by Paul Forster, Carer Wellbeing Facilitator

As we find ourselves struggling with the impact on our lives of Covid-19 and how to still feel connected with the world, I would like to share a new interest of mine which some of you may know all about - the world of podcasts.

Now I am of a certain age but pride myself on being relatively informed about social media, technology and all that...stuff! But I admit podcasts had passed me by. I kept hearing about them and seeing the word everywhere but I wasn't keen. 'I have enough social media content thank you - I can't take anymore being shoved down my throat'! I protested (to no one as I live on my own). And anyway the people who kept going on about them were all those media types in London, smug and under 40 (ahh I remember 40!) or so it seemed in my jaundiced worldview.

However, we find that this last year has challenged us all and I admit that living alone can be very difficult as you rely on the company of others at work and outside to give you the social contact that most of us need for our wellbeing.  So I decided I needed to look into podcasting- what is it and how do I get some? More importantly do I have to pay? The answers to these questions were, happily for me, quite easy to find.

What is it? It is simply a recorded programme made usually by one or two regular presenters about a certain topic or theme. Like on the radio but you can listen to it anytime you choose to on your phone or other device (there are links at the end for more details).

How do I get it? Easy - there are lots of apps that collect and provide an outlet for the podcasts. I have used the one Google has provided on my phone but there are lots of others. Here are some examples of podcast app icons: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, and Podcast Addict. You may also like to try Audible or Podbean.

Once you have the app all the individual podcasts are themed so if you have a particular interest you can look at those and then subscribe to them. Because there are so many no matter what you are interested in there are bound to be at least a few podcasts that you will enjoy. I love history and have found some excellent podcasts that have absorbed my mind completely for an hour or so. I also love the American version of ' The Office' and found a really funny podcast by two of the actors who were in it that, shock horror, has made me laugh out loud!

Do I have to pay? - no (phew!) as most run with adverts, but a bit like TV these days, if you subscribe to the companies that produce them then you can listen advert free.

Now that is a very basic description and I have to confess I am no expert on the subject. The main reason I am highlighting podcasts is not to tell you in detail how to access them but to extol how much I am a convert to them, how much I enjoy them and how much they have helped me get through the last year.

So if you are fed up of TV and can't focus on reading as you would like to, then try the world of podcasting as a nice alternative which stimulates the mind and helps you relax.

Here are some useful links to help you discover the world of podcasts: