Vocal Enemy #1
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
There are many different factors that can contribute to your vocal health, or lack thereof. But among all the little things you can do, none of it will matter if one simple thing isn’t in place. This one thing will make or break you as someone who uses their voice in any great capacity. It is by far the most important thing I can stress to you, which is why it’s the first area of vocal health I want to tackle. The number one hero or enemy to your vocal health is this:
Your overall health.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times being sick has almost ruined me vocally. I have randomly lost my voice before major one-time performances since I was 15 years old. Growing up, I had issues with colds and sinus infections that would plague me for weeks at a time multiple times a year. Most of the time I was an idiot and tried to sing through it (any wonder why I developed nodes…), but sometimes it was so bad that I couldn’t, my range completely lost.
Being sick does multiple things to damage your vocal cords:
Coughing, sneezing, and clearing your throat effectively slaps your cords together, causing unnecessary damage.
Nasal drip coats your cords, making it harder for them to vibrate together.
A stuffy nose makes it harder to get the proper breath support.
A sore or itchy throat often causes improper vocal use.
When it’s tough to use your voice, you’re more likely to fight through to use it, which will probably result in overuse and potential long term damage if overused enough.
So what’s the best way to fight against sickness?
In my opinion: have a ridiculously strong immune system and stop getting sick!
Getting my immune system and general health in a strong place has been one of the most life-changing decisions I’ve made. It hasn’t just helped my vocal health, but it’s helped in every area of my life. I don’t have to worry about planning for or taking sick days. I don’t have to worry about getting other people sick. I don’t have to worry about when I’m going to perform or speak or go on vacation. Getting sick can ruin any great life experience, let alone a singing or speaking engagement. A courtroom lawyer or teacher loses a lot of effectiveness when they’re coughing and sneezing constantly. In the past 7 years I’ve been sick for no more than 5 days, and it’s only been 1 day at a time. My quality of life has improved dramatically, and my voice thanks me for it.
Here’s what I did:
(1) Supplement supplement supplement!!
I started taking high quality vitamins that actually work. There is no possible way to get all the nutrients you need out of your diet alone, so I found supplements that filled in the gaps that I needed and then some. And then I added a little extra for my ridiculous immune system. The result? Not getting sick! Here are some of the products I started taking:
Double X - I swear by this product. It is a multivitamin/multimineral/phytonutrient from Nutrilite that has everything I need to keep my body in a fully functional state.
Vitamin C Extended Release - Immune system support by helping to eliminate free radicals, releases over 8 hours so your body can absorb it more effectively
Immunity Echinacea - Herb that helps support the body’s natural resistance. If I feel like I’m about to get sick I add this in with my Vitamin C. There’s actually an Immunity Pack that has both of them as well.
Go Shield Gummies - a mix of Elderberry, Zinc, and Vitamin C, all ingredients that have been known for years to support the immune system. Completely clean (gluten free, dairy free, vegan, etc) and delicious! This is a newer product that I’ve recently added to my regiment and it’s given me more security especially during the pandemic. A doctor friend of mine said that these are the ingredients she’s prescribed to her covid patients.
I’ve chosen the Nutrilite brand for my supplements because I trust their ingredients. They source everything from their own organic farms, so they control the process, maximize the nutritional content, and don’t use anything synthetic. They also prioritize bioavailability, which means the ingredients actually absorb in your body instead of sitting in your stomach. I now partner with the brand, so if you want to try any of the products listed above, let me know!
(2) Don’t be stupid!!
If we’ve learned nothing else from the current pandemic situation, it should be how to to properly prevent the spread of disease. Now, I don’t think you need to quarantine yourself at home to avoid the common cold, but don’t be stupid!
Wash your hands regularly (20 seconds, remember?)
If someone visibly has cold or flu symptoms, don’t go near them...I mean that’s common sense but that doesn’t stop people sometimes. If you want to protect your voice, don’t put yourself in a position to ruin it.
When it's cold out, bundle up! It's better to be bulky than exposed to the elements. I know people who get sick just because they're too stubborn to put on a hat or a coat when it gets cold.
Disclaimer: these activities and supplements are not guaranteed to prevent or cure any disease. But what I’ve found is that they reduce risk. And even if I get something, I tend to both experience the symptoms much less severely and bounce back much more quickly.
And a final piece of advice: Start now! By the time cold and flu season hits, you'll want the strong immune system already in place.