is an opportunity and every experience is a sign of growth.
I’m sure we’ve all doubted ourselves and felt insecure about our weaknesses. And sometimes, we can’t help but compare ourselves to others. But, you know what? In every challenge I’ve experienced, I’ve always kept in mind this quote: “Your doubts, fears, and weaknesses are stepping stones to discover the best version of yourself as you engage and learn from countless opportunities.”
2. Teenager Therapy asks “Happiness or Success?”
Would I rather be successful or happy? Honestly, this is a big dilemma for me, and for sure, a dilemma many young people have also experienced. How can we say we are truly happy or fully successful at this stage in our lives when we are still figuring ourselves out?
These are questions Teenager Therapy asked on their episode entitled Happiness or Success?. Teenager Therapy is a podcast from five stressed and sleep-deprived yet energetic teens who sit down and talk about the struggles that come with being a teenager.
In the pandemic, I went through a lot of anxiety episodes where I would constantly worry about my future. I had a nagging fear that I wouldn’t get into my dream school or pass my dream course. These fears came as I was in my senior year of high school — the year of my college applications. And let me tell you, picking a course and school to apply for was tough, considering that there were a lot of factors I had to keep in mind. What more that I had to consider my career options for the next stage in life already? Here, I noticed careers were chosen because it either made enough money for a comfortable life, or it made people happy. However, why should we choose one or the other? Why should we consider only one path to lead a better life?
As I listened to the podcast, I learned the value of navigating our dilemma. I realized that we should live our lives in whichever way makes us the most fulfilled. It is not about the money or the recognition; it is significantly about your subjective well-being!
3. A Productive Conversation says “Be Productive with Uncertainty”
On a scale of 1 to 10, how productive have you been in the pandemic? With everything going on, there were a lot of uncertainties in my life and one of which was the mental health battles I faced. There were times I had to accomplish my requirements the day they were due because of the lack of motivation. There were even times I had to leave the class or zoom call due to sudden breakdowns. A lot of things blocked my way to productivity. But, even though these uncertainties and feelings can’t be controlled, they can be embraced.
These battles did not stop me from doing my best each day and what helped a lot was this podcast named A Productive Conversation. It’s a podcast hosted by productivity strategist Mike Vardy. It discusses tips, tools, tactics, and tricks that are designed to help you take your productivity, time management, goals, to-do lists, habits, and workflow to new heights — both at work and at home.
Although the podcast guided me a lot, the episode Be Productive with Uncertainty with David Neagle, struck me the most. I was affected by the statement of David Neagle towards the end of the podcast, “Nothing changes until we accept responsibility for where we are… When we stop blaming all together, we literally take back our power to choose, and we can sit down and decide how we want to show up in this world and start making significant changes.”
That statement helped me embrace that the pandemic is not a productivity competition. And being productive doesn’t mean ticking things off your to-do list. In fact, being productive also means taking a step back to give yourself ample time to rest and have a breather. In order to stay productive with uncertainty, you need to take steps to steadily show up in this world and start making significant changes.
4. Sleeping Pill with Inka counts to “Night Sixty Nine”
“Pick and choose what gets to be on your plate for now. There might be so many things that are calling and begging for your attention. Things like your work, your studies, the chores, the deadlines, a to-do list that seems like it is never going to end. But right now, I want you to add something to that list, something very important, and that is to ignore all of them for now.” -Inka, Night Sixty Nine
With the shift to online classes, I’ve been on my desktop 24/7 due to the workload on my plate. I’m someone who finishes her requirements within the day, even if the deadline is still far away. But, I’m also the type who easily sleeps in just a minute or two, with each day differing through some nocturnal nights and burnout kicking in. The stress that I have each day shifts from either eustress or distress. Is that even normal?
Well, according to the podcast I listened to before sleeping, it is. Sleeping Pill with Inka is your online safe space where you can unwind, forget about your troubles, and allow Inka to calm your mind as she reads a curated selection of literary works to soothe you into a much-needed sleep. This helped me sleep right away and pushed back all my worries not to overthink as much as I did. The night is usually when you’re alone to your thoughts, but the podcast felt like having a companion to confide in.
5. Woke Up PH speaks on “The Youth Vote, Philippine Democracy, and Voter’s Registration”
Are you also into social and political conversations? If you are, who do you usually converse with? This pandemic is not the only crisis our country is facing because there are so many issues that range from the minor ones to the more concerning ones.
As someone who listens to the news, reads articles, and checks social media, I want to help my fellow youth utilize their platforms in the right way and fulfill their duties as Filipino citizens, such as registering to vote. With the recent news being disheartening, it moved me to want to engage more in these conversations and encourage people to live the value of fidelity to duty as we have the power to change our country.
I was moved to listen to a podcast about social issues and political conversations — Woke Up PH, where they talk about social issues relevant to today’s youth. Quoting the podcast, “The youth are the prime movers of the elections where they set the trends in terms of who wins or loses, so they are very powerful except that sometimes they don’t have their act together because they don’t vote as a block.” This line is from COMELEC Spokesperson James Jiminez in the episode entitled, The Youth Vote, Philippine Democracy, and Voter’s Registration with COMELEC’s James Jimenez. It talks about the importance of collective action in bringing change.
It’s often overlooked that change requires a collective whole to truly make sustainable and long-lasting calls for actions. And that society misinterprets the youth for being immature and needing protection. When, in fact, we, as a youth collective, have the power and platform to set trends and initiate conversations about social and political issues.
Art Header by Angela Pabilona
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