Are you drinking your 8 glasses of water every day?
I’m not. It’s something that’s been on my mind lately. I’m drinking far too much coffee (which actually dehydrates you) and far too little water. I even touched on the subject in my recent post on Self Care.
However, I haven’t been heeding my own advice. And then this excellent contributed post popped into my inbox.
4 Unexpected Health Problems Caused By Dehydration
Everybody has heard that you should drink about 8 glasses of water a day but if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking, does it really make that much difference?
If you aren’t drinking that much water, I’ve got bad news for you, it really does.
There are all sorts of different health problems caused by dehydration, some of them pretty surprising.
It can be a bit of a struggle to drink that much water each day but if you add a bit of flavor and drink something like lime water instead of plain old tap water, it’s a little easier. You can also get some great apps that help you track how much water you’re drinking and give you a little reminder if you haven’t had enough that day.
If you’re still not convinced, check out this list of the most unusual ways that a lack of water affects your body.
Bad breath is caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth or smelly foods in some cases.
Your saliva has good antibacterial properties and it breaks down a lot of that bacteria, stopping you from having bad breath. But when you aren’t drinking enough water and you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t produce anywhere near as much saliva.
That means all of that bacteria in your mouth will start to build up and nobody will want to get close to you when you talk to them.
Eek! UGH! Who wants THAT?
Your skin gets a lot of its moisture from the water you drink, which means it’ll start to dry out if you’re dehydrated.
Dry skin will crack and flake, but lack of water can also cause spots.
When your skin is dry, it will try to compensate for the lack of water by producing more oils. Those oils will get into the pores and clog them up, causing breakouts of acne.
Oops… my skin is both dry and spotty right now. Signs and symptoms are definitely there.
Eating too much is the main reason that people gain weight and if you’re dehydrated, you’re far more likely to overeat. A lot of the time, people think they have hunger pains when in reality, they’re just thirsty.
Most people reach for painkillers straight away when they’ve got a headache but if you’re taking them all the time, your body will build up a tolerance and they won’t work anymore. Before you start taking anything for it, just drink a glass of water and you might find that it’ll go away.
The advice on drinking water is there for a reason, dehydration can cause you all sorts of problems so make sure you’re always drinking plenty of water.
That’s it. I’m going on a cleanse. I had a whopper of a migraine the other day and have a few headaches recently.
Point taken. Self care starts right here, right now. Bring on the water.
Over to You
How are you doing on this one Moms? Please tell me you’re doing better than I am.
I’ve mentioned before that as a Mom to a busy little man, taking care of myself has been pretty low on my priority list for a while and that this year I’m planning to change that.
Mama… When last did you take care of you?
There was a time in my life that I was much better at taking care of myself, so I’m going to give you some tips today based on what I used to do when this was my focus. Because I learned a lot of great tips and tricks about Self Care back in my Twenties when I was an Aerobics Instructor and a Massage Therapist.
I learnt even more about Self Care when I burnt out as a Massage Therapist and found myself struggling with exhaustion, depression, Sciatica (lower back pain and aching down the legs), Spastic Colon and the most hideous, debilitating migraines. My road to recovery was long but eventually I found answers.
I never want to suffer from burnout or any of these horrible symptoms again. If you’ve ever suffered from burnout or any of these symptoms, you’ll know exactly what I mean. As the year progresses, I plan to incorporate more and more of these Tips back into my own life as well.
Simple Lifestyle Changes
Just a proviso to mention upfront: None of this is intended as Medical Advice or to replace the advice you may be getting from your Doctor.
What I’m going to share with you is really just simple lifestyle changes that I made in my life that helped me enormously. Nothing too radical. I can’t promise you will get the same results that I had, as I don’t know your Medical History and I am not trained to diagnose or treat Medical conditions. I can only speak from my own experience.
Okay? All good with that? Here we go.
Self Care Tip 1: Eat Nutritious Foods
It’s no secret that we are what we eat. And when I was feeling my worst, I was consuming a lot of chocolate and drinking a lot of coffee. These are not poisonous substances by any stretch of the imagination but they became poisonous to my system because of the quantity I consumed over time. And probably some other health factors coming in to play at the same time.
