Signs You Are Not Drinking Enough Water (With Quick Fixes)
Last Updated on April 22, 2020
Some days you wake up and right when you are going to begin your work, you feel a presence within you that stops you from doing so. You sit down, but you sit down quietly this time.
Suddenly, that feeling where you once were so passionate and energized to take action just isn’t there anymore. You try to hype yourself up but it’s not working, and everything you do seems to be counterintuitive. You face the truth.
You don’t want to work today and you don’t feel motivated to do anything but just escape. Without this motivation, you feel a little hopeless, lost, and stuck.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. If you’re not a hundred percent passionate about your work, then it’s impossible to wake up everyday feeling motivated when you wake up. You might compare it to the ocean.
Sometimes you’ll wake up feeling a tsunami, other time you’ll feel just barely drifting to shore. When you feel drifting to the shore, understand that it doesn’t always have to feel there’s no hope.
You can still feel inspired when you feel giving up.
1. Connecting the Dots
“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” –Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs at a Stanford commencement speech said that giving this speech the students was the closest thing he came to graduating college. He’s never finished college.
He recalls that the working class savings that his parents had made their entire life was being spent on his tuition on a college he says was as almost as expensive as Stanford. After 6 months, he couldn’t see the value in it and dropped out.
Not knowing where to go in life, he decided to take a class in calligraphy. He, however, didn’t see any practical application for it in life.
Ten years later, they were designing the first Macintosh computer, and it all came back to him. He used the ideas that he had learned in calligraphy class, including the different types of typography, and put it in the Mac.
It was the first computer to have beautiful typography, which has affected the different types of typography that we use today.
If he had never dropped out in collage, he would have never taken that calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do today.
Sometimes when you’re trying to reach a goal, it’s impossible to connect the dots where you currently are. Somehow you just have to trust in yourself, and have faith that you will reach your dreams, despite not having the slightest clue or perfectly laid out road to where you are going.
Nobody can connect the dots looking forward; you only can connect them when you’re looking backwards.
You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future; you have to trust in something, whether it’s karma or destiny, but trusting yourself is the first step towards feeling inspired and having the motivation to move forward.
2. Allowing Your Environment to Predetermine Your Mood
“There is a direct correlation between an increased sphere of comfort and getting what you want.” –Timothy Ferriss
Tim Ferriss has always advocated the idea of using your environment to your advantage. He believes that controlling your environment is often much more effective than relying on self discipline.
He finds that he writes the best between the hours of midnight and 1 AM to 3 to 4 in the morning. As he is writing, he will put a movie in the background so it will feel he is in a social environment, even though the entire movie is on mute. Next to him may be a glass of tea.
This is what puts him in the mood to do quality writing and make him so successful.
Look around your room right now or your workspace. Does it inspire you? Does it give you motivation? Is it noisy or quiet? Sometimes the hardest thing we do to ourselves is try to force ourselves to work in an area that is subconsciously telling us, “I can’t work here.”
And when you are constantly trying to discipline yourself, you will feel worse and be less productive. Instead try to build your ideal workplace and ideal time. Free it from distractions. Perhaps add a piece of artwork or a quote of your favorite person nearby you on the wall.
Maybe add a beautiful plant in the corner to give you inspiration. If you feel more energy and enthusiasm during the night, schedule your day to work at midnight if you can.
If you can realize the power of having a productive environment, you will naturally feel inspired and motivated to get work done.
3. Don’t Work So Hard
“Research now seems to indicate that one hour of inner action is worth seven hours of out-in-the-world action. Think about that. You’re working too hard.” –Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield was once giving a speech to an audience. He tells of a story of a chiropractor who went into his dream city, near Pebble Beach, and asked chiropractor associate if they could hire them. They told him no because they had 1 chiropractor for every 8 patients.
Instead of letting his external reality which was his control determine his future, he went back to visualize and think about it, and something would come to him.
