13 self-care podcasts that promise to change your life

Offering escapism, advice, and so much more.

Woman listening to the best self care podcasts in her headphones
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether it's a busy day at work or a rushed school run, sometimes, life can feel a little much. Fear not, though - there's always the best self care podcasts to fall back on for a bit of escapism.

Whether it's positive affirmations, tips for mindful movement or science-backed habit stacking tips, the world is your oyster. But with over five million podcast titles on Spotify alone, it can be difficult - not to mention overwhelming - to know where to even start.

So, why is listening to a podcast one of the best self care ideas, we hear you ask? In short, because popping your headphones on and listening to a podcast is sometimes one of the easiest ways to tune the world out. "Podcasts offer listeners an opportunity to learn and gain new perspectives from some of the world’s most inspiring speakers, therapists and coaches," shares Rose Claverie, journalist and host of the Harvest Series Podcast

You could also hear stories that might resonate with your own experiences, totally for free. "Podcasts can be a valuable tool for personal development," she continues. "This can include relationship advice, understanding how the body and the mind work, learning self-care strategies or perhaps getting an insight into forms of therapy that you then might want to go and explore further."

Self care podcasts won't be for everyone - it's crucial to remember that, in a world where we're constantly encouraged to be bettering ourselves, you are enough as you are. 

That said,  if you already have some of the best self care apps downloaded on your phone, then you'll know that self care can be a positive tool for boosting mood, easing stress, and cultivating a positive mindset. Some will simply help you unwind, while others will help you to discover a new passion.

Skip scrolling the millions to choose from and instead, read our round up of some of the best self care podcasts currently available to stream.

Keen to up your self care this week? Make sure to check out the best self help books (aka, the ones that are actually worth reading) and the MC UK Editor's picks of the best self care products, too. 

Best self care podcasts: 13 for self improvement, anxiety and sleep 

Podcasts to listen to for self improvement

1. On Purpose, by Jay Shetty

What is it? If Think Like A Monk changed your life, then you'll love Jay Shetty's On Purpose podcast. With a tagline promising to "make wisdom go viral," there are over 400 episodes already, with everything from ways to reframe negative thoughts, to tips for overcoming fear and anxiety, to conversations with celebrities. There are new episodes every Monday and Friday so you'll always have something to listen to on your way to work. 

Tune in for: The episode with Drew Barrymore speaking on how to know when to let go of an unproductive relationship is one of my favourites. 

Cost: Free. Available on Apple, Spotify and more. 

2. Unlocking Us with Brené Brown

What is it? If you haven't listened to Brené Brown's TED talk on the power of vulnerability, where have you been? The 2010 TED talk has over 61 million views on YouTube and her podcast, Unlocking Us, is equally as excellent.

Tune in for: Unlocking Us sees the research professor at the University of Houston, have conversations with a whole host of guests, including Viola Davis. The episodes cover what it means to be human, unlearning certainty, calling deep on your courage, and speaking the truth in difficult situations. There's really something for everyone. 

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on  Spotify.

Best self help podcast for anxiety

3. The Anxiety Dr. by Dr. Lisa Cortez

What is it? On the hunt for a self-care podcast because you're feeling anxious? You're not alone, with over eight million people in the UK currently experiencing an anxiety disorder according to Mental Health UK.

While anxiety symptoms will almost always be benefitted the most from the help of a medical professional,  when you've got that nervous, fluttery anxiety in the pit of your stomach and your other go-to methods aren't working, podcasts can be a useful tool - especially when they're hosted by a qualified professional like Dr. Lisa Cortez.

Tune in for: The psychotherapist shares new tips and tools to help deal with anxiety every week, including useful tools for how to stop a panic attack plus tricks for empowering an anxious mind. 

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple and Spotify.

Self care podcast for joy

4. Happy Place, by Fearne Cotton

What is it? Fearne Cotton has been hosting her Happy Place podcast since 2018. Joined by an all-star line up of some of the greatest self care experts, Cotton explores everything from anxiety, to self love, to meditation

Tune in for: There's something about Cotton's voice that is instantly soothing, plus it's fascinating to learn what happiness means to each of her guests. Listen to the likes of clinical psychologist Dr. Julie Smith chat about how to acknowledge your own fears rather than fighting them, novelist Elizabeth Day discuss how to cope with failure, and life coach Jay Shetty share how to truly find love with both yourself and others. 

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple, Spotify and Google podcasts. 

Best self care podcast for dealing with change

5. Changes with Annie Macmanus

What is it? Join former Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac as she speaks with musicians, artists and writers about change. Each week a new guest reveals the biggest changes they've personally overcome plus what they learnt from the process and how it's impacted their life.

Tune in for: It's a powerful listen as each guest explores how change can define both who we are and how we react. Guests featured so far include Fearne Cotton, Self Esteem, Sam Smith, and Shon Faye. 

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple and Spotify. 

