When most of us are feeling isolated, podcasts are an easy way to feel connected to people, and enjoy some good company when we can't have friends around like usual. With more than 800,000 active podcasts available for download, the challenge isn't figuring out what you can listen to; it's deciding which ones are worth it! That's why we've put together a few of our staff's podcast picks, to help keep you company when things get lonely.

Your daily dose of news from 7am

Coming from the team behind The Saturday Paper and The Monthly, 7am has impeccable journalistic credentials. Dropping a new episode each weekday, 7am gives you a quick hit of news and current affairs that keeps you informed about the pressing issues of the day. Be ready with the pithiest insights for your upcoming Zoom dinner party courtesy of Australian media's smartest commentators.

Make a meal with Home Cooking

Our Instagram feeds are all bustling with people who've suddenly gotten into making sourdough, and it's a wholesome delight. If you're not a natural in the kitchen, but want to make some delicious food while we're all staying home, check out Home Cooking with Salt Fat Acid Heat's Samin Nosrat and Hrishi Hirway (host of evergreen podcast picks Song Exploder and West Wing Weekly). The first episode is full of inventive and exciting uses for beans, plus Josh Malina's recipe for latkes that you can make at home.

Sneak into a museum with Sidedoor

Sidedoor podcast art, featuring a simple drawing of a set of steps leading up to an open door

The Smithsonian is among the world's most iconic museums, with a collection of more than 154 million treasures in its vaults. There's no way they can have it all on show, so it takes an experienced tour guide to navigate the bits of the Smithsonian that few will ever see, and that's where Sidedoor steps in. With the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers, and astrophysicists, host Lizzie Peabody sneaks listeners through Smithsonian’s side door to search for stories that can’t be found anywhere else.

Language and history with Science Diction

Science Diction podcast art, featuring a typewriter on a burgundy gradient background

Hosted by self-proclaimed word nerd Johanna Mayer, each episode of Science Diction digs into the origin of a single word or phrase, and, with the help of historians, authors, etymologists, and scientists, reveals a surprising science connection. How did cows help us develop the first vaccine, and what the does the word meme have to do with evolutionary biology? Science Diction unpacks the hidden history of the words we hear every day in bite-size episodes, making it a perfect companion for your coffee break.

Get lost with The Left Right Game

Podcast art for The Left Right Game, featuring an illustration of a young woman from the shoulders up, with her loose black hair falling behind her as she looks to the left. Behind her us a road upon which there is a truck, and an eerily white deer.

A seemingly-innocuous game plays a key part in the disappearance of young journalist, who's story unfolds through her recorded interviews and voice memos. Starring Tessa Thompson as Alice, the mystery hints at a supernatural world beyond what her fellow players had imagined. Captivating and beautifully-produced, The Left Right Game will sweep you up in a strange world as Alice's friend unravels the truth about the world she was investigating.

Con the upper-crust with Fake Heiress

Fake Heiress art, featuring the title in large, dark red letters and a silhouette of a woman lowering her sunglasses, in front of a cityscape

Anna Delvey was a multi-millionaire heiress in New York, just waiting to come into her inheritance. She established a visual-arts centre, and lived the kind of champagne-and-caviar lifestyle that only the 1% of the 1% will ever know.

Except that Anna Delvey never existed. One-time magazine intern Anna Sorokin turned herself into a socialite living in luxury, deceiving friends and businesses to fund her designer living in a years-long con. Mixing drama with documentary, the gripping BBC Radio 4 production Fake Heiress will have you binging the whole thing in no time.

There's something like 800,000 shows out there, so we've probably left out a heap of other great things to listen to. Share your podcast picks in the comments!