I don't know about you, but this has been one of the most exhausting holiday seasons I have ever experienced... Maybe this is just a sign of me getting older?
And, of course, the day before my first Styxmas show I lose my voice (albeit, only slightly)... You don't know what Styxmas is, I hear? Well, check out Styxmas.com to hear this crazy, whacky, bizarre side-project that Tyler and I are a part of. In a nutshell, we are a Styx cover band, but all of the lyrics from some of their greatest hits have been changed to be about Christmas and the holidays. Hence Styxmas.
Why is an opera singer singing Styx?!
That's what I asked myself when I agreed to this! And, to be honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I am the kind of person that loves quirky and challenging projects, and this was exactly that. Plus, have you heard how challenging their songs are?! I did not grow up on Styx, so when I listened to what I would potentially be singing I was intimidated.
I didn't have any shows going on last winter (we just finished our second season performing Styxmas) and this was a way to keep me busy, and singing of all things!
I got to belt and be absolutely silly, which doesn't always happen in opera, and singing in my chest/musical theatre voice has significantly helped my operatic singing. Some may find this blasphemous, but it's been paramount in improving my technique.
Excuse me, I digress.
But this season has me tired beyond all levels of tiredness that I haven't experienced in a very loooonnggg time. And I needed to find ways to not completely crash and burn.
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So, when I felt my voice going I immediately went for my go-to methods of staying vocally healthy, and healthy in general. You can actually read a little more in depth in my post How I Maintain My Health as a Singer. But, in short, this is what I swear by:
Cold Snap - I told the entire band about this miracle product and the drummer told me the next day that whatever sniffles he had going on completely went away after taking this stuff. I was like, "yeah, this stuff seriously works!"
Hot water mixed with fresh grated ginger, turmeric, lemon, raw honey, and ground cloves. So, cloves have super high levels of antioxidants (something like 20x higher than blueberries) and I've started drinking clove water (I just steep whole cloves in hot water and drink). I don't know if that's been helping me, but whatever flu/serious illnesses that have been going around I have yet to get. I am no doctor, but I like to think this special water of mine has been helping. #gotoadoctor I haven't gotten the flu shot, but not because I don't believe in them. I just haven't. And I HATE when my arm gets super sore for the few days after...
Sleep, but I haven't gotten much of that these past few weeks...
Eating as healthy as I can: There's nothing worse than feeling like crap after eating crap and then getting sick because you were eating said crap. I tend to eat as healthy as possible, but the winter months just want me eating all the warm comfort foods that load the pounds on rather than off...
Vocal Rest: I can't stress the importance of this enough. Both Tyler and I felt so tired, and that absolute exhaustion manifested in our voices. I had a voice lesson to teach the day before our first show, but I could barely talk without my voice going in and out. So I cancelled it. I felt bad for not being able to teach, but I didn't want to risk anything. Plus, we had practice that night (which I marked) so I needed to be able to get through that.
But the most important method of recovery for me? COOKIES. Eating cookies. Because it was the holiday.
I'd love to know how you stay sane and healthy during the holidays! Comment below!
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With love and sincerity,