We all know that staying hydrated reaps many benefits – but did you know relieving stress and anxiety is one of them?
With the turmoil of recent worldwide events, picking up the pieces of our lives after quarantine, plus the warm weather – staying hydrated now is more important than ever. Why focus on something like hydration in order to help manage your stress? Check out these 3 big reasons below.
“Flight or fight” mode is the body’s response to a stressful situation – and when there’s not enough water to complete bodily mechanisms or functions, that sets off alarm bells in your body. Believe it or not, how hydrated you are can help prevent your body from going into “flight or fight” mode. Researchers now know that dehydration affects mental ability and even changes the shape of the brain. Thus, if you are well-hydrated and your brain is operating at optimal levels, you may be able to see creative solutions or dynamic actions to take in a potentially panicky situation, versus your brain running low on fumes and the ability to adapt. Preventing dehydration can help prevent a panicked state, better equipping you to move through the ups and downs of life with a clearer head.
Decrease your stress response.
When your body is dehydrated, your body’s stress response becomes heightened and even exaggerated. Stress is a key contributor to mental, physical, and emotional deterioration. Dealing with a stressful situation goes beyond wrapping your head around what’s happening – your body ignites certain processes to help deal with the oncoming challenges. Because your body is made up of over 70% water, your organs need fluids to function. In fact, researchers found that a body under stress resulted in more water loss, which prevented skin cells (your largest organ) from repairing quickly. If there’s not enough fluids in your body to help it calm down, you might start spiraling sooner than later. It’s like a car trying to run when it’s overheated. The car could be working so hard, but not really getting anywhere – and all the while, “check engine” lights and alarms start coming on, causing more panic.
A well-hydrated body helps all bodily processes move more smoothly, allowing your body and mind to move through stressful situations without the added challenge of dehydration.
Strengthen your immune system.
In a time when illness is a heightened concern, one of the most important things to focus on is your immune system. How quickly your body is able to mount its defenses can make an important difference between falling ill and being able to fight it off. Not only does the amount of stress you’re dealing with directly impact your immune system, but any amount of dehydration can lessen its ability to protect you.
Throughout the day, your body is constantly losing water – via sweat, urination, saliva, breath, and more. It is absolutely imperative that you continually replace that water – and then some.
Your lymphatic system runs side-by-side your circulatory system, and acts as a sewer system, collecting “trash” in the form of toxins, bacteria, viruses, debris, etc. from all over the body and directing it to the excretory organs so it can leave the body. However, unlike the circulatory system which has the heart as a pump, the lymph has no pump – and thus, we need to encourage it to keep flowing. A clogged lymph can cause a backup of bacteria and overload the immune system. An important way to keep the lymph flowing is to stay hydrated! This way, the lymph can flush out all of those toxins and bacteria out of the body and keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
Tips to Stay Hydrated
So now, how to do it? Here’s some simple tips to help:
SET A GOAL.
Know how many ounces you need minimum to have in a day (half your body weight in ounces), and from there set a goal for yourself on how many. Find a container or water bottle, and know how many of those containers you need to drink to hit your goal. For example, someone who weighs 200lbs needs to drink at least 100 ounces of water daily. This person has a 20 ounce water bottle – so they need to drink five of those during the day. You could keep track on a little Post-It and celebrate once you’ve hit your goal!
The earlier you start, the better! If you wait too long and drink a ton of water before bed, you can disrupt your sleep. Better yet, start your day with 16 ounces of water with half a lemon’s juice squeezed in to flush out your body’s toxins and jumpstart your day!
HYDRATE SMARTER, NOT HARDER.
Make sure you’re truly hydrating your cells! Plain old water is great, but you can take some steps to really make sure your cells are able to absorb the hydration you’re working so hard to provide. Make sure your electrolyte balance is good – and there are plenty of natural ways to do this.
Another Tool For Your Self-Care Toolbox
Yes, staying hydrated is a form of self-care! When you hydrate your body, you are nourishing and blessing your cells with the gift of water. Your cells rejoice when they have what they need to function at their best. With every sip, you’re loving on your body in a simple yet powerful way.
It is my hope that staying hydrated is another great addition to your collection of self-care tools including meditation and breathing techniques, epsom salt baths, the foods you eat, good sleep, earthing, sunshine, and more. Cheers to #morejoylessstress – by making sure you’re hydrated!
Here’s some more tips on hydration:
- How To Clean Your Water: 5 Toxins To Avoid + My Favorite Filter
- Top 3 Hydration Hacks: How To Get the Most Out of Your Water
- Sign up for the Hydration Challenge and get extra tips & info!
Ignite the Healer within,
P.S. If you want to learn more about natural remedies, check out my online course The All-Natural Medicine Cabinet: Your Guide To Powerful Remedies For Common Ailments.