As you work to establish and build your career you will most likely spend a good deal of time on the road. It may be local travel to a variety of environments that include performance venues, offices, recording studios, and gyms or fitness facilities, just to name a few.
There will be times when you will be away from home for long weekends or longer stretches of time, as you play or check out a few clubs and performance halls. You might be singing lead or backing vocals or both.
You could be traveling with several other bands or singer-songwriters and gigging out as you play in many different environments that expose you to irritants such as pollen, dust, second hand smoke, and assorted germs and bacteria.
When you’re on the road, you need sufficient rest and sleep patterns and you need to make healthy food choices so your health is not compromised or placed in jeopardy. But, with a little time invested in smart planning, you can establish some travel habits that will minimize any negative impact that can get stirred up while being on the road for long stretches of time.
Stretch + Rest
Speaking of stretching, it’s important to periodically pull over, get out, and move. Stretch and loosen up. Take a short walk around the perimeter of a well-lit public rest stop or parking lot, just to work out the kinks and get things circulating. Make sure the environment is a safe and open area where you and your travel companions are not isolated or blocked from view. If there is no safe area to walk, or maybe it’s a confined parking area, you can stretch and jog in place for at least five minutes.
You don’t want to become a victim of road burn. Driving alone for long stretches of time will rob you of energy, negatively impact your posture, cramp your breath control, and can kill a positive attitude in a matter of hours. So, if alone, take a 15-minute break every two hours. If traveling with others, share the driving in two-hour shifts. But still time those 15-minute breaks!
Mask + Filter
Since you will be exposed to the elements outdoors and many differing environments indoors where crowds of people gather, you should consider investing in a mask to wear that protects your nose and mouth from potential irritants that may pose a threat to your immune system and voice.
Breathe-Healthy® makes a variety of masks that are perfect for travel, and help minimize issues from allergens, dust, mold spores, pet hair, dander, germs and help provide general respiratory protection.
You don’t have to wear the mask 24/7, but wear it to minimize exposure to pollutants and irritants. But, a mask is an effective tool to use not only when you’re on the road but during times when you know you’ll be exposed to a variety of irritants that could seriously compromise your voice.
A variety of washable antimicrobial masks are available at www.breathehealthy.com to help you minimize exposure to irritants while moving from gig to meeting to hotel or camp site on the road.
Food For Fuel
It is absolutely vital that you strictly adhere to a healthy diet while on the road. You do not want to let your system run down, and you don’t want to get overloaded with greasy, salty, starchy, sugar-rich fast food and convenience store snacks.
Make sure you keep a variety of fresh, naturally-hydrating fruits on hand such as grapes, apples, and melons. These will help replenish fluids, as well as provide nutrients and energy.
Look for restaurants that have healthy options such as a salad bar, low-calorie dishes, and whole grain breads. In fact, a grocery store is a great place to stop for food. You can choose fresh fruits, vegetables, as well as find healthy ingredients for sandwiches and salads. This will also save you time and money in the long run. That will reduce financial stress, and stress must be minimized to stay healthy especially while traveling.
Water Water Everywhere You Go
Make sure you have lots of water on hand and non-citric fruit juice, since orange juice and lemonade can irritate the throat. Whether you’re traveling by car or on a tour bus with others, it is easy to get quickly dehydrated when you’re on the road. Even though the extra fluids may force a few more pit stops, you will stay healthy in the long run. Plus those pit stops give you a few extra minutes to stretch and move again.
Continue to hydrate after your gig, meeting, and other appointments. This is not just something to do while traveling. Staying hydrated is an ongoing commitment you must make to keep your voice and your body healthy and performing at an optimal level.
Avoid sodas. If this is absolutely impossible for you to do, then limit yourself to only one or two single serving sodas per day. By single serving we don’t mean the one, two, or three-liter bottle! And make sure it’s a diet soda – no refined sugars – period!
Rest With Resolve
Make sure you take time to rest your voice. You’ll be exposed to many different elements, irritants, and environments. A mask will aide with staying healthy. Staying hydrated and taking a multi-vitamin will boost your overall resistance, too. But resting your voice will help to minimize irritation and potential fatigue.
When you travel you might forget about how much you’re talking or gasping and gawking or screaming. Force yourself to relax, and make that concerted effort to consciously rest your voice. Be aware of any changes such as you’re throat getting scratchy or your voice becoming a touch raspy. Resist the impulse to chatter on, so you can rest your vocal folds.
Your voice is presently your bread and butter, but it also represents endless entrees and your future just desserts! So treat it as your money maker and ultimate life changing resource as you power down the road to your ultimate career destination. To rest your voice, let email, texting, and even handwritten notes do the talking for you.
Let’s Make One Thing Clear – Don’t!
Avoid the nasty habit or impulse to clear your throat. When you do that to your throat, it causes your vocal folds to smack up against each other. This leads to irritation and can cause potentially serious damage if done forcefully and repeatedly. If you feel yourself wanting to clear your throat take a sip of water or take a deep breath and then yawn. The combination of the water and the breathe-and-yawn helps to break up any tension that’s trapped in the vocal folds.
Off Road Benefits
These tips are not just smart choices when you’re on the road, they are wise choices to make when you’re on the way to a voice lesson and then the grocery store, to see a movie and eat out, or even to head to the park or go jogging. These are healthy habits to ramp up when you face challenges that come with exposure to a variety of elements or environments that carry an increased potential for irritation or infection.
These healthy habits will not compromise your immune system. They’ll help you feel rested, more alert and energized. They’ll also give you more stamina as you navigate every critical stop on the road to your singing and performance success.