I’ve been really exhausted lately and it’s more than just "my toddler hasn’t figure out how to sleep and I work a lot of hours" tired. It’s different – like breathing requires too much energy, and that’s not a fun feeling.
After a visit with my doctor and a pretty stern talk about the fact that I am not drinking enough water, I was told that dehydration can be a huge factor in why energy levels are so low. It made total sense – I was barely reaching for the water bottles and always reaching for more coffee. Not the brightest idea, but now that I knew better, I gave myself a task: make water more of a priority.
I gave myself a week to get it together and see if it was going to help my energy crisis. I was skeptical because it’s not like I had drastically changed up my drinking habits and was drinking less, but I was at a critical point of trying anything.
I set a goal of drinking eight cups of water every day, whether or not I had other fluids, as I wanted to consume four typical water bottles full in an attempt to give it a full go.
I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal. I have a home office so I decided I would walk to the kitchen every few hours to have a drink of water.
Well, I was wrong – big time. I have busy days so when the day was finally winding down and I realized that I hadn’t had as much as I thoughtI had, I panicked. I can’t fail the experiment on the first day. So I drank and drank the remaining six cups of water at 9 p.m. But, I did it!
Remember when I said I had most of my water before bed? Yeah, big mistake. Instead of the water helping me feel more energized. I was up all night going to the bathroom. It was a major flashback to when I was in the third trimester of pregnancy and up all night too.
I knew this wasn’t going to fly – had I made a huge mistake? I decided that I should just make it easier for myself. I grabbed two refillable water bottles (no more tap water in cups business) and filled them both. Each was one four cups and I kept them with me in my office to sip on throughout the day. I also set a reminder -- every hour I had my phone go ring an annoying chirp to break my concentration and get the water in.
Day two proved to be a successful routine and staying hydrated no longer seemed impossible. By having more of a plan, I wasn’t up all night going to the bathroom anymore which helped me turn the corner with my attitude about this experiment.
Is it wrong to say I was thankful the experiment was coming to a close? I was looking forward to going about my day and not hearing my phone chime off reminding me to take a sip. I was glad that I wasn’t going to have to use the washroom more often than I did when I was pregnant anymore.
What did I learn?
I was likely drinking more water than I really needed, which is what added to a lot of the problems I experienced. It did get easier though, as the week went on, to remember to drink water and it wasn’t as chore-like. But I still didn't like it -- I'll admit I don’t generally take well to things I have to do.
I learned that there are some pretty great tricks to help you if you’re looking to up your hydration status. There are apps that will yell at you as a reminder. Buying a reusable water bottle or two is also a must.
Did it work?
Truthfully, I didn’t notice any increase in energy, but there were some other perks of drinking all that water and making sure I was well hydrated! My skin looked healthier and brighter. Plus, I didn’t carry the tired on my face as much. The dark circles that I was sporting and the headaches I would get a few times a week were gone -- that was a very welcome surprise.
I wouldn’t say the experiment was a complete fail, Womanistas. Did I feel like I could tackle the day without exhaustion? No, but of course, water is good for you. At least I proved to myself that even I could trick myself into drinking it on the regular. I also probably need more than a week of water to truly see if it is as important to my energy as my doctor insisted.