“Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine” Slovakian Proverb
Hydration vs. Just Drinking More Water
Hydration happens at a cellular level – in every cell of your body. Thirst basically happens in your mouth/head. The bottom line is if you feel thirsty you are likely already significantly dehydrated (unless you have a condition, i.e. diabetes – that thirst is something different).
Full body hydration occurs when a few things happen simultaneously – movement, intake of water, consumption of juicy fruits and veggies and believe it or not, proper rest (which can be dehydrating but not if you stay well hydrated throughout the day).
MOVE – Being still (aka NOT moving) causes our systems to become sticky, sort of like all of our muscles, organs, blood vessels, and other parts become haphazardly velcroed together. Movement – of almost any kind – can slick up our insides as though the hooks and loops (Velcro) have all suddenly been shaved off. We feel more space in our bodies, more freedom, more ease.
Action: Set a timer by your work station (or relax station aka tv, surfing, napping) for every 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes (avoid sitting for more than 60 minutes – it’s apparently as bad a smoking!). Every time your alarm goes off take a few sips of water AND get up and move your arms, legs, hips, and spine around for 2 – 5 minutes at least – walk, stretch, wiggle, dancebreak, Tai Chi, whatever, just sip some water (not chug) and move!
Drink water – I talked about sips above – sipping water gives your body an opportunity to actually assimilate the nutrients of water across cell walls. Just like when you eat too much fat at once, the excess goes directly to fat stores, when you drink too much water at once, the excess makes a beeline to and through the kidneys (which is a ton of work) and gets stored in the bladder ready for elimination. All that water you just drank doesn’t make its way to the cells (to help “slickify” the tissues – see “Being still” above.) The difference is sips are less demanding on the kidneys and bladder and give water the chance to get broken down into hydrogen and oxygen, ready for transfer/exchange across cell walls rather than simply passed through the organs of elimination.
Action: fill a one liter container with pure water, sip it throughout the day and when you take your movement breaks (remember above?) Bonus: add a straw to your container and chances are you’ll sip more. Double Bonus: refill when empty 🙂
Eat juicy fruits and veggies – When I worked in the desert, cucumbers were served at every meal and were usually available any time the DFac (dining facility) was open. You can drink water all day long in a desert environment (or your home/work/play environment), but if you add juicy fruits and veggies you’ll get the benefit of cellular hydration – similar to the sipping of water – plus you’ll get a ton of nutrients as well. In fact if you ate the recommended servings of fruits and veggies from the juicier ones, you would likely be able to drink much less water and remain healthfully hydrated.
Action: eat a plentiful mix of these fruits and veggies daily – there is so much water and so few calories that you probably can’t over eat them. Fair warning, when you up your consumption of any fruits and veggies your constitution usually becomes more active (i.e. you poop more often). Give these a try: cucumbers, melon [watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.], lettuces [especially iceberg – I know! It gets a bad rap…], zucchini, summer squashes, pears, plums (ripe!), peaches (ripe!), mango (ripe!), pineapple, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, limes (if you can take the sour & acid). Ripe is important in that unripe fruit isn’t usually as juicy (hydrating). What are some of your favorites not listed here?
Quality sleep – The vast majority of our healing, repair, regeneration actually occurs while we are sleeping. So… one of the best things you can do for your body, mind, energy level, HYDRATION, etc., is to sleep well, sleep deeply and sleep as long as your body needs to.
Action: Create a bedtime ritual that discontinues digital exposure early in the evening (before 9 PM or even earlier – watch the sunset then read yourself to sleep for example) and gets you into bed at the same time every night.
Additional Bonus: Is it really that you’re dehydrated? Maybe you are just oxygen depleted?
Breathe – New theories suggest that the 2 -4 PM slump may not always be a sugar drop but instead a lack of oxygen – especially if you sit most of the day.
Action: Play with this breathing pattern for 8 cycles (if you feel dizzy or light headed, be sure you are sitting down, stop the cycles and breathe your normal pattern). Exhale completely and calmly then wait (i.e. don’t immediately inhale). When you’re body tells you, inhale calmly and fully then wait (i.e. don’t immediately exhale). The “waits” don’t have to be long, one to three seconds, you decide and play with the pattern. Notice if you feel re-energized.
Occasional grogginess around the 2-4 PM time frame is usually no big deal and can be diminished by these four habits (plus the additional bonus!).
Chronic tiredness, especially even if you’ve had a good night’s sleep, might be well served by a quick check in with your health care provider (to rule out deficiencies or conditions).
Share the energy below (in the comments) other ways you manage your afternoon slumps.
big love and juicy hugs,