Autumn, Free Your Voice, Resources, Seasons, Voice Care, Voice Health, Winter

Voice Care in Wintertime

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Wintertime holds a wonderful energy of rest, restoration, and inward reflection as we recover from the past year and prepare for the spring and the vibrant energy it brings. However, it can also bring with it fear: fear of illness, fear of missed work, and if you’re an entrepreneur or rely on your voice for work, this can have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing.

Over the years, I have picked up many natural ways to protect, heal, and healthfully use the voice when ill. Pharmaceuticals can be helpful in acute cases, but they are often very drying and have other negative side effects for the delicate tissues of the vocal folds (aka vocal cords). Natural advice and remedies from Western herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and folk medicine are shared here to help with common illnesses. Please keep in mind, I am not a doctor or certified herbalist, so it is best to consult a trained herbalist or TCM practitioner to get the best medicine for your particular illness.


Illness Prevention

Bundle up
According to Chinese medicine, illnesses often enter the body through the back of the neck and upper back area, especially during late fall and winter when that area of the body is susceptible to the cold. Even if you live in moderate climate, wear a scarf or cardigan that protects your neck and upper back from drafts and the cold. Additionally, all the neck and upper back muscles connect up to the muscles of the voice, so keeping warm reduces unnecessary tension that could negatively affect your voice.

Keep it warm
Avoid cold water and drink warm liquids that are at least room temperature. Cold tenses up muscles, and warm loosens them; The vocal cords are actually delicate muscles in the throat, so warm liquids will keep the vocal cords from getting too tight or tense, avoiding vocal strain. Loose vocal cords also means more efficient use of your voice, meaning you’ll expend less energy.

Avoid congestion
Everyone’s body composition is different, but if you know which foods create congestion in your body, keep them to a minimum at this time of year (dairy is a common one). If you have environmental allergies, do you best to manage them and take preventative measure, such as wearing an allergy mask (such as a Vogmask) when you may be exposed to allergens. Less congestion means less susceptibility to illness. If you tend to struggle with congestion on a regular basis, I highly recommend seeing a Chinese medicine practitioner and/or an allergist to determine the best course of action for you—I’ve personally been helped by both.

Boost immune system
There are many herbs and supplements to help the immune system, but my personal favorites are homemade Elderberry Syrup and homemade Fire Cider (you can google recipes for both, but keep in mind that Fire Cider takes 4-6 weeks to infuse). If you tend towards illness in winter, preventative acupuncture is very helpful as well.

Rest
Sleep is THE most important thing you can do for your health. Make sure you’re giving your body (and your voice!) the rest it needs.

Hydrate
Our bodies are hydrated from the inside out, so drink plenty of water and healthy liquids. If you have a hard time drinking water, try gentle and supportive herbal teas (chamomile, hibiscus, and nettle, for example). Avoid liquids that can cause dehydration or are diuretic in nature. If your airways are dry despite hydration, a humidifier is also beneficial and can counteract the dry winter air.

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When You’re Sick

Dont ignore!
Even if you’re not sure that you’re sick, if you start to feel any symptoms, start taking higher doses of Elderberry and/or Fire Cider (or your supplement of choice) immediately. Be more mindful of the nutrition in the foods you eat. Make sure you get plenty of rest.

Keep it warm
Notice a theme? There’s a reason we immediately think of soup and tea as “get better” foods. Warm, nutritious food and drink does a lot to restore the body. Broth-based soups, tea with honey, congee (a nutritious Chinese porridge), oatmeal, etc. are all great options when you’re sick and aren’t harsh on the throat. For the common cold, avoid dairy and rich foods as they can create more phlegm.

Be kind to your voice
Rest your voice as much as you can. Try to drink water or tea instead of coughing or clearing your throat. Coughing and clearing your throat is rough on the vocal cords and can cause them to become inflamed. Consistent, long-term coughing and clearing of the throat can eventually cause damage to the vocal cords. If your voice starts to feel like it’s headed towards laryngitis, avoid talking as much as possible. If you do lose your voice, don’t try to push it. Let it rest and heal.

