A Singer's Holiday Survival Guide

By Angela Peterson Winter
Almost every singer I know has a packed schedule in December: choir concerts, church gigs, Messiah performances, parties . . . not to mention personal obligations to friends, family, and networks or the numerous auditions that can fill this time of year! It’s enough to find yourself spending the New Year sick, tired, overwhelmed and burned out.
How can we change this for ourselves? How can we arrive at the New Year, and beyond, feeling refreshed, healthy, and energized instead?
We are told to get adequate sleep, eat a sensible diet, exercise at least 30min/5 days a week, and give lots of hugs. Great ideas all, but the reality is that our sleep, dietary and exercise needs are all different. (And let’s face it, some people just do not like being touched!)
Thus, I have a different proposal:
We trust our bodies to help us sing, get jobs, and take us around our life. Too often, we take our bodies for granted and push them harder and harder, ignoring any whispers, like runny noses or hoarseness, until we finally hear the screams of extreme fatigue, laryngitis, pneumonia, or worse. The truth is that our bodies are incredibly wise and usually know far more than our minds can acknowledge. Our bodies cannot lie. The sophisticated makeup of the human brain, however, can justify and rationalize and analyze just about anything.
When you are feeling a bit ragged this holiday season, then, here is one simple tool you can use to tune in and find out what your own unique needs are.
Does it feel like freedom or captivity?

Get still and quiet.
Close your eyes and take three deep breaths.
Imagine doing the activity in question.
Notice the physical sensations in your body while you imagine.
Do they feel bubbly, light, expansive, free, open, or relaxed…? Or tight, heavy, contracted, closed, stressed, or nauseated…?
Now imagine NOT doing the activity in question. How does that feel in your body?

Any sensations that feel similar to the first list are a yes, to the second, a no.
This tool can be used as your personal compass for everything you do.
Should I accept this gig?
Should I eat this food?
Should I go to this party?
Should I go back to sleep?
Should I do cardio, strength-training, or yoga?
The list is endless.
When you only say yes to what feels like freedom in your body you are connecting with and caring for your body and yourself in a way that connects you to your personal truth. With practice you may find that you say no to more events that do not excite you, set better boundaries with people, eat and sleep and exercise in a way that feels best to YOUR body, and generally move in the direction of your best life. You may not only survive, but thrive in this busy holiday season.
It all starts with tuning in.

Angela Peterson Winter, M.M. is a voice teacher and life coach who helps singers free their voices inside and out so they can sing with ease, perform with confidence, and create with authenticity. She believes that learning to sing is a journey of the body, mind, heart, and spirit and works to pinpoint and release the stuck places throughout for ultimate artistic freedom. She holds degrees from Butler University, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and certifications in coaching and CCM teaching methodologies. She was also a 2011 NATS Intern. Learn more and receive your FREE gift at www.angelapetersonwinter.com.

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