He put a pen in his new office one day, and put concentric circles that he needed to go ask people in town that he was opening up a new chiropractor office and if they were interested in joining.
Over 6 months he knocked on 12,500 doors, talked to 6,500 people, and gathered over 4000 names to the people who wanted to go to his open house. He opened his chiropractor in a town he was told there was too many chiropractor. In his first month in practice, he netted $72,000. In his first year in practice his gross income was over a million in income.
Now you may look at this and say knocking on 12,500 doors is hard work. To you it is, but to the man it was probably effortless. Jack Canfield says there are 2 types of action – outer and inner.
Outer action is actually going out to do the action – whether it’s networking with people, going door-to-door to make a sale, or just writing at home.
Inner action is other things visualization, meditation, and affirmations.
If you’re trying to force your way into taking action, it could be a sign that you are working too hard.
Most people won’t wake up and waste an hour visualizing, meditating, or affirming, and the first thing they think about is asking what do I need to do today? And when they get the answer, they feel miserable, as if their work suddenly weighs them down.
But Canfield says that if you spend time to focus on your goals, you’ll receive good feelings – feelings that help you feel inspired and motivated to take real action.
Don’t try to paddle upstream. That’s just basically going everyday saying to yourself that you need to force yourself to work every day. Instead, paddle along the stream of the river.
Trust yourself, let your environment work in your favor, and spend some a little bit of time putting yourself in a state before you work.
Inspiration will come to you from different ways – inside and out – and give you the motivation to guide yourself towards reaching your dreams.
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
As a kid, your parents are always telling you to drink more of it. In your 20s you down one between cocktails to stave off a hangover.
As you get older you notice dry skin, under-eye circles and headaches creeping up when you don’t get enough of it.
Gym rats carry around huge jugs of it, models swear by it as an essential piece of their beauty routine and a lack of it may just be the reason behind your daily afternoon slump.
We’re talking water — arguably the most essential component of our diets. (After all, we can’t survive more than a few days without it.)
As much as we glorify the beverage (rightly so) many of us aren’t getting enough: More than half of children and teenagers in the United States are not properly hydrated, according to a nationwide study from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
The problem doesn’t stop when we enter adulthood: The Natural Hydration Council found that one in 10 consultations for tiredness and fatigue could be attributed to dehydration, and more than a third of the patients reported feeling better after drinking more water.
The problem is, among the 300 general practitioners surveyed, just 4 percent believed their patients were aware of how to hydrate properly.
It may seem a no-brainer — just drink more water. But do you know exactly how much you should be drinking?
We all know the eight-glasses-a-day rule, but is it something we should hang our hat on? While the goal certainly isn’t a bad one to aim for, the actual equation is more complicated.
“It is somewhat arbitrary as it doesn't take into account the size, activity, environment or diet of the individual,” says Dr. Barry Sears, leading authority on the dietary control of hormonal response and author of The Zone Diet.
So where did this guideline come from?
Dozens of factors can affect a person’s individual water needs, from exercising to sickness to the temperature outside.
“While no one knows for sure where the ‘8 x 8’ (which is eight, 8-ounce glasses of water) rule came from, it may have been adapted from the 1945 Food & Nutrition Board recommendation to drink about 2.5 liters of water each day,” explains Rima Kleiner, MS, RD and blogger at Dish on Fish.
“The nice thing about the 8 x 8 water rule (which is about 1.9 L/day) is that it’s easy to remember, and it’s not too far off from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) general water recommendations of 13 cups (or 3 L) of water per day for men and 9 cups (or 2.2 L) of water per day for women.
That being said, there are dozens of factors that can affect each person’s individual water needs, from exercising to sickness.
“There are lots of factors that impact our fluid needs,” says Kleiner. “If you are pregnant or losing fluids (whether through sweat, vomiting, diarrhea or nursing), you need to replenish those lost fluids. Exercise also increases our fluid needs. (Those engaging in intense training or exercise may need to replenish electrolytes and water.