Hydrate
Drink plenty of fluids (soup counts!). Saline rinses or sprays can be very helpful in clearing out mucus and helping with post-nasal drip. Try to rinse 3 times a day. Dehydration can lead to higher levels of congestion and sinus pressure.

Rest
Rest as often as you can and sleep when you need to.

Fake it
If you need to practice for a performance, speech, or presentation, practice without using your voice. Mouth the words to a speech or scene (hearing tone and phrasing in your mind) instead of speaking the words. Hear the music in your mind and act as if you’re singing without engaging your vocal cords. Practice breathing/singing techniques on non-vocalized consonants, like S (F, T, and P can also work, depending on the exercise).

When you need to talk
Breathe deeply and speak strongly in your normal voice, even if your voice doesn’t “cooperate”. Avoid compensating because pushing to make your voice louder will only serve to cause strain and hurt your voice, or possibly cause you to lose your voice. Whispering can also cause strain since it adds tension, or hurt your voice due to the excess air passing through that can dry out the vocal cords.

Things to avoid:
Anything overly drying. Peppermint tea, high amounts of caffeine, overuse of decongestants, etc. can be so drying your body will overcompensate with more congestion.

Ultimately, we all get sick at some point or another. These tips and tools can help prevent that from happening, especially if you tend to be prone towards catching colds and other illnesses. Often what breaks the camel’s back is that we push ourselves to do more and more and more, instead of listening to our bodies telling us to take a step back. So, listen to what your body is telling you. Trust your gut instinct to go to bed early instead of finishing that project or binge-watching Netflix to wind down. Give yourself space to rest BEFORE getting sick. This enables your body to do what it naturally wants to do. And if you sense that there’s an underlying spiritual component that is creating a negative pattern of illness or fatigue, give yourself the space to do the healing work necessary. So many of us have wounds related to our self-expression and that can manifest into a pattern of illness.

If you desire support to do that, I am here for you!

Card Spread, Free Your Voice, Personal Writings, Rituals, Spirituality

Word of the Year + Card Spread

The past few years, I’ve chosen a word of the year as my theme, instead of new year resolutions. It often encompasses my intentions for the year, how I want to live my life, and the direction I want to move in my purpose.

This year, I was inspired by Catrice M. Jackson of Catriceology to add 5 supporting words for my primary word. I took it a step further and made a card spread to find confirmation and divine support to guide me as I step into the themes of these words.

Copy of Word of the Year Spread

Empower
I chose the word Empower as my main word for 2019 because this past year has been a year of learning and healing, and now it’s time to step into the empowerment of all that I’ve learned. The supporting words I chose are related to areas of my life and work. These are areas where I want that empowerment to be a strong force behind what I do and who I’m becoming!

Healing
I desire my own healing work, and the healing I facilitate for others, to come from a place of empowerment. I strongly believe we all have the capacity to bring healing into our lives, but sometimes it helps to have someone alongside who has already been there and can hold space.

Embodiment
Embodiment is a strong secondary theme for me, and embodying lessons learned from a place of power is important for me in my journey right now.

Community
Relationships are incredibly important to me, and they inform my values and are a source of inspiration. The community I’ve been cultivating in my life is very important to me and my social justice values come from a place of community. I included this because I want to empower my community and be empowered by the people in my own community of friends and family.

Self
Even though this one seems straightforward, there are a lot of layers to this one. I want to empower my connection to my higher self, but I also desire to give myself the unconditional love and support I need. While relationships are important to me, my connection to myself has been growing over the past year, and I can sense I’m ready to step into a greater place of power in who I am and what I desire to co-create in the world.

Purpose
It’s time to put more focus and power behind my own work and my own purpose in the world. I’ve been going deeper into what that means the past year, and this year I’m ready to empower it into being in a deeper way as well!

