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Dealing with the winter sniffles. A Voiceover’s Nightmare

Dealing with the Winter sniffles

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year when everyone swears they’re going to get fit and healthy, and the gyms and fitness classes are packed full of people trying to work off all the cheese and chocolate they ate over the holidays. (I’ve still got a fridge full of cheese so no point trying to work it off yet 😉 ).

It’s also the high season for bugs and illness. We’ve all been cooped up in warm houses with our relatives for days on end, and there’s no wonder the bugs get passed around. I came back from Christmas with a sore throat, my kids were sneezing, my husband was sniffling – the dog was the only healthy one (actually judging by the smells he’s been producing, I’m not even sure about that…).

As a voiceover artist this is the time of year I dread. A sore throat I can just about cope with if I have a short script to record – but a blocked nose is no good at all. Sometimes it’s possible to keep working if a client sends me a one off project and they don’t mind a slightly deeper, husky sound – but if I’m part way through a long project then work grinds to a halt.

At the first sign of a cold (or anyone else in the family having a cold) I start taking echinacea. It’s supposed to help your immune system fight off germs and has been reported as being beneficial if you feel you’re coming down with a cold. My Mum was a primary school teacher and she swore by it when she was teaching.

I also try and increase my vitamin C intake – it can’t cure a cold, but it supposedly can help to prevent any serious complications from arising.

Some people swear by honey and lemon in hot water, or salt water gargles for sore throats (I tried this once and was nearly sick, but I possibly over did the salt…). Something I really like is Throat Coat Tea. It contains marshmallow and licorice with slippery elm (yes really), and it helps to sooth a sore throat wonderfully. I saw recently on social media, that another voiceover artist likes to inhale the steam from her throat coat tea under a towel. I think that could be a good idea actually. Steam inhalation is wonderful for clearing the nasal passages and some voiceover artists do this as a matter of routine, whether they are ill or not. I think a hot, steamy shower probably works just as well on a day to day basis though.

The other thing I try and do all year round, is exercise. Voiceover is a largely sedentary occupation, and it’s easy to spend whole days standing or sitting at the microphone and the computer. Having a dog means that I am forced to go for a walk at least twice a day, but I also run when I can, and go to a couple of exercise classes. I particularly enjoy yoga – I love stretching all those muscles that have been hunched up all day.

When you work for yourself if you get sick then you don’t get paid, so it’s definitely worthwhile trying to keep as fit and healthy as possible. Luckily I’ve always enjoyed exercise, so it’s never been a new year’s resolution that gets discarded after a few weeks!