Audiobooks in the time of Social Distancing

New to social distancing? Anxious about the future? These 5 audiobooks on Storytel deliver comfort, inspiration and hope in the face of adversity

With several businesses sounding the ‘work from home’ bell, and government advisories asking people to stay indoors to limit the spread of COVID -19, the paucity of time to indulge in hobbies is now being replaced by its sudden abundance.

Infact, the unprecedented measures and efforts to keep the spread at bay has introduced ‘social distancing’ as a part of our lexicon. Be it social media, news channels, email blasts or conversations, talk around social distancing is everywhere.

And while it is easy to succumb to fear in the face of uncertainty, unpredictability and the barrage of news about the pandemic, there is still room for optimism, hope and mindfulness (in between washing and sanitising your hands and following other WHO-mandated guidelines, mind you!)

Psychologists and wellness experts recommend getting as much physical exercise as possible, like taking quiet walks or doing online workouts. Meditation and mindfulness activities offered by apps are also a great way to lower stress and not let any grim news get to you. However, one of the oft-suggested ideas is that of listening to music or meaningful recreation like listening to audiobooks —especially the kind that focuses on inner well-being and reflection.

At a time when solitude is the best company to keep and tuning out from the distressing news cycles a necessity, tuning into Storytel, an audiobook streaming app, is perhaps the best way to maintain one’s composure and well-being.

While the streaming platform has a vast library of titles across languages and genres, here are five audiobooks you can listen to in the comfort and safety of your home to de-stress and reflect.

1.Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

This soul-stirring book is an invitation to embark on a journey to meet God outside of the demands and noise of daily life, and the spiritual transformation of the deepest places of our inner lives. The winner of the Christianity Today 2005 Book Award, this audiobook, narrated by Barton herself, describes how she discovered the real presence of God through the practice of solitude and silence. Tune in to this one as you say a silent prayer for these uncertain times to fade away.

2.The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey

King Midas of talk shows, episodes from Oprah Winfrey’s three-time Emmy Award-winning ‘Super Soul Sunday’ are collected in ‘The Wisdom of Sundays’, a soul-stirring and audiobook. It features interviews of thought leaders such as Michael Bernard Beckwith, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Caroline Myss, Daniel Pink, Michael Singer and Bryan Stevenson, among others, as they discuss the healing powers of love and connection; the beauty of forgiveness, spirituality, mindfulness and more. And that’s not all. Each ‘chapter’ begins with an essay written and narrated by Oprah herself.

3.Gateway to Now by Eckhart Tolle

Soothing music and Eckhart’s insightful teachings on simply ‘being’ is the best way to describe this audiobook. He teaches listeners how to let go of the past and future to live in the now. Eckhart says the path of achieving this is by going through three gateways - the Gateway of the Inner Body, the Gateway of Silence, and the Gateway of Accepting This Moment. This two-hour long audiobook is a great way to let go of the worries and fully embrace the present. Curl up on your sofa and give it a listen.

4.The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

Some people consider the Danes as the happiest people in the world and hygge is a cornerstone of that way of life. Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) loosely translates as a sense of comfort, togetherness and well-being and the pursuit of everyday happiness. Meik’s words wash over you like a warm hug on cold days - and this one is a three-hour long hug! On days you are feeling particularly angsty, tune into this audiobook and learn how to give yourself a break, live in the ‘now’,and love and build trust. If you’ve ever wondered about the Danish way of contentment and life, there’s no better start than this.

5.Lagom by Niki Brantmark

“Not too much and not too little — just right” - this is Lagom, a Swedeish principle of life. In this amazing audiobook, Niki introduces listeners to a life that is all about balance, moderation and equality. Divided into three sections, Niki says that making Lagom a part of your personal life includes ideas for decluttering your home, conscious buying and embracing ‘slow design’. Social distancing today has forced us to slow down and enjoy a life with lesser pressure or more time for the things we love, and this book is an extension of that feeling. Tune in today!

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