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Health and Wellness – OH NO, I’m Sick!

It’s 7am. Alarm goes off. You open your eyes…and swallow...

You have a sore throat! The sickness is coming! But you have auditions, gigs, clients and agents to keep happy! What are you going to do? Well – Anne and Gabby have you covered! They talk about some of their go-to remedies and some strategies on communicating with your clients when you just don’t have a voice.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. You are human! Be honest with your clients, they will understand when you’re sick!

  2. You can fight through the early stages of a cold, before you sound bad. Get your recording in and then rest!

  3. Rest, fluids, tea, and honey will help make you comfortable and protect your throat.

  4. If you have any serious symptoms, please go see your doctor.

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

The VO Peeps Immunity Spray is great for a sore throat
Throat Coat Tea or anything with slippery elm is great for your throat too
Check out the VO Peeps Store for other great vocal products!


VO: Today’s voices need to be more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss. A VO BOSS Set yourself up with Business Owner Strategies and Success with your host Anne Ganguzza along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss. A VO BOSS Anne: Hey everybody! Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m Anne Ganguzza your host along with my wonderful, amazing co-host, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby. Gabby: Hi Anne! How ya feelin’? Anne: Well Gabby… …Oh No! I’m Sick! I’m getting sick and I’ve got a session. So, this I think is a good time to talk about that, actually, for our episode, because what do we do when we’re getting sick or what do we do when we’re sick? How do we handle it? How do we talk to our clients? What do you do, Gabby, when you get sick? Gabby: Well, I mean, we’ve all been there. And it’s going to happen. And if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it’s coming, okay? It’s just the way it goes. Anne: How many threads on social media what to do? Gabby: Yeah. I think initially, people freak out any they panic. Okay. So let’s kind of break down a couple things here. First and foremost, if you’re at the very beginning stages of a cold, you probably think you sound worse than you really do. Anne: Yes, that’s me. I’m at the beginning stages, Gabby. Gabby: Yeah, but you don’t sound bad at all. I think that for a client to notice, they would have to really, really know your voice super intimately. And most of them don’t. You know, beginning stages, early phase, you can usually fight and plow through. If you’re at that point though, where you’re really… it’s like chest congestion and your nose is stuffed up. And yeah, you’re just… Anne: Nasal! Gabby: or have lost your throat. I mean, I’ve had plenty, plenty of instances where I’ve lost my voice with a cold and had like a whole laryngitis thing going on. Well, and I mean, we’ve talked about this before, you are allowed to be sick! Yeah, like news flash! Hello! You’re allowed to be sick. Anne: It’s okay! We’re giving you permission. Gabby: You just have to kind of fess up. Yes, you want to call your client. Yes, you want to apologize, but it’s not like they’re going to not understand. Is there a chance you might lose a job? Yeah. Maybe. But in many instances I have found that they’re just as nice to reschedule. I don’t think I’ve ever lost a job because of a cold. The client has just gone, well, can we play it by ear over the next few days and see how you’re feeling so we can get you at first avail. Yeah, of course. Anne: I think Gabby, I think that is the absolute, you hit the nail on the head, right there. Because I think the fear for most people is that they’re going to lose money, they’re going to lose income and they’re afraid. And so I think you’re absolutely right. If you talk to your client, you know, we’re human! You explain, look, my voice is going and what are the possibilities of maybe pushing this a couple of days. I’ve done that myself many times. As a matter of fact, I woke up this morning and I went… Oh no! And I will say, that time of day, if you know your body, know yourself. I knew that ultimately if I drank enough fluids that it would start to come out, but this morning when I woke up, I barely had a voice. And I thought, oh no! I had an audition due at 9 o’clock. I couldn’t do it! And no matter… I tried to swallow, you know, hot tea with honey and I just had to email my agent and say, I’m so sorry, I have to pass on this one. But now I’ve got a job that’s due, by the end of the day today and I think I can probably, I can probably pull it off, but I also think that if I contacted my client and I said, Look, you know, can we push this a couple of days? My voice isn’t in tip top shape. I think they would be very understanding and that is so important for everyone to know. That we are human. It’s okay. Talk to your clients. Open up that dialogue of communication. I think that they’ll understand. Gabby: They will. Year ago when I worked in rock radio, I had gotten sick one time and I had to call in and I was really apologetic to my PD and I was really, really worried and he said, “You know, there’s a difference between being human and being negligent.” and he goes, “Look. It’s not like you went to a show last night and blew your voice out screaming for 45 minutes like a lunatic fan. You got