Surviving the Stress of the Upcoming Months

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on March 5, 2020

We’ve known about the stressful election coming up in November, but now a new stressor is sweeping the country, the coronavirus (COVID-19). For broadcasters and voiceover artists, it’s not just a matter of dealing with the stress. It’s a question of how the stress may affect your voice and therefore your ability to do a good job at the microphone.

So what’s to be done? We’ve all read, and you broadcasters have covered, the fact that we need to wash your hands often, stay away from crowds, and limit travel. But there are additional things that can be done to keep yourself healthy, so let’s look at a few of those.

Advice that I give for all broadcasters and voiceover artists is to strive to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Sometimes it may seem impossible, but research shows that getting under seven hours of sleep puts you at a higher risk of illness.  Click here to learn more.

Being more vulnerable to illness is certainly not something you want while the coronavirus is circulating. There are the obvious reasons for this like you’re going to miss work if you’re sick, and you’re going to feel lousy. But with the coronavirus, it also means you may have to self-quarantine for as long as two weeks. In addition, there’s the possibility of a severe case that would result in pneumonia. Pneumonia could cause a need for a ventilator and intubation. Anytime a person is intubated there’s a chance it can cause permanent damage to the vocal folds. That’s not a risk you can take.

In addition to getting at least seven hours of sleep, it helps keep your immunity up if you eat well. It happens that the last post I wrote deals with healthy eating for broadcasters and voiceover artists. You can find that article by clicking here.

And don’t omit the very important payoff of relaxation and escape during a time of constant stress. That means taking some time each day and turning off your phone, not reading articles about what’s happening in the world, and simply enjoying life. This might mean exercising, playing with your kids, going to a movie, reading, meditating, or just spending a few minutes thinking about your last enjoyable vacation. During a crisis, this often feels like wasting time, but it’s just the opposite. It’s a way to unwind and get a fresh perspective on what’s happening.

In the months ahead remember that the world is not coming to an end, and getting into the “chicken little syndrome” will only put you at a greater risk of getting sick or simply burning out. So take these steps to keep yourself feeling good and sounding great in the next eight months. It might just become a lifelong habit!

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