I'm an introvert by nature who has been working from home for over 18 months now, but even I can acknowledge that being cooped up in the same spot for long periods can do crazy things to your psyche. There are tons of things you can do to combat boredom, malaise, or depression, such as going for a walk, hopping on a Google Duo or Skype call for virtual companionship, or even catching up on some home office organization and spring cleaning.
One of the best ways I've found to deal with the stress of the school and work closures and uncertainty is to lose myself in a good Audible audiobook. Whether you're looking for tips on how to hunker down, inspiration to restore your faith in humanity, or a total distraction — even if just for a minute — Audible has nearly half a million audiobooks and spoken word content to help get you through it.
Here are some audiobooks that I've recently found some comfort in listening to. Perhaps you will too!
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F-ck
By: Mark Manson. Narrated by: Roger Wayne.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F-ck: A counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life was written by Mark Manson in 2016 as a somewhat tongue-in-cheek attempt to subvert not only the entire genre of self-help books but also the millennial "find your passion" culture that had permeated the late 2010s.
Manson is a fellow Austinite (though that's not why I'm recommending this book) who has been writing blogs and witty "self-help" books for several years now. He is probably most known for this particular book, and not just because of the eye-catching title. While it contains a heavy dose of sarcasm and a good helping of grumpiness, the underlying message is actually pretty darn wholesome.
Manson asserts is that we need to stop worrying about superficial things that don't really matter, and focus on the things that bring us not just happiness, but fulfillment. That could be friendships, family, hobbies, or the calling of a job or larger mission of some sort. This book will provide a healthy dose of perspective, whether you're on day 3, or week 3, of your forced, self-isolation.
The Sleep Revolution
By: Arianna Huffington. Narrated by: Agapi Stassinopoulos.
Arianna Huffington recalls in her book The Sleep Revolution a terrifying anecdote about how she had worked herself to the bone at the expense of sleep and self-care, passed out, and had to seek out medical attention. She spends chapter after chapter talking about how Western society has come to prioritize things like work, entertainment, social media, etc. ahead of rest, and how that cultural pressure is negatively affecting us all.
You may not have any problems with your sleep habits (I typically don't), but many others do. Some of it is beyond our control (chronic insomnia can have many contributing factors), but a lot of the conditions necessary for proper rest and sleep are within our power to control. Things like not eating or drinking alcohol or caffeine past a certain point, not taking electronics into the bedroom, and going to bed at a reasonable hour, are all things we can control.
Ultimately, I found this audiobook helpful because it is a good reminder that we need to practice self-care all the time, not just during pandemics. Also, it is essential to realize and remember that self-care is not selfish. If you are not at your best, you cannot be your best for your family, your job, or your friends.
By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Narrated by: Stephen Fry.
Sherlock Holmes is one of literature's most beloved and classic figures, and listening to this full collection of his stories and adventures is one of the best ways I can personally think of to escape from all of the madness going on in the world right now.
If you've never read (or heard) any of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, some of my favorites include The Adventure of The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Crooked Man, and of course, The Hound of the Baskervilles. If none of those strike your fancy, there are many more included stories to kindle your interests.
For an additional dose of awesome sauce, Audible hired noted British actor and comedian Stephen Fry to narrate the series. Fry does a fantastic job lending his voice to the narration, and it's almost worth getting this audiobook to hear him alone, even if you're not much for murder mysteries.
If you were to purchase this audiobook collection without an Audible membership, you would be out almost $90, but just by signing up for a 30-day trial, you can get (and keep) the whole collection for free. That's awesome!
One of the great things about Audible is its extensive library of audiobooks and spoken word content, but what's also great is that you can listen to it practically anywhere and on just about every platform. If you want to listen on your phone, there are Android and iOS apps. You can listen while working at your computer via the web player, or on your tablet or e-reader, be that Kindle, Fire, Android, or iPad. Heck, there are even ways to listen on Windows, Sonos, and Apple Watch!
Something that I wasn't aware of until recently is that Audible members have access to tons of fitness and workout programs, which you can stream over your Amazon Echo speakers, via Bluetooth, or through your headphones as you sweat out your stay-at-home stress.
All new sign-ups get their first 30 days free, which is good for at least one audiobook that is yours to keep. Additionally, if you're already a Prime member and are new to Audible, you can get a free audiobook along with two Audible Originals in those first 30 days. Honestly, it's worth signing up just to see if you like it!
We're curious to hear what you're listening to during self-isolation. Share in the comments below!
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Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
AUDIBLE is quite simply FANTASTIC. It's a great source of information, self-education and entertainment. The library also synchs across my phones so I can access it whichever one I'm using at that time. At the very least one gets a free audiobook monthly.
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