sick.” SO yeah, I mean, most people are going to be accepting of that and are going to be okay with it. But there are defintiely things you can do, I mean, the internet is nothing but a slew of remedies and quick fixes and things. Anne: For sure. For sure. Gabby: The things that I like, I’m a big fan of the throat coat tea. I like anything with slippery elm root. Anne: Tea in general. Gabby: Yeah. I like anything with slippery elm root in it. Slippery elm root, you can actually go to herbalists and you can get it by itself and that’s what I do and I just it’s awful. The stuff is…and I will tell you, it’s disgusting. You don’t frink it for the flavor, that’s for sure. Anne: That I know. That I do know. I’ve had it. Gabby: The texture is heinous as well. But what it does is it creates a really, really epic coating on the inside of your throat that makes the scratchies and the pain go away so that you can continue to function or fight through. Acidity, lemon juice to help cut mucus and ickies. Anne: Tea with honey. Gabby: Yeah, honey’s great. I like hot. I go for hot sauces. Garlic. Things that are really, really pungent that will clean out my sinuses super quick. Anne: Because I won’t be in the booth with you, Gabby! Gabby: Yeah, it’s true! No, I mean, seriously, like I’m hardcore. I go to there’s this great Mexican restaurant not far from my house and I, when I’m sick, will walk in and they know. They know exactly what I want. Because there’s a chicken soup that they make and they give me…they give me hot sauce that is so hot it would peel wallpaper. I mean this stuff is… Anne: Yeah, so you can sweat out those toxins. Gabby: …out of control. Yeah and they don’t even sell it. It’s like private stock. Like, the for the chefs and the staff and they’ll give me like a little tiny like shot glass of that and I just dump it in my soup and it’s painful and I will suffer through that, and yeah, it helps. It helps tremendously. And you know, neti pots are great. Some people like those, hot water, just steam in general. Anne: I have…exactly. And rest. I have this whole thing where I try to, of course prevent, but in the event that you can’t prevent, as I was mentioning to you earlier, Gabby, my husband came home twice for business trips, you know, when you’re on a plane it’s a Petri dish. So, both times he came home and he had a cold and so he came home, and I can always anticipate within 3 days if I’m going to get it from him and I typically do. And this is just about 3 days starting and what can you do? In the meantime, you know you can try to be preventative so that it doesn’t hit you so hard. I like, I do some essential oils for those of you that know me, I also sell a throat spray that I make out of essential oils. I think that works really well. But again, there’s many different methods and things that you can try. I like tea with honey. I drink a lot of tea with honey and I get a lot of rest. I try to just beat that thing from the beginning. And I do like to take Zicam. I like that for a remedy. And really, that’s kind of it. I do like the hot stuff too to kind of sweat it out. And drink lots and lots and lots of water. Gabby: The other thing that I always caution people about, and I say, “Look. Holistic is great. Don’t get me wrong. I have absolutely no issue with holistic remedies and home healing and I think that those are wonderful. But also, because of the obligation that we do have to our clients, please don’t delay going to see your doctor. Please dont… Anne: Oh yeah, no, absolutely. Gabby: A lot of people do that. They try to just treat it at home. Certain things; strep throat for instance, bronchitis… Anne: Yeah. Require medicine. Gabby: Yes. And those are not things that you can self treat, so because of the nature of what we do, get ahead Anne: And go to the doctor. Gabby: Yeah. Even at that first sign. Early stage. I would rather have my doctor look at me and go, “Oh, it’s a little viral thing. You’ll be fine. You’ve just gotta sweat it out for 3 days.” Than have it become something… Anne: Well because then you know. Right. Gabby: …way bigger. Absolutely. And so I think cultures and lab work are excellent. Get them done early to be preventative in that respect. Anne: I completely agree with you and I’m going to say, you know, I do sell my essential oil, my vocal spray and remedies, but Gabby, you’re absolutely right. I don’t mess around. I have like a hybrid mixture. If I go to the doctor and he says antibiotics are going to help you, I’m going to take the antibiotics. If I have a headache, I’m going to take aspirin. I’m not to the point where I absolutely don’t take anything unless I’ve felt that it’s harmful for me. And so, you know, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a doctor check it out. Gosh knows, I’ve been to a lot of doctors in my life and so I guess I’m used to it and I would rather it least have somebody else look at it instead of self-diagnosing. Because sometimes self-diagnosing and God forbid, don’t go to the internet and Google your symptoms because, oh my gosh, that can be terrifying! Terrifying! I’ve done that way too many times and I just have to say, “No, Anne! You cannot Google your symptoms.” Not conducive to happy reading, for sure. Gabby: And I think too, if you’ve got a good relationship with your doctor and you see somebody who’s honest and upfront, they’re going to tell you. They’re going to tell you the types of things that you can treat at home, treat alternatively. Versus the