In a perfect world our voices would keep going and never get tired. The reality is; with any kind of training every once in a while our bodies and minds require time to rest and recover. Singing is no exception.
When you are developing a new skill you are asking your muscles to behave in a different manner than they are used to and unsurprisingly they can tire. I have definitely experienced the point where I literally cannot practice anymore due to mental or physical fatigue. So how do we recover? The answer is simple, vocal rest.
The aim of vocal rest is to minimise the length of time you are speaking and singing. You may be prescribed absolute vocal rest for more serious reasons such as nodules but it’s something that I hope you never have to experience.
Vocal rest is always a challenging time for me. The moment I think about not speaking, everything that I forgot to say for the last month pops into my head and I suddenly want to sing every song on the radio. I’ve found the most effective method for me to be successful is simply to distract myself.
For all of you out there that struggle like me here’s some tips on how to successfully achieve periods of vocal rest:
BE REALISTIC. This starts with being mindful of your schedule. Be aware of your commitments, when you are working and when you are realistically going to need to take some time to rest and recover. This can be setting aside part of each day to not vocalise.
WORKOUT. Swim, go for a bike ride, hit the gym, pound the pavement, whatever you like! Working out is a great way to spend some time looking after your mental and overall wellbeing. For me, on days when I’m trying to be quiet, it’s got to be yoga. Yoga leaves me feeling calm, centred and able to enjoy the peacefulness around me.
BECOME A BOOKWORM. This can be a great way to spend your time. You can choose whether to go on an adventure in your imagination, improve your knowledge and education. By reading you fill your mind with dialogue and don’t feel like you’re missing out.
BYE. If you live with your partner encourage them to meet up with their friends. It’s good for them, it’s good for you, and most of all it’s good for your relationship. When they get back if they want to they’ll tell you all about it and you’ll be a great listener.
ENJOY YOUR OWN COMPANY. Go for a walk alone, sit in the park and be in your own mind. Now, more than ever it’s really easy to be distracted by day to day life. We are connected to others in a way we have never been before but the 24/7 connection can leave us disconnected from our goals, our desires and ourselves. So unplug from the world for a bit and spend some time with yourself.
GET ARTISTIC. I love anything artistic. It seems to be one of the few times when my mind doesn’t wander. I am so focused on exactly what I’m doing it’s one of the few times I never multitask. If you’re not so artistic pick up and adults colouring book. It’s a great way to focus on one thing and a great opportunity to be creative without using your voice
COMMUNICATE. This might seem obvious, but tell the people you live with that you’re on vocal rest. Make them aware so they don’t think you’re ignoring them, in a bad mood or upset! If you keep forgetting to tell them get a t-shirt to wear!
CATCH UP WITH YOUR FAVOURITE SERIES. Ok there are more productive things you can be doing but if you are going to spend a day binge watching the latest box set why not make it part of your vocal rest?
DO IT NATURALLY. Forcing yourself to be quite is difficult. Think about all of the times in the week when you are naturally silent. What are you doing? Use these moments to your advantage and build them into your vocal rest schedule.
GET ORGANISED. Plan what you’re going to do and look forward to it.
I really hope this helps xx