Oh great, I’m sick!
Hello Easy Speakers,
So this week I’ve been overcome by the dreaded seasonal cold. Those of you out in snowy places are permitted to snicker at our LA “seasons” but it the temps out here do shift and that shifting has an effect on your bod. If you’re like me, you get a bit frustrated with the whole runny nose hazy existence BS, and that frustration can turn into white hot fear if you have to perform, present or say… record a podcast episode.
This week the Ep will be short so you don’t have too much sniffling in your ears, but I thought we should cover what do about your voice if you’re sick.
Steam — If you’ve ever seen the movie Terms of Endearment you may remember the most unromantic shower scene in movie history. No naked bodies here, folks! Debra Winger and Jeff Daniels in the heat-clouded bathroom next to the running hot shower. They’re there because their baby has a bad cough and Debra is trying to use the steam to break through the mucus so the tyke can breathe clearly again. You can do this too by either with a hot shower, a steam room or creating a face steam by boiling water and once it’s giving off steam, shut it off and have a towel over your head and hang your little face over the steam (make sure it’s not TOO hot)! If you have essential oils like eucalyptus or lemon (or some real lemon juice) you can put a bit of that in the water. Steaming should be done until you feel the mucus breaking up, but no longer than 10 mins and again – make sure if you’re in close contact with the steam that it’s not too hot!
Let’s talk about tea with lemon and honey… and ginger! — Here’s the deal: caffeinated tea and lemon are acidic, so having a big thermos full is a bad idea because it can dry you out. Instead choose decaf herbal teas with a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of honey (try to use raw as it has more benefits). Add some grated ginger into your tea or get ginger tea – I think Yogi Teas makes a good one – as ginger helps to reduce inflammation and clear congestion.
Cough drop story — The like do you with cough drops — those Halls can be OK in a real pinch but they are drying too because of all of the menthol going into your system. Instead try Ricola or another natural brand without too much menthol in it.
Humming — we can borrow from singers when we lightly hum before we have to do our public speaking so the vocal folds can vibrate and some of the phlegm that may have taken up residence there can be released. A soft hum is best and don’t do it consistently for an hour or something because then you may just tire out what voice you do have.
Placing your tone higher — Now I don’t mean PITCH like Minnie-mouse style — NO. I mean as you do a simple (not to long) warm up or humming, think of placing the tone in your forehead or even higher. This may result in a shift in pitch but only a bit. The idea is to bypass the nose if it’s blocked and breathe through your mouth while using your support to fuel the roundness and fullness of the tone.
Stay hydrated – skip the dairy and alcohol — Listen, don’t drink a ton of soda, certainly not dairy (or Hot Toddies) when you’re ailing – go for good ol’ water, and enough of it so your pee is clear. I mean, I wish you would do this anyway but certainly when you’re sick. If you’re under the weather and your body and head aches, sometimes it’s the dehydration of a fever that can contribute to that achy feeling because you need water to help your systems move fluidly. Drink in that H2O!
Eat Light, Eat Healthy — It’s sometimes tempting to go for the comfort foods like cookies, but really what you need to eat are foods that will strengthen the immune system and adi faster recovery. Sugar don’t do that! Do the usual chicken soup, fruits and veggies (unless you’re having the runs, then you’ll need foods that bind a bit like saltine crackers).
GO TO BED! Oh I know “Busy is the new Black” but seriously – the best strategy can be sleep. During sleep your body can begin to repair itself and refuel your immune system. If you continuously run yourself ragged and then wonder why you get sick a lot…hmmm!