The Christmas season is upon us, and with it comes all the usual things we think about this time of year. Lots more visiting, lots more shopping, running around- and for us, a lot more singing. So this time, maybe a little more-so than other times of the year, we really need to be a bit more aware of how we’re treating our voices. Here are some simple things to be mindful of this time of year.
1. Stay Healthy!
You can’t sing at your best if you’re sick, so job one for the busy singer is do as much as possible to stay healthy. Believe it or not the number one way to avoid getting sick is frequent hand-washing. Most of the “stuff” we end up with happens because we touched something with someone’s germs on it – a hand-rail, a door-knob, a phone- and then touched our face for some reason. Washing your hands often and/or keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer with you can go a long way towards keeping you crud-free.
In addition to that though, it’s just a good idea to do the normal things many of us overlook or just plain avoid. Like getting the Flu shot every year, bundling up well, staying dry and making sure we get important vitamins our immune system needs to work at it’s best.
2. Drink water!
It’s very important for everyone to drink water on a regular basis, but it’s even more important for a singer for a lot of obvious reasons. But here’s probably the most important reason this time of year. Usually most of us will get some kind of head cold despite our best efforts. When all that phlegm starts draining, it can sit in your throat and on your vocal cords, hindering your ability to sing at your best. Drinking water on a regular basis keeps phlegm thinner so it drains off your cords easier and there’s less build-up.
3. Watch what, when and how much you eat!
This time of year there is always an abundance of food. And many of those foods can cause swelling or inflamation, even irritation of the vocal cords. Dairy products, for example, actually creates a lot of phlegm in the body and, for many singers, should be avoided altogether for at least a day before a singing engagement. Other common holiday foods like sugar and pretty-much all white processed foods can cause problems for singers. The key is to eat everything in moderation.
NEVER eat a really big meal within two hours of a singing engagement. In addition to the extra bloating and weight it places on your stomach and diaphragm (which makes it harder for you to breathe properly for singing) eating a big meal before singing will make you tired, less alert and just more lethargic overall. That’s because after a big meal most of your body’s energy is being diverted to the task of digesting the food.
4. Warm up!
We know how important warming up is for singers (even though most of us still don’t do it), but when the weather turns cold it becomes even more important. Just like all the other muscles in your body, your vocal cords don’t work as good when they’re cold. Take some extra time before a holiday engagement and get your voice good and warmed up before singing. You’ll be glad you did.
The key to vocal health during the holidays really isn’t much different than the rest of the year when you think about it. It”s not about living a life of deprivation by any stretch. It’s really more about simply doing things a little smarter, with a little more thought and with a little more moderation around those times when you have singing engagements planned. Of course, the most important thing you can do to keep your voice healthy all year round is to training it by taking vocal lessons! Get started with my free 5 day course below.
Image courtesy of magerymajestic FreeDigitalPhotos.net