Summertime is probably the most favorite season. There is so much to do including having lots of fun. Summer is also a time for mindfulness. Especially this summer (2019). Many areas are recording the hottest summer. Hydration is essential for a time like this.
Dehydration is a well-known situation. However, something that may not be realized is how dehydration makes you feel. Results of not being well hydrated can mimic other health conditions. So the more you know, the more you can do for yourself to feel better.
How do You Feel?
Being Dehydrated can make you feel:
Stiff and Achy Joints
Dry and Itchy Skin
When you are dehydrated your body and mind feel tired. There is a feeling of heaviness and a feeling of the inability to do anything about it. No amount of sleep helps because your body is on a constant reserve mode. The mission, at this point, is for the body to reserve enough energy to just get by rather than thrive.
Stiffness and Achy All Over
Have you ever woken up and your body feels achy all over? Or got up from sitting and your knees stop you in your tracks? Or have stiffness around your sacrum area in your lower back where you can barely stand up straight? Yeah? Well, more than likely this is dehydration.
Not having enough hydration reduces the lubrication that is responsible for allowing your joints to move the way they are supposed to.
Got a Headache?
A common expression of dehydration is having a headache. On an onset, the first question you should probably ask yourself is, ‘have I been hydrating lately?’ Then what should accompany the search to answer that question is,
- How much coffee do I drink in a day?
- Do I eat a lot of fried foods?
- Do I eat a lot of salty foods? (especially conventional or overly processed table salt)
- What is the quality of the water do I drink? Is it from the tap? Is it mostly bottled?
- Do I eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables?
- If you take medications, do any of the side effects cause dehydration? (typically high-blood pressure medication will do this)
If your answer is yes to any of these questions and you have a headache then you may have to adjust your habits or compensate for them to rehydrate.
Being dehydrated can also affect the mind and emotions. The emotional term depression is a perfect term to what happens within the body when someone suffers from it. Key systems of the body experience just that when there is not enough hydration.
When the nervous system, the brain, or the adrenals (that sit atop the kidneys) are not supported with their functions, anxiety and excessive fear takes over and become out of control. This takes over rational thought.
The body, mind, and mood work together to make your body function as a whole. When one is affected, it strains the others as well.
Why Not Just Water?
Notice how you have not seen me write about not having enough water. There is a reason for that. The quality of the water that is accessible is typically not that great. Water is still great and useful, but you have to make sure that it is “clean” and have beneficial properties. There is a such thing as “dead” water.
Plain water (meaning no flavor has been added) is great in the way that it acts as a flush. Having enough helps move out residual toxins from the body. It’s especially great for flushing the kidneys, the bladder, and the blood.
However, for most people (typically people who are not good about keeping up with their water intake) it can be difficult to hydrate with just water. As a result, along with other factors, their bodies do not easily absorb the useful contents of water that actually hydrates. So they need some assistance. If this is your situation, no worries.
Here are some great things you can do to start.
- Water with Lemon (not lemonade)
- Water with Lime
- Cucumber Juice
- Watermelon Juice
- Coconut Water
My personal story. I am not going to lie. I grew up not being encouraged to drink water. I have been dehydrated since childhood. I remember when I was in elementary school, I was hospitalized for it. Let’s just say, I never had a great relationship with water and hydrating.
As an adult, my now husband and I were in Panama for 3 months. When we first got there we were introduced to pipas (as they called young or green coconuts). Of course, drinking the local water was not ideal down there. So that was out of the question for those hot days. One of the locals took his machete and cut down a pipa, chopped the top and told us to drink up. Ahhh! So refreshing.
I swear to you, the first drink of pipas I had felt like I cured a lifetime of being dehydrated. I felt life come back to me and had more energy than I had in a very long time. The only unfortunate thing, to me, is that coconut trees do not grow all over the United States. I wish I could have fresh young coconut water every day.
When buying coconut water from the store in the States, be sure to do your research to find the best quality.
“Where to Start” Resources
I was able to find a site that rated coconut water. You may want to start here: Epicurious.com
To get a deeper insight into what all this means, there is a great blog from Medical Medium Chronic Dehydration.