things that you can’t and that’s what’s really important there. But, you know, rest is critical. The people who try to keep fighting through it, keep working through it end up making it so much worse. Sometimes it’s easier to just say, “Hey guys, I’m under the weather. I need to take a day, day in a half to rest to nip it in the bud, rather than have it become a way, way, way worse illness. For so many people it’s not only that fear of losing clients, but I think it is that fear of vulnerability. I don’t know why nobody wants their clientele to understand that they’re human and they have a life and that they have limitations. I think limitations are healthy, guys. It’s perfectly okay. It’s alright to express your needs and sometimes you have to express your needs first. Even if it does mean a slight disappointment for someone else. They’ll get over it. Anne: Well I think, also I think too, if you talk to your client and you express, “You know, I’m under the weather and I need to take care of this.” That just shows that you’re caring about your product Right? Your product which is you, your voice. And that I think is something that can be fun in a positive light. And, let’s just say you have laryngitis, or whatever, if you’re feeling okay, I still always recommend rest, whether… a lot of people feel okay and they still go to work. That’s how these things get spread. My husband goes to work and he’s like, “Oh my God, like 10 people had colds in the office!” and I’m always like “Why, why? Why do they go in?” But I think there are there are things you can do if you don’t have your voice fully, that are conductive to productivity in your business. Gabby: There are. But I think, too, preventative measures are sometimes a little bit lax for voice actors because we do tend to work from home and because we’re isolated and really, we’re only exposed to our own germs all the time. I tell folks that what you have to realize, and I’m very vocal about this in my family and with my friends; because I live and work in a bubble, and I don’t have a lot of exposure to other people, I tell folks my immune system has in essence, suffered from that. So, I’m just about guaranteed that if I’m out in a big group of people, if I travel, I’m going to get sick. So, I do things, that you know, I keep Lysol spray around the office. I keep hand sanitizer. They’re just good practices to get into because they can help. They can make a big difference just around your home and around your studio. Anne: And sometimes just getting out though, I’m going to say actually helps because as we know, prior to doing voiceover, I worked in a public educational institution where, you know, people every day, I was really healthy. You know, and I think it was because I had had exposure. So, you know, sometimes I think, get out of the bubble. Get out and you know, try to be healthy about it. Get out there with people and interact and mingle. And you know, there’s so many people that get so angry. Sometimes when we go out to these VO conferences, right. And oh my goodness, I saw a thread on it the other day. Gabby: The conference crud! Anne: The conference crud! And people just get angry you know, because they come home sick. Well, you have to kind of expect that, you know, you are kind of in a bubble and when you go out, you know, it’s bound to happen. Especially during the cold and flu season. Gabby: I have a great story on that. Lewis here recently, who’s my partner in crime in the studio, he went to an even that was an improv event where it was improvers from all over the country coming together in this one event to take different workshops and work with different coaches. And one of the first things that happened in one of these classes, and he said it was HUGE, there was 30, 40 people in this class, was that the instructor gave them an exercise that broke down the touch barrier immediately. So he goes, you’ve got 40 some odd complete strangers hugging and touching each other. And he goes, as a voice actor, he’s like, I was repulsed! He was like, why? Why are we touching? What are all? Uhh! Sure enough he got sick! But you know, yeah, I think that we are, we’re the only category of actors that are as people isolated as we are. Most other actors are constantly around other folks, so yeah, the exposure to germs is more consistent. Anne: And sometimes, even if you are in the bubble, like I said, my husband came home from a business trip with it, and you know, as much as…and the funny thing is, is like, I tell this story. I was so excited to see him. Because, you know Jerry, right? He was gone for two weeks. Gabby: Holy cow. Anne: He had one show back to back in Hawaii and then he went from Hawaii to Florida. And, you know, those shows for him, he works hard. So he went to a show a month ago and came back with a cold, of course. I tried everything, you know. He said, you can’t don’t touch me! As soon as I saw him at the airport, don’t touch me! I have a cold! Because he knows me! And i’m like, Oh! Bummer! But this last time when he came home, I was so excited to see him. He was gone for two weeks. I even cried. I was so excited. I was so happy, right? And I’m clapping in the car as I pull over and lo and behold he puts his suitcase in the back and he’s like, don’t touch me! I have a cold! And I was like, Oh my God, I’m so upset. And I said, Jerry, I just can’t! I have to hug you! You’ve been gone too long! So, even if you are in a bubble, you know, people, you can still get sick when