There are few careers that depend solely on your physical health and performance– voice acting is one of them. I like to call us vocal athletes because it really conveys the physicality of our job. Like other athletes, we have to keep ourselves (and our voices) strong and healthy to perform our best.
Every athlete has their own routine or plan for feeling fantastic and performing at their highest level. My routine involves lifestyle and wellness tips that keep my voice sounding sharp and my mind and body feeling strong and healthy.
I’ve listed sleep as my number one tip for a reason– we truly can not reach our full potential as vocal athletes without enough sleep. Relaxing, uninterrupted sleep allows our resting minds to refuel, realign, and recharge which is crucial for our waking lives. As voice actors, we know that sleep affects our speech– if you aren’t getting enough sleep you might stutter, have a slower response time, and have worse recall memory compared to when you are getting enough sleep.
Since our careers depend on our ability to speak with clarity and confidence, it’s imperative that we get enough sleep. The CDC recommends that adults aged 18-60 years get 7 or more hours of sleep per night– so turn off those phones and get some much-needed rest!
Prayer & Meditation
Being in the proper headspace to use your voice is just as important as being physically equipped when you’re a vocal athlete. It takes lots of energy, concentration, and skill to put out excellent reads every time you’re in the booth. So, I suggest taking some time before you record to rest your mind and pray or meditate. The calming effects of prayer and meditation will allow you to clear your mind and focus more pointedly on sounding your best. I love using the ABIDE and CALM apps to slow down and get grounded in the present moment.
As a vocal athlete, I always have water on hand. Water is necessary for vocal hydration and allowing your voice to sound its best. Drinking water is one of the best ways to promote vocal health, and it’s proven that drinking water consistently throughout the day keeps your larynx–or the area of the throat containing the vocal cords used for breathing, swallowing, and talking– hydrated. If you use your voice for work, water should be your drink of choice, as it lubricates your vocal folds and helps them vibrate completely.
Our voice is a part of our larger health ecosystem– meaning that in order to keep our voice in good shape, we need to focus on our total body wellness too. No matter what routine you follow or what exercises you like to do, you’ve got to get your body moving. An early morning workout on the Peleton is my favorite way to get a workout in these days.
In addition to general exercise, there are of course more specific vocal exercises to really help you warm up that muscle, and set you up for a successful read. Vocal and breathing exercises are great for strengthening diction, articulation, enunciation, projection, and vocal range.
Taking time to journal, set intentions, and express gratitude is also a great way to improve your mindset before getting into the booth. If you’ve had an overwhelming day, or maybe your thoughts just feel scattered, then try putting pen to paper and letting those feelings flow onto the page. Releasing your thoughts before recording or focusing on work will help prevent burnout and allow you to bring your best voice to every read.
Use these tips when you want to feel your best and sound your best in the booth. The more time you spend taking care of yourself and your voice, the better your work will be!