Updated: Jan 6
It's common for most people to get sick once or twice a year, often when the seasons change. But for actors, singers, and performers, getting sick is simply unacceptable! A healthy body and voice are necessary for a great performance, and nobody wants to give a sub-par performance because of a stupid cold.
Feeling the beginnings of a sore throat? Or just looking for some preventative measures? Don't let your understudy steal your spotlight! Here are a few helpful tips to give your immune system a major boost, so you can be your best for every single performance.
1. Get adequate Vitamin D.
Vitamin D, the so-called "sunshine vitamin," is crucial for the immune system, and many of us are not getting enough. People with darker skin are particularly susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. It's best to get your vitamin D primarily from sunlight, but If you live in a higher latitude region that doesn't get sunlight for much of the year, you most likely will want to take a supplement. Personally, ever since I started taking a vitamin D supplement a couple years ago, I haven't been sick at all! (Knock on wood.)
Get a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test, also called 25(OH)D, to see what your vitamin D status is. There is some disagreement among experts about what the ideal levels should be, but the best estimates generally put the ideal range between 35 and 50 ng/mL. Vitamin D toxicity is possible, so if you are supplementing, it's important not to take too much. Generally 2,000-5,000 IUs a day is safe. (Always take D3, never D2.) During the sunnier months you can take less. Get tested again after 2-3 months to make sure you're not too low or too high.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It's important to take vitamin D with vitamin K2. Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium, but K2 makes sure that the calcium is directed to the bones and teeth rather than the soft tissues of the body. Too much vitamin D without K2 puts you at risk for calcification of the arteries.
This is the combination vitamin D3/K2 supplement I recommend. It is from a trusted, high-quality company called Thorne. Their products have pure ingredients; no fillers, no toxins, no allergens. And everything is third party tested for quality assurance.
2. Get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation depresses the immune system. To avoid getting sick, make sure you're getting enough sleep every night. Also, sleep consolidates memory and is really important for learning your lines efficiently! Most of us need between 7-9 hours. I know it can be tough when you have a busy schedule, but here are a few tips to make sure you're getting quality sleep.
Avoid blue light at night - Exposure to blue light blocks melatonin and causes our brains to remain awake and alert. Blue light is mainly emitted by electronic screens, so around bedtime try to avoid TVs, computers, and cell phones. If you must use your devices at night, there are apps you can download that turn down blue light. Or try wearing amber-colored blue light blocking glasses. This pair, sold on Amazon, has been lab-tested to ensure it blocks 95% of blue light.
Limit or avoid caffeine after noon - You may not realize that your afternoon coffee (or even tea) is contributing to your difficulty sleeping at night. The truth is, individuals metabolize caffeine at different rates. Avoid all afternoon caffeine consumption for a week or two and see if it makes a difference for you.
Use natural remedies - There are several natural remedies you can incorporate into your night routine to help you relax and fall asleep. Magnesium, especially used topically as a spray or as flakes dissolved in a bath, is great for relaxing the muscles and calming the body. Most of us are quite deficient in magnesium, so using topical magnesium is a great way to ensure you're getting more of it into your system. Here is the magnesium oil spray I recommend; it is lab-tested for purity. Essential oils such as lavender or chamomile are also great for unwinding and getting ready for bed. Put them in a diffuser or put a couple drops on your neck or feet at night. This particular blend, made with all organic ingredients, is a mix of lavender, ylang ylang, clary sage, and bergamot, specially formulated for rest and relaxation.
3. Manage and reduce stress.
Too much stress is a major contributor to illness. Even if you're running around with a hectic rehearsal schedule, it's important to take some time to calm down and de-stress. It's great to have a regular practice of some kind that helps you manage stress such as yoga, meditation, walking, journaling, or prayer.
Try this simple, calming breathing technique:
Place right thumb over right nostril as you breathe in through the left nostril. Put right ring finger over the left nostril as you exhale from the right nostril. Then do the opposite. Inhale from the right nostril and exhale from the left nostril. Do this multiple times.
4. Avoid junk food.
When you're busy and on the go it's tempting to just get the nearest fast food or snacks you can find. But beware! Junk food and especially foods with too much sugar can really be a blow to your immune system. Aim to eat nutrient-dense whole foods as much as you can.
5. Use bee products.
Bees are incredible creatures! The various substances they create, such as raw honey, propolis, and royal jelly, are amazing for boosting the immune system.
My favorite bee products come from Beekeeper's Naturals. Their products are all natural and rigorously tested to make sure they are of the highest quality, purity, and potency. Feeling a sore throat coming on? Or just want to protect your voice from any infections? Try their bee propolis throat spray. For a big overall health boost, try their B. Powered Superfood Honey. It's a mix of royal jelly, bee pollen, bee propolis, and raw honey. Take one teaspoon a day as a supplement for resilience and mental clarity!
6. Use medicinal mushrooms.
Various medicinal mushrooms have all kinds of health benefits! Many are great for boosting the immune system, reducing stress, or providing energy and focus. Try this Multi-Mushroom Complex. It's a blend of turkey tail, reishi, shiitake, lion's mane, chaga, cordyceps, and maitake mushrooms, specially formulated for immune system support.
7. Use essential oils.
Most essential oils have antimicrobial properties and are amazing for enhancing the immune system and protecting the body from illness. Try Ancient Fortress, a blend of organic clove, orange, ginger, thyme, and cinnamon essential oils formulated for immune system support.
Warning: essential oils are extremely concentrated, potent substances. Be sure not to use too much! Using too much over time may actually cause you to develop an allergy. One or two drops is usually plenty. Diluting essential oils with a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil is also good practice.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon.com and I will earn a commission if you click through the relevant links in this post and make a purchase.