) The temperature outside also affects our fluid need. If it’s hot and/or humid, you are ly sweating (even if you don’t notice it), which means increased fluid needs. Illnesses ( fever, diarrhea or vomiting) result in loss of bodily fluids, which means you need to drink more fluids (and may need to replenish with electrolytes, as well).
And if you’re an expectant or nursing mama, your body has an increased need for nutrients and fluids.”
John Brecher / for NBC News
While you may not be able to determine an exact number of glasses that will ensure you remain perfectly hydrated at all times, there are some key steps you can take to keep you the dehydrated zone.
The best indicator that you need to drink water? Thirst, says Dr. Sears. “The reason you have a sensation of thirst is because the lack of water alters the balance of salt in the blood and this imbalance causes a cascade of effects resulting in the desire (i.e. thirst) for greater hydration.”
Essentially, thirst is a symptom of dehydration.
“Our thirst sensation doesn’t really appear until we are 1 [percent] or 2 percent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform,” says Lawrence E.
Armstrong, one of the studies’ lead scientists, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut and an international expert on hydration who has conducted research in the field for more than 20 years.
“Dehydration affects all people, and staying properly hydrated is just as important for those who work all day at a computer as it is for marathon runners, who can lose up to 8 percent of their body weight as water when they compete.”
“Our thirst sensation doesn't really appear until we are 1 or 2 percent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform.”
If you feel thirsty, it’s your body’s way of saying it’s dehydrated, says Kleiner. “Other signs of dehydration include altered mood, dry eyes, headaches or dizziness, muscle cramping, fever or lack of sweat.”
There really is no magic number or formula for how much fluid you need every day, but the color of your urine is a pretty good indicator of where you stand on the hydration scale.
“If your urine is colorless or pale yellow, you’re ly drinking an adequate amount of water,” says Kleiner. “Mild dehydration may show itself in the form of bright or dark yellow urine.
If your urine is darker than pale yellow or you’re feeling thirsty, then you need to drink some water.”
Sears agreed: “The best way [to tell if you're hydrated] is the color of your urine. If it's very pale in color, you are probably hydrated. The darker the color of the urine, the greater the hydration you require.”
One thing most of us fail to recognize is that our water intake isn’t only coming in a glass — the foods we eat make up a large chunk of our intake. “What wasn’t adapted was the part of the recommendation that suggested that most of this 2.5 liters would come from foods,” says Kleiner.
In fact, according to Kleiner about 20 percent of our total water intake comes from the food we eat.
“Many vegetables and fruits are mostly comprised of water (some are more than 90 percent water), which really helps to contribute to our fluid intake and keep us hydrated,” she says.
“And, all of those other beverages we consume ( milk, juice, beer, wine, even coffee, tea and soda) contribute to our fluid intake. But, don’t forget, other beverages (aside from water) contain calories.”
RELATED: 10 Smart Products That Will Make Upping Your Water Intake a No-Brainer
So now we know how to avoid dipping low on the hydration scale. But why should we care so much? You may be surprised by how much dehydration can affect your mental and physical health. Here are a few key areas that will take a hit when you don’t sip enough:
Skin: “Dehydration can make skin lose elasticity and suppleness, which may cause skin to look more wrinkled than it is,” said Kleiner. “Staying hydrated helps skin act as that protective barrier to the elements.”
Dry and non-supple skin is one of the easiest signs that we can see, agrees Sears: “Most of our internal water is lost through the skin. If you are not hydrated, the skin is the first organ to suffer by being overly dry and non supple.”
Energy: “Staying hydrated helps maintain our energy levels by keeping muscles energized. Plus, dehydration can manifest as fatigue or low energy, so staying hydrated will help prevent that,” says Kleiner.
Even mild dehydration can affect your mood, energy level and ability to think clearly.
