Burnout Can Torch Your Throat

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on August 3, 2016

Are you the reporter in the newsroom who always agrees to work that extra shift?  Or are you a person who says yes to every VO job that comes along?  If you are, you might be headed for burnout.

Burnout happens from the chronic stress of being spread too thin. It can make you snap. You might get sick, have an accident, or just make everyone’s life miserable, mostly your own.

The getting sick part is very real. A study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (October 2010) found that a healthy person has a two-fold risk of developing musculoskeletal pain in the neck, shoulders, or lower back when they are facing burnout. And there are much scarier statistics. The European Heart Journal reports that working 11-hour days increases your heart attack risk by 56 percent.

And don’t think being spread too thin doesn’t affect your voice. Chronic stress makes it more difficult to breathe well, to focus your thoughts, and to control your rate. Voice something after a 12-hour day, and I bet you’ll hear those things happening.

What to do? First, use your calendar wisely. Don’t over schedule. Block off at least an hour to relax after an unusually busy day. Take a walk outside or listen to music. Also schedule some social time every week. Basically, learn to pace yourself. Remember your voice will not be at it’s best if you’re approaching burnout.

Within your day use some breathing exercises to relax. Ck out my video on breathing from a previous blog post to learn how to do deep breathing. You can find much more in my book, BROADCAST VOICE HANDBOOK or on my mp3 for breathing.  Also, click on the breathing link in the right sidebar for more posts on breathing.

And if rate is an issue for you, ck out this blog post of mine on rate.

Make self-care a priority. Don’t take on another job or stay late in the newsroom if you feel burned out. As a VO artist or a TV broadcaster, every product you turn out can make or break your career. Make performing at your peak your goal rather than slogging though another assignment. You’ll feel better and your voice will sound better!

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