Yup, I’m starting my July mental health series with water. Good old, bland, water. We need it. Our bodies are 60-70% water. Dehydration can begin before you start to feel thirsty. Symptoms include: dizziness, headache, irritability, and delirium (in more extreme cases). How can you expect to get your mental health in line if you are struggling with dehydration? The brain is about 73% water after all. So why are you not drinking more water?
“Water is not tasty!!” I’m not arguing this point. I said the same thing for many years. The reality of this situation is “water is not tasty” is no longer an excuse to not drink it. You can add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, orange, strawberry, etc. to help it taste better. You can add in mint (the herb–don’t go dropping candy in there) for a more refreshing flavor. Several companies including Dasani and Crystal Light sell drops you can add to your water to enhance the flavor with no sugar (or at least very little). Quite frankly I don’t bother with any of that stuff. When I first committed to drinking more water about 7 years ago, I started off by drinking water that was very cold. I’m talking lots of ice. Tons. Do what works for you to improve the flavor without adding a lot of sugar or sugar-substitutes.
“Constantly refilling my water glass is inconvenient!!” I’m not arguing this point either. I’m saying to go out and get yourself a water bottle. Mine is by Nalgene and holds about 24 ounces of water. It looks like this. I only have to refill it twice to get my minimum recommended amount of water. (If you are worried about the cost, in the last 7 years I have only had to buy 2.) You obviously do not need to buy the same water bottle as I have. There are many other types (twist cap, wide-mouth, aluminum, etc.) sold by Nalgene and other companies as well.
“How will I remember to drink all that water?!!” There’s an app for that. There are many apps for that as a matter of fact. I have tried three different water tracking apps: Plant Nanny – Water Reminder (on iOS and Android), Waterlogged (iOS and Android), and Daily Water Balance Tracker (on iOS; Daily Water Tracker Reminder on Android). I currently use both Waterlogged and Daily Water Balance Tracker because there are aspects I like about each one. Daily Water Balance Tracker will send you a notification to drink based on the schedule you set. Waterlogged leaves an annoying badge icon that reminds you how many ounces you have left to drink. So I use these apps in tandem.
“I’ll be going to the bathroom all the time!!” Yes, yes, you will. If I can make time for bathroom breaks in between patients you can take out some time during your work day as well. If your job truly does not permit bathroom breaks every couple of hours consider drinking most of the water before and after work. Just please be sure to drink plenty of water during your work hours as well!! This is important!! Not to mention you need to get up and stretch your legs anyway.
I have full faith in your ability to increase your water intake!! Start with a small goal, like 32 ounces per day or 2 ounces every hour you are awake. Then work your way up to the recommended minimum daily requirement (72 ounces for women, 104 ounces for men). So now, go get yourself a drink of water!!
Drink!! Drink!! Drink!!