What does water have to do with energy in the body? “Your cells need adequate hydration to optimize the production of energy from food,” explains Sears. “If you don't have adequate hydration in the cells, your ability to produce energy (such as ATP) is reduced and you feel fatigued.”
Even being mildly dehydrated can have effects on your mood, energy level and ability to think clearly, according to studies conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory. So the next time that mid-afternoon slump hits, consider trading the trip to the vending machine for one to the water cooler.
Sleep: “There is little research on how dehydration may impact sleep, but if you’re experiencing muscle cramping, headaches or dizziness due to dehydration, chances are that you ly won’t be getting good quality of sleep,” says Kleiner. Plus, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that male subjects experienced fatigue, tension and anxiety when mildly dehydrated. As we know, stress (and its symptoms) can affect our sleep quantity and quality.
Productivity: “The neurons in the brain require adequate hydration to maintain optimization transmission of neurotransmitters,” says Sears. Even mild dehydration can result in disorientation, dizziness and fuzzy thinking, added Kleiner.
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found thatmild dehydration caused headaches, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. The female subjects also perceived tasks as more difficult when slightly dehydrated. So consider swapping that pre-meeting coffee for a glass of ice water to be the most alert.
Overall health: “While staying hydrated improves tangibles we can see ( the improved appearance of skin and high-quality athletic performance), hydration is perhaps more important for functions we can’t see,” says Kleiner. “Adequate fluid intake helps maintain our body-fluid balance, which is important for saliva production and maintaining body temperature.
Staying hydrated also helps keep our kidneys functioning properly, so they can do their job of transporting waste products into and cells and preventing the buildup of blood urea nitrogen, which gets excreted in urine. Chronic dehydration can result in kidney stones.
And, last but certainly not least, water helps maintain normal bowel movements, which can certainly influence your mood and energy levels.“
Lime, mint, cucumber and green tea infusionJohn Brecher / for NBC News
Convinced it’s time to start upping your intake? We thought so. Here are some super simple strategies for sipping more water throughout the day.
- Every time you go to a new place, drink. A meeting, the gym, a bar? Time for a glass of water. When our BETTER team challenged themselves to increase their water intake they found this tactic particularly helpful. It’s easy to sip when you’re sitting at your desk. But when you’re running errands on the weekend, heading to the gym or meeting friends for happy hour it gets a little harder to remember to sip. Setting the simple goal of drinking every time you change locations is an easy way to remember.
- Set an alarm reminding you to drink water. Another takeaway our team found helpful in their quest to hydration? Setting alarms to remind themselves to drink. If you’re not good at staying on top of setting the alarm, invest in a water bottle that does the work for you. Most of them have the added benefit of also tracking your water consumption, which one of our editors found helpful: “Being able to track how much water I'm drinking and assess how I'm feeling that has helped me realize that my body needs more water than I expected and that my afternoon headaches aren't from stress or a coffee (or three) too many, but were actually from being dehydrated,” Emily says.
- Pair food with water. “Make sure to have a beverage with every meal and snack, so at least you know you’ll be getting fluids several times throughout the day,” says Kleiner.
- Keep an eye on your skin – and body. “Keep looking at your skin and sensing how you feel as well as being aware of your thirst,” said Sears. “If you are eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, instead of grains, starches and junk food, your body will tell you you're are OK relative to hydration and you will probably lose weight in the process.”
- Eat more hydrating foods. “Eat more fruits and veggies and water-constituted foods oatmeal,” suggests Kleiner. “Try adding at least one fruit and vegetable to every snack and meal. Add fruit to yogurt, smoothies or as a salsa to fish and chicken. Serve a salad and a vegetable alongside your whole grain and protein sources, beans, seafood or chicken.”
- Make your water fun! “Add berries, citrus fruits, apples and cinnamon, cucumbers and mint to your water bottle to add flavor without adding calories,” says Kleiner.
RELATED: 10 Infused Water Recipes to Keep You Hydrated All Summer Long
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