As I said in the first baby step post, this month, I want to highlight 31 ways to baby step your way into a more mindful and healthful life. Some of the tips will be advice already stated or implied in previous posts, while some will be brand new. This post provides the third and an explanation. The idea is to start at the beginning and accumulate as many mindful and healthful habits as you'd like to sustain by the conclusion of the month. It's similar to that icebreaker where you're in a circle of people and you need to repeat all of the members' names in order... it's a challenge, but you'll feel great at making progress and it'll help you see how far you've come from the 1st to the 31st!
Baby Step # 3
Increase (double?) your intake of water
This is the first concrete suggestion in this series. Now that you've contemplated and begun working on your self-love, positive affirmations, decision to make a change, and realistic goal-setting, you need to get down to business with a concrete health habit. This is a universally helpful and healthful one.
According to an article from The Atlantic (from 2013), "the average United States person is drinking 38 percent more water than 15 years ago." It goes on to say that "Americans on average are down to 44 gallons of soda per year, and up to about 58 gallons of water." And the Mayo Clinic suggests, "if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or light yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate."
No need to specifically worry about 8 or 9 or 10 glasses of water a day, but increasing your water and decreasing other liquids will help you to feel better each day. Eliminating sugary sodas, chemical-filled mixes, and overly-caffeinated drinks will give your body the hydration it needs.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the following about what water does for/ in the body:
- Keeps its temperature normal.
- Lubricates and cushions your joints.
- Protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues.
- Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
Also, Psychology Today suggests that dehydration makes focused attention more difficult. It can also "impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory." Many of the brain's basic functions are influenced by our water intake. The same article specifically mentions the "ability to perform mental arithmetic, like calculating whether or not you'll be late for work if you hit snooze for another 15 minutes" as practical reasons for being mindful of drinking enough water daily.
To aid in all of these bodily functions, drink a large glass of water first with every meal or in between meals, or if you already do that, replace [all] soda pop with water. [***In fact... WATER BOMB*** please go drink a glass right now.***] For some of us this in and of itself is a challenge worthy of month's efforts. If you go week by week, just aim to get more this week than last until you are up to your desired amount in the final week of the month.
As I've mentioned in a previous post, if you don't enjoy the taste of "plain" water try seltzer water (one of my professors swears he drinks more water now than ever before since getting one of those Soda Stream machines--he just pumps the water with carbonation and omits the sweetener), unsweetened iced tea, or water with any of the following add-ins: sliced fruit (strawberries, lemon, lime, orange, blueberries, apples), sliced vegetables (cucumbers), or herbs (mint, rosemary).
Check out these posts from A Farm Girl's Dabbles and Cha Ching Queen for some delicious combinations (and pretty pictures!).
Or check out these Making Mindfulness posts for a little water-drinking motivation and inspiration:
Delicious Calorie-Free Alternatives to Powdered Drink Mixes
How to Improve Your Diet Without Dieting
Bump Up Your Buggy, Transform Your Trolly, Convert Your Cart
Labels: Go Ahead--Try It!, Life, Mind & Body, Mindful Baby Steps, Mindful Eating