people are coming into your home. It happens. Gabby: And we all need the t-shirt that says, “My husband went to Hawaii and and all I got was this stupid cold.” Anne: He brought home macadamia nuts, though. Gabby: Ooh. Nice. Anne: SO, that was good. I wanted papaya. But… You know, next time he goes. Love papaya. Gabby: Out of season. Wrong time of year. Anne: Right? It was actually. Because he couldn’t find it to save his life at the airports. Usually you can ship that stuff home. *sighs* Anyways… Gabby: It is going to happen, guys. You can review the remedies and those things that work for you and use them But for the most part, there’s not going to be a secret fix. There’s not going to be any one thing that ultimately is going to get you out of a tight spot. You have to know the handful of tools or tricks that you can use to help you to fight through. I had a session a long time ago. It was actually one of my first nationals and I was having really horrific allergy symptoms. So, I mean, even though I technically wasn’t sick, I mean, I was. I sounded horrible, my throat was on fire, I was stuffed up, all that stuff. And I let it be up to them. I was very honest with them, I was very upfront. The client said, no, no your fine! We’re going to proceed. So I spent the entire session sucking on lemon wedges and drinking basically what was tea spiked with hot sauce because it helped me to be able to get clear enough to get through the session and then the minute it was done, I literally, I was done. I was like, Ok, well now I can go crawl into bed. And… Anne: *clears throat* [music plays] Anne: See there, I have to clear my throat. Excuse me. Um, but you’re right. Even if you’re sick or if it’s allergies, or even if you’re emotional, right? So, as I just mentioned, I’m crying. You know, because I’m so happy that my husband came home. For a good reason right? Good reason, bad reason. Whatever the reason. I can’t… I know myself. I can’t get in the studio after I cry because i need at least an hour to recover because otherwise I sound nasal. So, no matter what you do. If you’re not able to get in your studio, and do voice work. Well, guess what? That’s a great time to do marketing work! Or anything else that doesn’t require the use of your voice. So, use your time. Your business doesn’t have to be completely shut down. If you’re feeling well enough, right? And you just don’t have a voice. Or, you need to recover from that good cry that you just had, or your allergies even, you know, for your medicine to kick in. You can spend that time being productive. and doing all those things on your marketing list or what you need to do to expand your business. Gabby: And every once in a while. It happens. Don’t just ignore your auditions because you’re upset, because, oh, I can’t book anything because I sound terrible. Also, don’t beat yourself up about them, but open them, look at them. There are many times that you will come across something that you’ll go, oh! You know what? Maybe I can still pull that off. Even though I’m not feeling too hot. Anne: Exactly. Exactly. Gabby: It can sometimes yield an odd advantage. I’ve had that happen too. Well, from my audition this morning it wasn’t going to yield an advantage only because I didn’t have a voice. I had morning voice plus I had you know, whenever I inflected upward, I lost it. So, I didn’t have a voice. But now, I probably could do that audition and so, if that happens, you never know, You could contact your agent and say, “Hey. I’m feeling better. Maybe I could submit it a little bit later to you.” Leave your options open. You know? And takeways. I think the biggest takeaway from this is really, we’re human. It’s okay. People get sick. Be upfront about it. Talk to your client. Chances are they’re human too. Chances are that they’re going to understand and you don’t have to worry so much that you’re going to lose your client, lose your job. They’re going to understand. They hired you because they wanted your voice. And so, you know, I think that it’s not like you refuse to do their job because of whatever reason. It’s because something human happened to you and they’re going to understand that. Gabby: Absolutely. So, why are we still talking, woman? You have an audition to go do. Anne: I do. I have a job to go do actually. And an audition. So, fantastic you guys. Gabby, it’s been an interesting episode, right? Gabby: Indeed. Anne: I’m feeling better already. I’m going to go make some tea with my honey and do my own remedies and get to work. Thanks Gabby for talking me into that! Gabby: Anytime! We’ll continue with what we’re going to call the “Health and Wellness” portion of the podcast in the future. I know we’re going defintiely be doing some… Anne: Yeah. A lot of people want to know about that. Gabby: …episodes on emotional intelligence. A little different side of the wellness spectrum, but that’s coming. In the meantime, a big thanks to our sponsor ipDTL. You too can record like a boss! You just gotta find out more at Anne: You guys, from all of us at the podcast, have a kick-butt week! Stay healthy. Stay focused and rock your business like a boss. A VO BOSS Like us on Facebook. Go ahead! Where? Gabby: You can like us on Facebook @vobosspodcast and Twitter @vo_boss Anne: And you can subscribe to us on iTunes and Stitcher.

VO: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host, Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved. Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.