6. Identity Issues, by Naomi J Ogawa

What is it? Wednesday star Naomi J. Ogawa created The Identify Issues podcast promises to help you develop a growth mindset and provides useful tools for loving yourself (even on the days you don't feel like it). 

Tune in for: With episodes on daring to dream big and how to grow from pain, this podcast is one my favourite ways to boost my mood when I need a mid-week pick me up. 

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple and Spotify. 

Best self care podcasts for motivation

7. The Diary Of A CEO with Steven Bartlett

What is it? Even if you're not a big podcast fan, you'll likely have seen (or heard) about Steven Bartlett's podcast, The Diary of a CEO. With some of the biggest names and CEO's joining the line up, a new gem drops every week.

Each week, Bartlett speaks to a different celebrity or expert about their unfiltered journey and important life lessons. 

Tune in for: It's supposed to imitate a spoken diary, so get ready for some raw emotion. Steven has spoken to over 200 people already including Love Island star Molly Mae, Justin Bieber's therapist, and even London Mayor Sadiq Khan. 

Cost: Available to listen to on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts and YouTube

8. We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle

What is it? A fan of author Glennon Doyle's Untamed? It's on our round up of the best self help books for good reason, which is why her podcast makes the cut for our ones to stream.

Tune in for: Each week Doyle, her wife and her sister talk honestly about the hard things in life, the premise being to help each other deal with the harder parts of life. With over 200 episodes already released, you'll finish the podcast feeling less alone and that little bit braver. 

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Best self-help podcasts for women

9. Exactly, by Florence Given

What is it? Feminists, this one's for you. Illustrator and author Florence Given has amassed a dedicated following who are all encouraged to embody her mantra and "live deliciously." In her podcast, Floss takes a deep dive into sex, social media, feminism, relationships and body image. 

Tune in for: The podcast empowers, educates and feeds your curiosity. In previous episodes, Floss has spoken to relationship coach Oloni about orgasms, actress Emily Atack about sexual harassment, and Rizzle Kicks singer Jordan Stephens about masculinity. 

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple Podcastsand Spotify. 

10. Bun In The Oven by Hollie Grant

What is it? This one is for the mothers, if whether you're a new Mum, soon-to-be Mum, or woman exploring the idea of having a child. Grant launched this podcast with the aim of having conversations no one else was having around both pregnancy and parenthood. 

Tune in for: The episodes cover everything from endometriosis symptoms, to pregnancy in a same-sex relationship, to fertility issues, and more. By dispelling myths and normalising experiences, Grant provides an hour of self care all potential, new or soon-to-be Mums deserves.

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple or Spotify

11. Dominant Stories with Jess Weiner

What is it? Dove have been working hard over the last year to help women of all ages to reclaim their self-esteem, even launching a #TurnYourBack campaign to encourage us to stop using the problematic TikTok Bold Glamour filter. If you're keen to listen to a thought-provoking podcast and love to support breaking beauty standards, then this podcast is for you. 

Tune in for? Hosted by cultural expert Jess Weiner, the podcast explores different perspectives on beauty and confidence. Discussing the impact of social media on body image and inviting listeners on a journey of self reflection, you're also prompted to rewrite the dominant stories we've come to tell ourselves (and believe) about beauty, our bodies and identity. 

Unpacking topics like appearance-based anxiety, Weiner provides a safe, open space to discuss issues that impact women, girls and non-binary individuals. Each episode ends with an empowering action to build body confidence and self esteem. 

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple and Spotify.

The best self care podcasts for meditation and relaxation

12. Unwind with Poppy Jamie

What is it? Unwind with Poppy Jamie is a podcast for when you want to destress, relax and drift off to sleep. 

Tune in for: Interviewing mental health professionals, entrepreneurs, authors and change-makers all about their favourite books, life lessons and advice, Jamie's podcast offers a soothing, easy to listen option.

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple and Spotify.

13. Radio Headspace by Headspace

What is it? With a brand new episode every weekday morning, Radio Headspace promises to offer four to five minutes of calm, meditation, and mindfulness before your day kicks off.

Tune in for: The purpose is to take a few moments out of every day to halt the internal chatter and shut out external noise. And... breathe.

Cost: Free. Available to listen to on Apple or Spotify. 

What is a self improvement podcast?

In short, a self improvement podcast is any podcast that aims to offer advice on how to improve your life.

Whether that's coping mechanisms, reframing negative thoughts, or instilling healthier habits, there are quite literally thousands on offer that promise to boost your day-to-day.

Team Marie Claire UK's favourites include Radio Headspace - great for meditation, mindfulness, and setting you up for the day ahead - and Fearne Cottonn's Happy Place, a weekly interview with a celebrity, expert or person of interest discussing their own mental health story and self improvement methods. 

Dionne Brighton

Dionne Brighton is a writer at Marie Claire UK, specialising in all things shopping, beauty and fashion. Born and raised in North London, she studied Literature at the University of East Anglia before taking the leap into journalism. These days, you can find her testing out the latest TikTok beauty trends or finding out what the next full Moon means.