I walked out of rehearsal the other night on September 18, 2012, and the first thing out of my mouth was "Holy crap it's cold." And there I was in a tank top and jeans. No jacket or sweater or scarf. But now...the sweater and scarf will follow me everywhere.
This time of year is a b*$&% for singers. The changing of the seasons wreaks havoc on our allergies and, in turn, wreaks havoc on our singing voices. For most allergy sufferers a tried and true remedy is a cute little pill. For singers with allergies it is not so simple. All allergy medications cause excessive drying and, while alleviating the symptoms related to having allergies, drying out is something singers cannot afford. So, what now?
Here are some great tips for singers or anyone who does a lot of talking.
- HYDRATE!!!! Drink more water. Water will help loosen phlegm and mucus associated with allergies.
- Vitamin C. I actually increase my Vit C intake. This is an old trick my vocal instructor in college had me do. I increase mine from 500 to 1000 when I feel a cold coming on or allergies messing with my sinuses. One in the morning and one at night. Because I have an extremely weak stomach I always take mine with food.
- TEA...naturally decaf. Teas rich in antioxidants and high in aromatics are great for singers. Many people hate the taste of THROAT COAT tea but, personally, I love it. The ginger, eucalyptus, cinnamon, licorice, and other natural flavors are extremely beneficial. I heat it, let it steep, add local raw honey, and 1 ice cube (I'm a wimp!). When I feel my allergies coming on I have about 3 cups of this a day.
- NETI-POT. Please, if you are worrying about a brain eating bacteria, use filtered water and warm it up in your microwave. But the reality is you are fine! I have been NETI-ing for years! Twice a day!!! If I do get stuffed up I'll add a middle of the day NETI. Being stuffed up hinders the way a singer resonates their sound. So, prevent it by using a NETI-POT. I know it's not the most pleasant feeling when you first start the process, but it will alleviate so much of the pressure a stuffed up nose can cause - headaches, eye pain, post nasal drip, discomfort.
- MULTIVITAMIN. First of all, you should be taking one of these anyway. But it's so important to support your immune system when it's compromised. And even though it's "just allergies", a stuffed up nose can easily turn into a sinus infection and so on and so forth.
- Finally, one way to protect your voice from the elements is wearing a SCARF! Wrap that bad boy/girl up! At the first signs of cold air...WRAP IT UP! I have scarves coming out of my ears. You should have several on hand not only because they are divalicious but you need to wash them regularly. Wearing the same scarf every day for weeks defeats the purpose. Yes, your throat will stay warm but you'll have germs everywhere. GROSS! Toss it in the wash. I get my pashminas in NYC for like $5 each and then I rotate them.
Now I could go on and on and on...but this is good start. It's simple and everyone can do it!
So, if you are a singer, speaker, or someone who does a lot of talking, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!