What’s happening with all these singers dropping like flies?
Many among you, all over the world, can finally perform again! 🥳 Unfortunately, a lot of you are also getting ill…
Why is that?
There can be many reasons. You might recognize yourself in some, a lot, or maybe all of the below elements.
Your immune system
- For 1,5 years, your immune system has not been triggered and trained. You have been wearing a face mask and desinfecting your hands a lot. Your surroundings also have been constantly desinfected.
- You haven’t been able to take care of your overall physical fitness and health.
- This weaker immune system is now suddenly confronted with all these bacteria and viruses you have been sheltering from.
- It has also been affected by the psychological stress that we all have been / are suffering from.
The effects of long-term stress
- You are exhausted. But now, you are suddenly expected to deliver peak-performances again.
- You have muscle tensions and reflux issues that you might not be aware of. Both of them affect your voice to a high extend.
- Your breathing is more shallow.
The effects of the pandemic have caused trauma
- You have not been able to do what you do – sing. You have lost not only professional opportunities, but also “yourself”, which has caused grief.
- You have not had a lot of interpersonal contact for a long time, which can cause social phobias.
- You have not been able to maintain you skillset, which can highten your performance anxiety.
- All this can lead to depression.
You have had a lack of practice
- Without an incentive to train, you have not practiced and maintained your voice.
- Your overall physical and vocal stamina have weakened.
- Your muscle memory is not as strong as it used to be.
You have had Covid and might suffer from long-term effects
- Your voice is tired. And when she feels good enough to sing, the fatigue kicks in again quite rapidly.
- The brain fog is real. It has become much more difficult to concentrate.
- Your respiratory system, the foundation of your singing, has been attacked heavily.
So what can you do now?
Your immune system
- Do whatever you can in order to build up your immune system again. Sleep enough, eat well and exercise.
- Seek help from health professionals.
- Take care of yourself no matter what that means for you. Listen to your body and be kind to yourself.
The long-term stress
- Choose self-care over productivity. It’s not because you are now finally offered a lot of performance opportunities again, that you have to accept and commit to all of them. Prioritize your physical and mental health.
- The effects of stress are not the same as technical issues. They can create technical issues, but they are 2 very different things and should be treated differently. Learn to differentiate between them.
- Build up your mental stamina. That takes time.
- You are not alone and there is help out there. Speak to your peers and reach out to a mental health professional.
- Get acquainted with you personal reactions to this specific kind of performance anxiety which might be very different from what you experienced before Covid. Learn to deal with them. Stress is not the problem. Your coping mechanisms can be and they can be trained and enhanced. Seek out help from a voice teacher with experience on this subject.
The lack of practice
- Don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up about this. You had different priorities and / or you weren’t capable to practice. Be kind to yourself.
- Build up your vocal stamina. You might need a different strategy than the one you had before Covid. The technical issues you are facing might be different than before and new to you. Seek out help from an experienced voice teacher.
- Don’t put too much pressure on your shoulders. You don’t have to be back at 100% in a month. That’s impossible.
The long-term effects of Covid
- Every recovery is unique. Seek help from medical professionals with experience with long haulers.
- Listen to your body. Rest is essential to building up your overall physical and vocal stamina.
- Build up your respiratory stamina with a respiratory physiotherapist, vocal pathologist or voice teacher with experience in this subject.
- Monitor your oxygen levels and heart rate while training your voice back to health. There are apps and devices for this. Make sure you stay within the normative levels. Be kind to yourself.
- Beware of shortness of breath, coughing, dizziness, hoarseness and any kind of fatigue. Don’t push through, but take a break.
- Every day will be different. Celebrate the wins. Listen to your body. Rest when rest is in order. Be kind to yourself.
This blog is partly inspired by the presentations of:
- David Meyer, DM
COVID-19 Psychological Factors and Lingering Pandemic Trauma
- Wendy LeBorgne, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
COVID-19 long-term impact on vocal athletes: Road to recovery
Buy access to the recordings of one or more webinars on SOS Voice, and start to take care of your voice in all possible ways!
Janet Wilson - Singer
Manon Campens - Singer
Sarah Joyce - Singer & Voice Teacher