After determining my words for this year, I was inspired to create a card spread with the purpose of receiving guidance to support me towards my goals, and I’m sharing it here for you to use as well! You can also use it to gain inspiration or confirmation for your words or themes for the year. I hope you enjoy it!

Word of the Year Spread (1)

May your voice be freed even more in the new year, and may 2019 be full of joy, peace, and abundant blessings in all forms! And so it is.

Lots of love,

~Marieke

 

Free Your Voice, Voice Work

Coming in 2019: FYV Coaching!

Introducing Free Your Voice Coaching!

This is not a typical life, business, or voice coaching program. This coaching program has some similar components, but is focused on healing your voice wounds and guiding you through all the elements of freeing your voice, including healing work, voice work, and akashic record sessions to help you dig deep and fully embody what you learn through practice.

Singing, spiritual connection, and voice work (especially when combined with energy work) are all transformational. They also require PRACTICE in order to become second nature. One Free Your Voice session can give you tools to support your voice, but can easily be forgotten without continued feedback instead of becoming second nature.

 
I’m ready to work with people who are passionate about sharing their purpose and calling with the world. My ideal clients are 100% committed to freeing their voice, and willing to do regular work to be empowered to heal their voices physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
 
These customizable Free Your Voice Coaching 3-month packages are available starting in January 7th, and will be limited to 5-8 people.
 
2-4 sessions/month including:
* Akashic Sessions focused on freeing your voice by clearing anything holding you back, healing any voice-related wounds, and more
* Free Your Voice sessions (energy healing/balancing and energetic voice work) customized to your goals and vocal needs
* Ongoing access to me for support
 
This program will also be available on a sliding scale, starting at $100/month for 2 sessions a month, including flexible payment plans.
Package options:
Mini Package: For smaller budgets or those who have already worked with me regularly
2 sessions per month (for a total of 6 – at least 2 Akashic sessions)
Messenger or text support
$300-900 sliding scale (Payment options available)
Spacious Package: For those who need a little more space in their schedule
3 sessions per month (for a total of 9 – at least 2 Akashic sessions)
Messenger or text support
$450-1,350 sliding scale (Payment options available)
Focused Package: For those ready to dig deep!
4 sessions per month (for a total of 12 – at least 3 Akashic sessions)
Messenger or text support
$600-1,800 sliding scale (Payment options available)
 
Contact me at hello@mariekeschwartz.com for details, or set up a free info call here to see if we’re a good fit: tofreeyourvoice.as.me/infosession
Consciousness, Free Your Voice, Personal Writings, Poetry

[Poem] The Moment

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I wake up and I feel the heaviness settle in
discouragement
disillusionment
wondering… why?
what am I doing wrong?

Tears fall and I must decide
to change
to leave
or
to accept
this

I step outside… to change
I breathe in the crisp morning air
chaos surrounds me
cars start
school children leave
sirens race past
insects devour plants

Yet my mind becomes quiet
I feel like the eye of the storm
then
the cacophony surrounding me stills
my heart is stilled
peace is in the morning air
joy is in the dew on the grass

I am joy.
I am love.
I am the calm in the storm.

================================

© 2018 Marieke Schwartz

May be freely shared with proper attribution and link back

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Free Your Voice, Video, Voice Work

Discovering Your Voice

In the previous article, I shared a way for you to Ground Your Voice – the foundation of Free Your Voice sessions.

There are four primary elements to the voice work: Grounding, Discovering, Freeing, and Balancing.

Initial sessions typically address Grounding and Discovering to varying degrees. As you build that foundation (and depending on your goals and skills), future sessions will delve in to more Freeing and Balancing work.

This video demonstrates the expansive work of discovering your voice and its capabilities, range, and power.

 

Book a free info session here to learn more.

How do you feel after doing this exercise? Let me know how this was helpful to you!