The winter months always prove difficult for voice-users, especially if you're starring in a production or Pantomime where your voice is being pushed to it's limits on a daily basis. But, of course, this is why we train so that our voice can be ready for these busy periods.
Here are my 3 top tips for keeping the voice healthy and in tip-top condition to help you get through this cold season:
The best way to keep your voice in good shape is getting plenty of rest.
7-9 hours is the recommended amount of sleep required for an adult, with teens and younger children requiring more. Sleep helps our body to recover from the days antics, it also rests the mind and relaxes the larynx. Have you ever woken up after a terrible night's sleep with a croaky, or even no, voice? This is why getting quality sleep is so important. Performers are well-known for taking naps between shows, (even Sir Winston Churchill took regular naps), to ensure the mind, body and voice is ready to go for the next performance. So get clocking those Zzz's!
Any form of liquid, other than alcohol, counts towards systemic hydration including Tea, Coffee and Juice so don't worry if you're not a fan of plain still water, all these liquids help. So no excuses now! Maintaining hydration in the body is so important for voice-users as we need our vocal folds to be lubricated to maintain elasticity. If you feel thirst, your body is already dehydrated so make sure you keep drinking fluids throughout the day.
*I'm actually looking in to getting some "Singing With Jess" water bottles so let me know if you would be interested in having one of your own...
Steaming is one of the best things you can do to really hydrate those cords. This is a form of direct hydration where inhaled steam directly touches your vocal folds (cords) and instantly hydrates them. A perfect solution when suffering with a hoarse voice or sore throat.
3 great ways to steam...
get yourself a personal steamer - just add boiling water, leave it for 5/10 mins and then inhale slowly. This is very handy when you're on the go and need a quick steam before a performance. *Always wait 10/15 mins after steaming before any singing. I highly recommend Dr. Nelson's Steam Inhaler https://www.thelabwarehouse.com/collections/nelson-inhalers
try an old-school technique with your head over a bowl of boiling water and cover your head with a towel, slowly inhaling the steam. This is something you can do at home and really helps. *Always be mindful when handling hot boiling water, especially with children.
treat yourself to a Spa day and visit the Steam room. This is an extra special treat for your whole self and really helps the vocal folds hydrate.
All 3 of these tips are helpful throughout the year but really come in to their own during the colder months. Of course, always make sure your voice is warmed up ready for singing and never push it if it feels uncomfortable. Listen to your voice and your body, it always knows best!
If you're experiencing Vocal Health issues that require further assistance, let's have a chat and see how I can help.
Happy singing everyone!