So, for a while, I had to cut anything that contained caffeine out of my diet altogether.
How did I find out I had become intolerant of anything containing caffeine? I consulted a Kinesiologist and a Naturopath. I highly recommend veering off the path of Allopathic Medicine and finding some Alternative Healers if you have a bunch of symptoms that won’t seem to go away and you’d like to find out the root cause rather than just treat each symptom.
At the time, I also did a 2-week fast and a few fruit and veg cleanses and discovered that my body likes fruits and vegetables more than any other food. I felt absolutely fantastic after a few weeks of eating only fruit and veg. Here were the 5 main benefits in a nutshell.
Free of pain
Here are my…
5 Ways to Eat Nutritiously
1: An Apple a Day…
Eat 90% what God Made and 10% what man-made (or tampered with). So if it’s in a box, bottle or packet rather than in a basket needing to be weighed, if you can’t grow your own in your garden, it’s probably man-made or tampered with.
In other words: Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruit and Veggies (this includes Berries and Nuts) to limit consumption of bread, biscuits, muffins etc.)
2: Find Out What’s Poisoning Your System
Find out if you are allergic or intolerant to anything and if you are:
eliminate it for a good few weeks or until all nasty symptoms disappear
then re-introduce, slowly
and never in the same quantity as before.
3: Eat Frequent Smaller Meals
Eat Frequently and never until you’re overly full (5 to 7 Small Snacks rather than 3 Big Meals) to keep blood sugar and therefore energy levels up. Maintaining even blood sugar levels can mean the difference between whether you are happy and relaxed or depressed and nervous.
4: Drink Plenty of Water
Drink lots of water or herbal tea and eliminate sodas or soft drinks – even fruit juice and diet drinks as they still contain some form of sugar.
5: Eat More Fish
Choose Fish or Poultry over Red Meat or Pork. I find my body works best when I eat plenty of fish rather than heavier, usually fattier steaks. I know this is very controversial advice nowadays with the popular diets that centre around fat, juicy steaks. However, fish oil is incredibly important for the brain.
If you’re not eating fish at least 3 times a week, I would recommend supplementing with Omega 3 Oils. If you’re vegan or vegetarian I’d imagine you already know which foods are richest in Omega 3, but in case you don’t, there’s a great article here.
A Note on Supplementation:
I believe 100% in supplementation, simply because I know most of us don’t have the time or inclination to eat as nutritiously as we should. The supplement that helped me most when I was burning out was a little colloidal liquid called Cellfood by Nu Science Corporation. I got it here in South Africa from a company called Oxygen for Life.
Why it worked for me was because it:
was readily absorbed by the body
available at the cellular level
contains 78 elements and minerals, 34 digestives, 17 amino acids
contains Deuterium Sulphate which splits water molecules to release Oxygen at the cellular level
I must just mention here that this product is extremely detoxifying. I had a severe headache every day for the first 10 days of taking it but after that, I never suffered from a migraine ever again. Ever. And my spastic colon disappeared too. Along with the lower back pain, depression and exhaustion. After about two weeks on the product, I felt better than I had felt in years. It was life-changing for me.
Self Care Tip 2: Be More Active
I’ve read a number of articles proclaiming that our sedentary lives are becoming the new BIG HEALTH ISSUE. i.e. More life-threatening (and more fattening) than either fat or sugar.
We sit on our bums to get to work and then sit at a desk all day and then come home to sit on the couch and watch the TV, eating our TV-dinner, which we popped into the microwave. I know that sounds like an extreme example, but these are the kind of lifestyle habits that sneak into our everyday life.
And I can see how, as a blogger, sitting at my laptop for hours a day is not doing me any favours. I am fortunate that I’m also a Mom which sometimes requires me to be active, either doing housework or playing with my son. So I’ve started saying YES more often when he asks me to come jump on the trampoline with him. We also go for walks together and now that he’s a bit older we can pick up the pace a bit (sometimes).
Regular Exercise is Key
What I learned when I was training to be an Aerobics Instructor, back in the day, is that for exercise to make a difference to your health and well-being, it needs to be regular (at least 3 times a week to maintain fitness, 4 or 5 times to increase fitness).
