Have a drink of water.
I could probably stop the article there. In fact, I'll pause for a minute, go and grab a glass of water now, and whilst I wait for you to get back - I'll expand a little bit upon the benefits of making sure you’re drinking enough water during the day.
For all of the articles on wellbeing, finding your purpose, investing motivating work, social connections and the endless recommendations on what you should be doing - if they’re not built upon the foundations of better physical health, you’re always going to be fighting a losing battle. Eating well, sleeping well, getting exercise, and staying hydrated.
The simplest of these: make sure you’re drinking enough water during the day.
Countless studies show that drinking plain water and staying well hydrated plays a vital part in looking after our mental health and drinking enough water can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. Even mild dehydration takes its toll - which might occur as part of just forgetting to have a drink during the day, can lead to drops in your mood, poorer concentration and poorer memory.
The NHS recommends 1.5 litres a day - but the right amount is naturally dependent on many factors - the temperature, your height and weight, how much you’ve eaten or exercised - and this amount includes the water we get from food and drinks, including tea and coffee or juice, but caffeine is a diuretic (which makes you pee quicker) so can encourage the body to lose water more rapidly, and too much sugar from juice or canned drinks can lead to dips in your mood - so simple, plain water offers huge benefits.
I know personally when I’m not working at home, I drink way more water - either because I’m in coffee shops, or client offices where in meetings with a cup of coffee or glass of water, and have my bottle of water with me at all times. It acts a visual reminder to drink. But when I’m at home, I quite often go for a day forgetting to drink plain water, and will feel it by the end of the day.
So, as it approaches UN World Water Day on March 22 - here are our tips for making sure you’re getting a good amount each day:
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty:
Don’t assume your body doesn’t need water if you’re not thirsty. Get in to the habit of drinking water regularly, rather than only when you feel you need it.
Use a visual reminder:
Get yourself a reusable water bottle, large jug or carafe, and leave it in your workspace. It will act as a visual reminder to drink through the day, and as an indicator of how much you’ve drank so far. If you can use a 2L jug, that’s roughly your intake for the day.
Pair your breaks with water:
If you’re taking regular breaks during the day, use this time to take a glass of water too. If you’re not taking regular breaks, away from your screen and work, consider doing so, as this can help with focus too.
Replace other drinks with water:
Try reducing the amount of caffeinated or sugary drinks and replace them with plain water, this can help increase your water intake, and offset the loss of water from diuretics.
Mix it up:
If you’re getting bored of plain water, try adding slices of cucumber, mint or rosemary to your jug of water. The water will take on a subtle flavour. You can also get cold water infusions - like teabags for your water, which add a little something to keep it interesting.
Drink on the hour:
Fill a small glass of water at the top of every hour, and if you haven’t finished it by the top of the next hour, drink up and start over. You’ll quickly get into a habit of drinking, but also stepping away from the computer.
Wake up and Good Night:
Drink water first thing when you wake up, and before you go to sleep to offset the possible dehydration from overnight.