As I cranked up the heater for the first time this year, it served as a warm reminder to ensure all was in place for my voice to survive sub-zero temps.
Roll up your sleeve
As they say, prevention is better than cure. While the annual flu shot does not guarantee a lurgy-free winter, I found I suffer less sniffles and sore throats and if I am struck down, recovery seems to be a bit speeder. Add the first year of childcare to the mix and I’m not taking any chances with a toxic toddler around!
Become a germ-a-phobe
Already there (see previous note re: toxic toddler—how much snot do those things produce?!) I have been known to purchase disinfecting wipes in bulk and request the use of hand sanitiser by those around me. I have received some strange looks when wiping down shared work surfaces, but it really is the best way to keep others’ germs at bay—especially those martyrs who feel the need to come to work whilst barking up a lung. Disinfect phones, keyboards, the mouse, desks, pop filters (side note: never sniff one)—any shared surface that could possibly have been sneezed at! Do the same at home, especially if a family member has the sniffles.
The good old h20 isn’t just for the summer time. The air tends to be naturally drier in the cooler months plus the drying effects of the heater make it especially important to get those eight glasses in and keep the vocal chords lubricated. Like most people, I struggle with meeting the quota so I usually add a few mugs of hot water to the mix. It keeps me warm on those cooler days and also helps with digestion *bonus alert* beating off stomach groans and gurgles during the mid-afternoon voicing session.
Don’t tolerate lactose
While I try to avoid dairy in the hours before voicing anyway, it is even more crucial if you are feeling congested as dairy thickens the saliva. Hello extra mouth noise!
An apple a day…
Goodbye mouth noise. I swear by green apples for minimising the smacks and clicks, which tend to be more apparent once the temperature drops or congestion sets in. Have a few pieces of apple before jumping in front of the mic. Bottled apple juice can also do the trick and is a little easier to take into the studio.
[insert your fav] herbal tea. Most of us have our go-tos from commercial mixes such as ‘throat coat’ and ‘golden voice herb tea’ through to the peppermints and chamomiles. Then there are the home remedies such as hot water with honey and dash of chilli. I am a big fan of ginger tea—the authentic stuff that comes in granules from the Asian grocery stores. It is great for a sore throat and clearing the head.
No shame in a sickie
Finally, know when to take a break. If the dreaded lurgy does set in and is impacting your voice, rest up—your body and clients will thank you. Voice actor Marc Scott has a great article on voice over and the common cold.