Along the way I discovered that the drop-off rate is really high is people aren’t enjoying themselves.
5 Ways to Being More Active
1: Find Exercise that You Enjoy
In modern society, we tend to get stuck on the idea of the Gym as the only place to go to be active and the Gym may not be your cup of tea. But don’t let that stop you exercising.
There are many different activities to do other than working out. And some of them may be more appealing to you than doing a workout indoors along with a bunch of other sweaty bods.
Here are some fun ideas you might want to try that may keep your interest:
Dancing (e.g. Ballroom, Salsa, Scottish Dancing, Line Dancing)
Martial Arts (e.g. Karate, Judo, Kung Fu, Tai Chi)
2: Shorten the Duration of Exercise
People often avoid exercise because they think it’s going to take too much time out of their day.
All you need to find is 20 to 30 minutes a day.
And it’s been proven that short bursts of exercise where you get your heart rate up can make a difference – even 5 minutes four times a day makes a difference.
You could try these tips to be more active.
Climb stairs instead of taking the lift whenever you can.
Step away from your desk every couple of hours or so and skip (with a skipping rope)
Go for a short brisk walk in your lunch hour
Warning: Don’t try do any of these in high heels, you can stay in your work clothes but good shoes or bare feet are a must.
3: Get out in Nature
Being out in nature is good for the soul. Exercising in nature is good for body, mind and soul.
There are so many amazing outdoorsy activities you can enjoy. Here a few examples:
Hiking or Mountain Climbing
Walking on the Beach
Swimming (in the sea)
Windsurfing or Kitesurfing
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Jogging or Running
4: Change it up
If you find your interest in any activity is flagging, then it’s time for a change. Try something new every once in a while.
Or do something different every day. Whatever it takes to keep you active.
5: Change Your Mindset
Don’t let exercise start to feel like a chore. If it feels like something you HAVE to do, it becomes something you do grudgingly. Let it flow. Let it become a natural part of your life. Find enjoyment in movement.
Self Care Tip 3: Take Time Out
When last did you take a bit of R & R (Rest and Relaxation)? Read a good book? Or even flip through a magazine?
Emotional wellbeing is essential when you’re a Mom. Because if you’re an emotional wreck, your kids usually are too. And everyone around you for that matter.
Here are my Top 5 Ways you can bring some much-needed balance back to your life.
1: Play Time
It can be so easy to let go of your friendships when you become a Mom. Especially if you have a number of children and your whole afternoon is spent getting them to all their extramural activities.
Take time to nurture your friendships, even if you have to have the kids in tow while you’re doing it. Find things you can do with your friends and your children.
In the same vein, it’s just as important to find time to play with your children. Get down and dirty with them. Climb into the sandpit sometimes or onto the jungle gym. Lie on the floor with them playing cars or dressing up dolls or building blocks. Let them lead the play and you might find you have a blast.
Oh… and while we’re on the subject of down and dirty, your hubby might appreciate some playtime with you too.
2: Down Time
Never underestimate the rejuvenation power of a good nap. Sleep is generally in short supply for Moms, so take naps whenever you can.
And if napping is not your thing, at least find a way to get in 8 hours a night every now and then.
SLEEP is one of the greatest healers I know.
3: Quiet Time
We live in a very noisy world. There is almost always something on, TV, Radio or just the background noise of traffic and chatter. That’s why it’s essential to find spaces and block out time when you can experience stillness.
Find a way to bring meditation or prayer into your life. Learn Transcendental Meditation if needs be. Or learn a breathing technique. Or just breathe.
If you really find it impossible to slow your mind down to that pace, a Yoga class might provide just enough stillness for you. Or you can lose yourself in a book or some classical music, any music that calms and relaxes you. Whatever it takes to quiet your busy mind.
4: Me Time
While we’re busy slowing things down, it’s a good time to discuss chilling out on your own.
Here are some favourite me-time activities that you can consider incorporating into your life.
Is there any aspect of self-care you think I have left out? Do you see self-care as self-indulgence or a vital part of your health and wellbeing? What do you do to feel your best? What do you do to operate at your peak? Join the conversation below…
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