The holidays at the end of the year usually allow us to take some time off and relax. We finally have time to catch up on all the shows we've been waiting to watch, but if you still need some inspiration, we've put together a shortlist of documentaries we've watched and recommend, or we have on our watch list as well. Let us know if you have any other recommendations!
How to Change Your Mind
This Netflix mini series showcases how psychedelics can help expand our consciousness and treat mental health disorders, if administered in the right way. The author Michael Pollan reveals insights he has gathered from studies and real life examples to outline the benefits of different substances, and take away the stigma society has created around drugs.
Still one of my all-time favorite documentaries, 14 Peaks is a must watch! It accompanies Nirmal Purja on his incredible feat of climbing all 14 eight thousander mountains in just 7 months. Some of the scenes will make you hold your breath, and the documentary will leave you in awe of the willpower and perseverance of its main character. If you are inspired by the lengths the human body and mind can go to, put this on your Netflix watch list!
Another Netflix documentary on pushing physical boundaries, but in the form of a series. Cheer accompanies a group of young adults as they train their way to the Daytona cheerleading competition and shows the sacrifices they have to make on the way - including health, relationships and career. The energy and perseverance they bring to the mat is inspiring to watch.
Love on the Spectrum
This heartwarming Netflix reality dating show accompanies people on the autism spectrum as they embark on their journeys to find a romantic partner. It is narrated beautifully and raw, showing all the emotions the candidates go through. The series will make you laugh and cry, and hope that all of them will find love in the end.
Pretend it's a City
I wish there were more than 7 episodes of this hilarious Netflix show on Fran Lebowitz's perception of her home town: NYC. With cynicism, wit and humor, she recounts the best and worst parts of the metropolis, in conversations with director Martin Scorsese. It's an entertaining and easy to watch evening-filler that will make you chuckle more than once.
My Octopus Teacher
We haven't watched this one ourselves and I'm really not a fan of marine animals, but I've heard riveting reviews from several people, who said this Netflix documentary is equally touching and fascinating. It shows the yearlong development of a friendship between a human diver and a wild octopus at the tip of South Africa. It's definitely on my list of movies to watch during the holidays.
I can't tell you how relaxing it is to watch a wholesome animal documentary. This Disney+ documentary is about a baby chimpanzee called Oscar, who is accompanied through the first year of his life in the jungle. The narrator leads us through wonder and tragedy, and I found it very soothing to watch.