Keep your inner light bright: Tips to avoid being blue and getting the flu this winter

The first snowstorm of the season is approaching the east coast today. As we stare down Old Man Winter, I wanted to offer some simple steps you can take to boost your physical and mental bodies to stay healthy throughout the coming months. You don’t want to lose singing time to being sick or feeling so blah that you don’t practice!


From the flu just hot tea

1) Eat Well

  • Fill your plate with ACTUAL food, mostly plant based. Think roasted root vegetables, soups with plant based proteins like lentils and chick peas. The more color on your plate the better. If you are a meat eater, try for organic meats.
  • Lower your sugar intake. I know it is hard. There are so many baked goods around during the holidays and when it is cold and you’re feeling low, simple sugars are very, very tempting. The bottom line is, foods made with white flour and sugar do nothing for you nutritionally. Ultimately, sugar suppresses your immunity and sets off an addictive cycle leaving you craving more and more.
  • Hydrate. Water keeps your system running smoothly. Keeping yourself well hydrated helps to flush germs out of the body and boosts your energy. Using a humidifier while you sleep is helpful as well.

2) Keep Clean

  • Wash your hands. Use regular (non-antibacterial) soap and wash your hands before meals, after using the bathroom and after being in a public place.
  • Clean your smart phone daily. Think about all the places you put your phone down. Maybe other people are using it too – children, friends etc. Keeping it clean will keep it clear of germs.
  • Use a neti pot. Flushing your sinus and nasal passages will remove germs that can lodge more easily in the body when the air is dry.

3) Boost Your Mood and Your Immunity

  • Exercise. Aim for 30 minutes daily at a level where you break a sweat.
  • Be Thankful. Keep a gratitude journal. Just jotting down 3 things that happened during the day boosts your mood and your immunity.
  • Lower your stress. Engaging in regular yoga practice – breathing, meditating and physical postures does a body and mind good!

Singer’s Wellness – Gratitude and Your Immune System

Singer’s Wellness: Gratitude and Your Immune System

There are the traditional methods of staying healthy including eating well, sleeping and hydrating. Then there are other ways that you can boost your health (and your happiness too) that you don’t normally think of.

At the top of the list is Gratitude.

About two years ago, I began a gratitude journal as I found myself caught up in day-to-day struggles and wanted to see more of the blessings in my life. Rather than going to bed each night fretting over what hadn’t gone well, or what I hadn’t done, I wanted to remember the wonderful things that were going on around me all the time. So, I bought a pretty notebook (I’m a total sucker for notebooks and have a ton of them around at all times) and a pen I liked and put it on my bedside.

Then, I didn’t write in it.

Seriously. I wrote in it about once every three months. At most.

One day, I went to bed particularly bothered by the day. I hadn’t felt like a good teacher, yogi, singer, parent or spouse. I had snapped at people, I was getting a cold and I just generally felt down about the world. I saw the notebook sitting there and I thought ‘what the hell, why not?’ and I pulled it out.

It was a struggle to come up with three things about the day that I was grateful for. It was really, really hard. I kept at it though. Each night I wrote.

Fast forward to today and I write almost nightly and can easily fill a page with the things I have noticed happening in my day that I am grateful for. Most of the time they are small, mundane, ordinary things, but they are worth a grateful moment of recognition. Occasionally I’ll write about things that I want to have happen in the hopes that expressing my gratitude for having something will help will it into existence. Sometimes I’m too tired and I just mentally make a list of things I’m grateful for.

I don’t even write in complete sentences, just phrases. Keep it simple.

Robert Emmons, PhD, a prof at UC Davis, researches gratitude and the effects it has on people. In an article he wrote for The Greater Good, at the top of the list of physical benefits of gratitude is “stronger immune systems”. You can view his list of 10 ways to become more grateful and at the top of that list is to keep a gratitude journal.

Go ahead, indulge in a new notebook and a pen you love. Put the book by your bedside and commit to writing in it nightly. Start with just three things you are grateful for and watch how your list grows over time. If you need some ideas, try keeping track of:

  • the things your voice allows you to do,
  • how the people around you have helped you pursue your singing goals,
  • your admiration for your singing colleagues,
  • the opportunities you have to share your gift with others,
  • other small moments in your daily life that make you thankful.

Your healthy voice and your spirit will love you for it!