It can be hard to form healthy habits. I get it! After all, it’s really not natural to change behaviors you’ve had for years, even if it seems like it should be simple.
For example: staying hydrated. You know that water is good for you, and even better, it’s fairly easy to get, often free, has no taste (so it doesn’t feel like a chore to force it down) and at its core, is about as natural as it gets!
But how much do you need every day? What can you do to make it more exciting? How can you build little reminders into your day in order to get properly and healthfully hydrated?
Trust your body
I’m sure you’ve heard the advice to get eight cups of water a day, and it’s not necessarily bad. It’s memorable, it gives you an actionable and easy-to-measure goal (see this list for other ideas), and it’s a lot easier (and catchier!) than the more valid advice of “how much each person really needs depends on his or her age, activity level, chronic health concerns, environment and amount of water achieved through eating foods that naturally contain water themselves.”
So, trust your body. When you’re thirsty, have a drink. Before, during and after activities like walking, running, have a little more – and remember that there’s water in other drinks and foods, and that all counts. In fact, about 20% of your daily water intake actually comes from foods.
Mix it up!
I actually like plain water. The colder the better. So flat water like this Fiji brand is perfect to keep in the fridge or pour over ice.
But if you find that just too boring, don’t be afraid to have some fun. I drink at least one sparkling La Croix water a day and it feels so fancy! It also comes in lots of flavors but is still natural, with no added sugar, colors, etc.
You can also slice up fresh fruit and add it to your water for a pretty presentation (that really does help), or consider making a nice big mug of green tea at the same time every day. You’ll start to crave it, and it’s so comforting to have a warm beverage right before bed or immediately after getting home from a long day.
Keep it close
If water is in front of me, I’ll drink it. If I have to go get it, I won’t! Convenience is the key. So before I go to my desk to work, I make sure that my refillable water bottle is full (and a little quirk is that when I use a straw, I drink more, so I always keep one handy.)
I find myself reaching for the bottle in between calls, or when I return from a meeting, and having it handy also helps reinforce the healthy habit.
To truly make a habit become a part of your routine, you have to keep at it. So find a way to build in daily tracking. I find that having a notepad for tracking right on my desk is easy. I make a little checkmark every time I drink a cup. If I see that I haven’t had many checkmarks by midday, I catch up!
It might feel silly to set an alarm at work but if you have a clock with a timer, it’s easy to program some kind of alert or reminder to go off every hour, or every other hour. It’s a nice way to force yourself to recognize that time has passed and give yourself an opportunity to quickly take a drink and then get back to work.
After a while, you may find that you naturally get the water you need without the alarms, but set yourself up for success as much as possible.
Remember when I said to trust your body? I meant it, but don’t ignore warning signs: if you feel very thirsty, notice that your skin is dry, feel weak or have muscle cramping or see that your urine is dark in color, those are indications that you may actually be dehydrated. And take extra precautions if you’re under the weather or if it’s a particularly hot day. The more you sweat, the more you need to replace that water, so take these tips and drink up!
Do you have any unusual tips or habits that help you hydrate every day? Be sure to let us know in the comments – and remember to follow us on social media for more health and lifestyle insights, including the 6 dieting myths to avoid in 2017.