This time of year, much of North America is experiencing drier and colder climate conditions. Those of us that live in the Northern half of the continent experience it even more, although this year has brought cold, dry and snowy weather to many areas that aren’t particularly used to it.
The result? Dehydration is spreading like wild fire and the annual epidemic of dehydration is upon us. I jest, but it is indeed an important issue to address.
Proper hydration is important for a number of reasons. Your body is mostly water, so it makes sense that becoming even slightly dehydrated will have an effect on how your body functions. Take a moment to think about how you have felt during the last couple of weeks…
-Have you been tired? Had a mild headache? Notice your skin is dry and flaky? Have you had any cold symptoms? Have you been moody? Have you lacked energy? Have you been constipated?
All of these are symptoms of mild dehydration. Annoying, but hardly life threatening. However, if you could feel better with just a couple small changes, why wouldn’t you?
And please don’t let me down play dehydration. More severe dehydration can be life threatening and even mild dehydration over a long period of time can cause significant issues such as high cholesterol, kidney stones and severe constipation.
So what can we do?
Here are 10 simple ways to stay hydrated:
1) Take a glass of water to bed with you. If you wake up in the middle of the night, sip some water. When you wake up in the morning, drink whatever is remaining. Often we start our day already dehydrated. This solves that problem.
2) Make breakfast healthy and hydrating. Start your day off with ½ a grapefruit. Grapefruit is very juicy, and that juice is filled with all sorts of great nutrition (and it tastes great too).
3) Lay off the caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates you. I know it is unrealistic to ask most people to give up their daily caffeine…so I won’t do that. Simply drink a little less.
4) Drink herbal teas. Most herbal teas are caffeine free and are a welcoming treat when it’s cold and snowy outside! Maybe consider substituting some of your caffeinated drinks with herbal tea). If you don’t enjoy tea, try a cup of hot water with lots of lemon.
5) Eat soup. Another great way to stay warm and hydrated, a good soup can also be delicious. Consider making your own home-made soup or look for low sodium versions in the stores.
6) Make water delicious. If you aren’t a fan of plain ol’ water, jazz it up a bit. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator and add cut up fruit and herbs to flavor it up. Some of my favorites: lemon & rosemary/ cucumber & mint/ melon, cucumber, strawberry.
7) Carry a water bottle with you at all times, so you can sip throughout the day.
8) Avoid long, hot showers. I know they feel great when it’s cold outside, but the hot water actually robs skin of moisture. Quick, warm showers are a much healthier option.
9) Moisturize your skin properly. I will have a whole post on this soon!!
10) Cover your skin when you are outside. The cold dry air of winter will suck your skin dry. Wear gloves to protect your hands, even when it’s not frigidly cold.
I’m sure there are more great ideas out there, but I think this is a good start. But now comes the important part. It is all well and good to read the list and say to yourself “oh yes, these are simple enough, I could do these”…you have to actually do them for them to work. So please, take another look at the list and pick 1 or 2 that you want to implement, and then take steps right now to make sure they happen. If you think, yes my hands are always dry and I often forget my gloves – go find your gloves and put them in your coat pockets. Find that big water pitcher and fill it up. Locate that water bottle your banks gave you when you opened a new account, stock your herbal teas etc. Just take one step to ensure you get back on the road to good hydration. Your body will thank you!
I look forward to chatting with you again, over a big glass of lemon-rosemary water! ;-)
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.