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5 Ways to Take Care of Your Voice

5 Ways to Take Care of Your Voice

Losing your voice — even for just a few hours — can be extremely debilitating and frustrating. It’s one of those things you take for granted until it’s gone. But when it goes, you suddenly realize just how useless you are.

Unfortunately, the only people who ever do anything to prevent issues and protect their voices are entertainers, singers, and professional speakers. This leaves the rest of the population susceptible to problems.

Don’t follow the masses. Instead, make sure you’re doing everything possible to protect your voice. Here are a handful of tips you should find helpful.

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1. Warm up your vocal chords before presentations.

Any time you’re set to give a presentation — or otherwise speak loudly for an extended period of time — it’s smart to warm up your vocal chords. There are a variety of methods for warming up, but most involve breath relaxation, jaw and lip tension release techniques, tongue drills, octave scales, humming, and cool down exercises.

You may feel strange warming up your voice, but remember that your throat is just like any other part of your body. There are muscles that must be stretched and prepared prior to extreme exertion.

2. Avoid unnecessary and sudden volume changes.

Few things are as detrimental to your voice as sudden changes in volume. When you shout or scream with too much force, the lining of your vocal cords can actually become compromised. The muscles in your throat also tighten and breathing becomes lighter. This means your body has to put forth more effort to recover your voice. Ultimately, this can make it worse.

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This is why coaches who frequently yell and scream often lose their voices or deal with issues later in life. “Usually, it’s just a temporary thing that goes away,” says Dr. Michael Pitman of the Mount Sinai Health System. “But sometimes, as the vocal cords try to repair themselves — and you strain and push your voice even harder — that’s where you get into a vicious cycle of vocal decompensation. The more you try and compensate, the more damage you do.”

3. Have a regular voice check up.

Most people get an annual physical — or at least go in for a checkup when something about their health seems wrong. You should treat your voice with the same amount of respect and care.

“Your annual physical probably will not reveal vocal cord problems,” says Dr. Inna Husain, director of the Voice, Airway and Swallowing Program at Rush University Medical Center. “The best way to really assess what’s going on with the voice is for someone attuned to the nuances of vocal changes to listen to your voice — and then look at your vocal cords.”

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4. Don’t clear your throat excessively.

Did you know that you can actually damage your throat by clearing it with too much force? Aggressively coughing and clearing your throat over and over again can actually result in vocal chord damage. Instead of using force to clear your throat, try having a few sips of water.

5. Deal with acid reflux promptly.

Acid reflux is something that thousands of people suffer from. For some, acid reflux comes and goes with specific trigger foods. For others, it’s almost a chronic situation. Regardless of frequency, acid reflux must be dealt with in an appropriate manner. Understand how to take hold of your condition and prevent excess stomach acid from damaging your voice.

Don’t take your voice for granted!

Your voice is one of the single most important assets you have. Since communication is one of the key aspects of our daily lives, you can’t afford to lose your voice — temporarily or permanently.

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Stop taking your voice for granted and start protecting it!

Featured photo credit: peter castleton via flic.kr

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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