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Podcasts to entertain, inspire, and stimulate the mind while you're practicing social distancing. Prepare to be inspired on first listen — and far from bored.

With more than 800,000 active podcasts out there in the world, finding your new favourite is no easy task. Here are several podcasts to inspire, educate, and entertain you while you’re social distancing.

Health and Wellness: The Science of Happiness

As reviving as a mug of hot tea or a short yoga session, these 15-minute episodes are all about how to be happy and are based on applied research from Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hosted by award-winning psychologist Dacher Keltner, the latest episode is all about “Staying Close While Physical Distancing.”

More podcasts like this:

  • Food Heaven — Best pals and registered dietitian nutritionists Wendy Lopez and Jess Jones talk about body acceptance, intuitive eating, balanced eating on a budget, and more in 30-minute episodes each Wednesday.
  • Simplify — Non-fiction authors like Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project and Susan Cain of the international bestseller Quiet speak about healthy habits and living a happy life with hosts Caitlin Schiller and Ben Schuman-Stoler.

Thought Provoking: Philosophize This!

Long-time podcaster Stephen West’s distills complex ideas from past thinkers. Not just a history less, through humour and sincerity, he connects both ancient and modern philosophy to life today.

More podcasts like this:

  • TED Radio Hour — A look at “life’s biggest questions,” including how technology, society, and creativity can transform how we live, with host Manoush Zomorodi.
  • RBCDisruptors — As public figures like Netflix’s Chief Talent Officer Jessica Neal speak about our rapidly changing world with John Stackhouse, RBC Senior Vice-President, Office of the CEO, you’ll feel you understand the ever-changing state of humanity better too.

Mystery: Joe Exotic: Tiger King

Already watched the Tiger King Netflix series but still want to know more ? B.C.-based journalist Rob Moor provides more details about the mega feud in this six-part series, with bonus content. Relive country-singing big cat wrangler Joe “Exotic” Maldonado and his activist enemy Carole Baskin.

More podcasts like this:

  • The Missing Cryptoqueen — Dr. Ruja Ignatova inspired millions to join her cryptocurrency multilevel marketing business. Then in 2017 she mysteriously vanished. This six-part BBC series by Jamie Bartlett takes us into the bizarre and fascinating world of a woman who may be the queen of scams.
  • Cool Mules — The wild story of how a Vice Canada editor named Slava P. offered writing gigs to budding journalists — then conspired to lure them into the drug smuggling underworld. Hosted by Kasia Mychajlowycz.

Comedy and Culture: No Such Thing as a Fish

Q: Why does Churchill looks so grumpy on five-pound Bank of England notes?

A: The photographer took away his cigar just before taking his picture.

No Such Thing as a Fish is hosted by the QI Elves from the cult British quiz show QI, you’ll get weekly episodes from four very funny people talking about the silliest, most delightfully true facts they’ve discovered in their research for the quiz program.

More podcasts like this:

  • Stop Podcasting Yourself — Vancouver comedy duo Graham Clark and Dave Shumka interview a different guest once a week. Normally, this means they’re talking with another comedian and shenanigans ensue.
  • Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me! — National Public Radio’s weekly current events quiz tests your knowledge of the week’s news, interviews celebrities about things they don’t know, and asks listeners to figure out which outlandish news stories are true.

Canadian Business: Under the Influence

Hosted by former adman Terry O’Reilly, this is an entertaining and challenging look at just how much your choices in life — right down to, what you eat for brunch — are shaped by some very clever marketers.

More podcasts like this:

  • Revisionist History — Malcolm Gladwell will remind you, often, that he’s Canadian in this hit podcast where he brings the kind of master storytelling that made him a bestselling author.
  • Canadaland — In episodes hosted by journalist Jesse Brown, expect deep (and often critical) dives into Canadian current affairs and politics.

Family friendly: Earth Rangers

Animal lovers of all ages can join wildlife biologist Emma and explore nature’s scientific wonders. Episodes look at topics like “hovering hummingbirds,” “wild wetlands,” and “understanding ‘elephant speak.'”

Featured in a recent New York Times guide to the best children’s podcasts, episodes are produced by Earth Rangers — a Canadian charity helping kids become good environmental stewards through school programs and a popular app. Their award-winning work is supported by an RBC Tech for Nature grant.

More podcasts like this:

Finding a new favourite podcast can be a welcome break at a time when so many people are actively distancing themselves. And while avoiding others to help flatten the curve, a good podcast can feel like an intimate window to the rest of the world.