Most of us emerge from the holidays with a bad hangover and a strained voice. Here are some tips to improve the chances of your voice making it out alive this holiday season…and maybe the rest of your body, too.
- Avoid shouting at parties. When our environment gets too loud, we tend to raise our speaking volume to the point of shouting just to talk to the person next to us. We often don’t even realize we’re doing it until we start to feel the strain. Speak softly at the front of your mouth, and articulate your words instead of pushing your voice. If your holiday party is too loud to talk, ask the host to turn down the music, or invite your conversation partner into a quieter space. If none of these feels appropriate, you should probably be on the dance floor anyway.
- Get plenty of rest and fluids. Sleep in and drink tea! If you do sustain some vocal damage, nothing will fix it like a good night’s sleep. Enjoy your break!
- Keep drinking to a minimum. Alcohol and caffeine are both associated with drying out the vocal folds, which can lead to strain and injury. I should also mention that dairy increases phlegm production, causing you to clear your throat more, which is basically as bad for your voice as coughing. Of course we’re all going to have fun, but a rye & ginger is probably a little easier on your throat than a rum & egg nog. I love hot toddies, myself.
- Warm up! It may seems strange, but if you’re going to be doing a lot of talking for the evening, prepare with a little vocal warm-up. You can even do it in the car on your way to the party.
- Breathe. It’s amazing how often we forget to breathe when we talk. When we are running out of breath to finish our sentences, our voices become strained. The voice needs that breath support to keep going, otherwise it has to push in an unhealthy way. Take a deep breath in the middle of a sentence. Make them wait. You’ll feel like Barack Obama.
Of course if you’re sick, you’ll need to recover. But hopefully this helps you get through the next few weeks!