Emily Kristofferson

Caring for Your Coaching Voice

Caring for Your Coaching Voice | EmilyKristofferson.com

As we’re in the season of colds, dry skin,  and coughs, it’s important for us to have ways to support our voices.  If you are coaching on the phone, you need to be sure to give your voice what it needs to stay healthy and clear.

1. Hydrate.

My mantra is “drink more water than you think you need.” The debate among experts about how much water you need is contentious. Do your own research. Based on what I see and what complaints are most prevalent (feeling dry, crackily voice, raspy breathing, coughs, headaches, trouble thinking clearly), my feeling is that most of us do not drink enough good, clean water. I aim for half of my body weight in ounces, or more depending on what is going on in my life at any given time.

If you are unsure of what is healthy for your body, consult your health care practitioner.

Otherwise, get in the habit of keeping a water bottle with you, and hydrating preemptively. If you’ve got a headache, before you pop a pill, check in and see when you last had some water.

2. Alkalize.

The body functions optimally at a slightly alkaline pH. Sugar, caffeine, dairy, grains, meats, refined foods, alcohol and stress tip us to the acidic side of the pH scale as the body processes these foods.

Eat your leafy greens, fresh fruits and begin to enjoy that herbal tea without sweetener. If you feel thick with mucous, shift around the big offenders from your diet first. Give your body some space to heal and come back to balance. An irritated body will produce excess mucous in part for protection and healing. If you are seeing mucous in your stool, it’s a sign of a more serious problem and you should consult your health care practitioner immediately. Get in the habit of treating the physical imbalance at the source – diet is a powerful first step.

Take out the sugared drinks, replace with water. Try making a “creamy soup” using unrefined coconut oil instead of heavy cream. Serve yourself a little less rice and a little more collards. These foods are soothing and supporting.

3. Hot water with lemon.

This is one of the BEST and easiest supportive body practices you can incorporate into your life. I really can’t recommend this one enough.

It gets the body flowing, clears the mind…and helps to counteract that overactive coffee habit.

First thing in the morning, ideally 15 minutes or more before eating:

– 8 oz hot water
– juice of half a lemon

The warm water stimulates peristalsis (the movement of your colon). While you may think “lemon = citrus = acid = bad” in fact, as your body processes the lemon juice it has an alkalizing effect on the body. There are so many benefits to drinking lemon water. You can also keep a thermos by your side at work and sip throughout the day to keep you balanced.

This is a wonderful remedy for daily support of the body. Use it as a first step intervention when you’re feeling sick, feel a cold coming, on or just need to step back and have a few minutes of silence on the couch with yourself. If you’re feeling “mucousy” while coaching, keep a little thermos of this by your side and it will help clear that coated feeling in your throat.

4. The Golden Elixir.

This is an awesome herbal tea that’s great when you need extra TLC. Clear your body, reduce inflammation, support digestion, and help move those toxins out of your body:

1 cup hot water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Cayenne (1 pinch)

From wholeliving.com

5. Treat yourself to a hot bath.

Add Epsom salts – the magnesium helps the cells in your body move, produce energy, and overall relax you. This will help ease noticeable aches and pains, but also helps those guys you can’t see or feel move along and do their jobs well.

Add lavender essential oil or a combination of essential oils that support your energetic/emotional body.

6. Swallow, don’t cough.

As a general habit, begin to look to swallow or sip water (preferably hot water) when you feel the urge to cough. Every time you violently attempt to hack up a lung, you are grinding your vocal folds against each other in an extremely aggressive, unsupportive way. This leads to aggravation, sometimes swelling, and in extreme cases sometimes worse (polyps). Replace as many coughs as you can with a deep, slow breath and the liquid your body needs to loosen up whatever is trying to come out of your body. When you absolutely do need to cough, these coughs will be more productive.

7. Treat dry coughs with hot water, lemon and honey.

The honey acts to coat your throat. This is particularly helpful at night just before bed when dry coughs often get worse.  Here are home remedies for a persistent dry cough.

8. Get a humidifier.

If your house is very dry, or if you sleep in a hot room, be mindful that this will dehydrate you while you sleep. If you’ve got a performance coming up, you may want to invest in a humidifier for certain times of the year. If you wake up with crusty nostrils, you are drying out overnight.

9. Make your own humidifier.

Boil water on the stove in an open pan.

For a feel-good twist, add:
– Orange slices – contributes to a feeling of warmth, creativity and spirituality
Cardamom – helps clear the brain and inspire an appetite for life

For immediate treatment, place a towel over your head and let the steam be like your own mini sauna on your face. This helps break up crustiness in a pinch. Also helps with coughs.

10. Deep breathe eucalyptus oil from your hands.

Apply 1-2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to your hands, rub together, cover your mouth and nose and DEEP BREATHE 3 times. Nature’s Vapo-rub! Tea tree oil can be substituted. Ahhhhhh.

11. Get a massage.

Massage is one of the single best things you can do to support the tissues of your body. Get in, squeeze out the toxins, flush them out with water, and listen as your voice becomes more relaxed and supple.

12. If you’ve lost your voice, don’t whisper.

Whispering may actually place more strain on your vocal folds depending on how you do it. The best is to stay silent, avoid shouting across the house, take steps to reduce the inflammation in your body all around. When you begin to speak again, be mindful of where you might be straining your voice. When in doubt, be silent.

13. Care for your whole body.

Your voice is one delicate, STRONG, resilient, faithful champion of You. Care for your whole body, because how you treat your whole body will affect your voice.

dividerHeather Hightower

About the Author: Heather Hightower

Heather is a talented vocalist and vocal coach.  She helps her clients bring out their true voice and deepest expression.

Learn more about Heather here.


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