Do you frequently experience minor health issues like dry mouth, dry skin, loss of focus, headaches, fatigue or digestive issues? If you’re otherwise healthy and doing everything else right (sleeping well, getting 30 minutes of daily activity, eating healthy), one thing you might be missing is including enough water in your daily diet.
Not staying adequately hydrated may cause one, or some of the above problems. And as the summer sets in across the country and the mercury begins to inch upwards, even routine activities like walking to the bus stop or carrying shopping bags can drain the moisture out of you. Drinking water when you’re thirsty seems obvious enough when you think about it, but surprisingly, many people do just that. It may not seem that much of a priority, or it might just seem more appealing to get a cold, sugary beverage instead. Over time, ignoring your body’s need for water might turn into a habit.
So how do you retrain yourself to meet your daily hydration goals? Here are some steps that might help.
Do it mindfully. You wake up, rub your bleary eyes and reach out for that phone. Right? Tonight, before you go to sleep, try something different. Instead of the phone, put your water bottle in the first place you’d look when you open your eyes the next morning. Have a rule that until you drink a certain amount of water, say 500 ml to 1 litre, you will not check any of your gadgets. You should also drink water before you go to bed, but keep the quantity just enough to avoid mid-sleep bathroom breaks that might interfere with your sleep.
Keep refilling the bottle at your desk. Sometimes we may just be too busy or lazy to get up and fill that bottle of water, even when thirst strikes. To prevent that from happening—and also to reduce the chances of drinking something unhealthy, like a soft drink—keep a full bottle of water ready at your desk. Fill it up as soon as it’s empty, or else you might put it off for later. Keeping a full bottle within sight will be your best chance to meet your daily quota.
Carry a bottle outside. Water and other drinks are easily available outside, which is why many people prefer not carrying a bottle from home. But carrying your own helps you make a better choice both for your health and for our plastic-choked environment.
Eat water-rich vegetables and fruits: Some fruits and vegetables that are over 90% water include watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, cantaloupes, celery and zucchini. Oranges, tomatoes, bell peppers and cauliflowers also have a large amount of water. Other alternatives include coconut water, unsweetened yoghurt, healthy soups and skimmed milk. Incorporate these into your diet on a regular basis.
Ice up your drink: Whether you’re drinking a fresh fruit juice, a glass of cold milk or a smoothie, add a few cubes of ice to improve its hydration profile a few notches. Even if you’re having a sugary drink, dilute it with some ice to make it healthier.
Get innovative with tasty water: You can add mint leaves, cucumber, lime, lemon or watermelon in a jug of water and leave it in the fridge for a yummy flavoured drink. Even non-sugary teas help, and if you’re worried about the bitter taste, just add a little honey.
Set a reminder on your phone: Forgetting to drink water is a very real scenario for many of us. There are many apps out there that prompt users to drink water to meet their daily targets. Even a good old-fashioned alarm will also do the job. It may be irritating at first, but remember: it’s good for you, and it’s also a good way for you to take a mini break, stretch your legs and go have a quick chat with your co-workers.
The above advice might seem obvious enough, but remember that the human mind tends to learn and unlearn habits quite fast. Giving it a little push with small things like using a stylish water bottle and funny silicone straws, or competing with your friends to meet your daily water target can rewire your brain circuits to make it a part of your routine.