How To Manage Your Stress With Water
Let’s talk water….
Our body is 60% Water!
Our brain is 75% Water!
The typical recommendation is for us to have 8-10 glasses of water a day. Sometimes more and seldom less. Someone who’s on a raw food diet for instance will need less water than someone who doesn’t eat hydrating foods. A person who works outside in the sun all day long, will definitely need more water than someone who works in an office. When calculating how much water you need, you should take your lifestyle into consideration.
Regardless of your specific situation, it’s important to drink water because as the stats above show, our bodies are primarily made of water. Water feeds all of our cells which helps our body and brain function properly. Much like laughter, proper hydration is an alternative means of self-care. A properly functioning brain and body go a long way towards helping you manage you stress before your stress manages you as you’ll better be able to cope with whatever stressors life throws your way.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, water helps our body and our mind:
Regulates body temp
Helps oxygen flow throughout the body
Lubricates the joints
Helps the brain function properly
Helps remove waste
How Much Water Do I Need?
As I stated above, the general recommendation is 8 – 10 eight-ounce glasses of water per day. You can use a water calculator such as the one on the Camelbak website to figure out your water needs based on your activity level. Or there are two signs that you can look towards to determine if you’re drinking the right amount of water. They are:
If you’re thirsty, it could mean that you’ve waited too long with water intake and you’re dehydrated. So, it’s important to drink before you’re thirsty. To help with this, consider using a water bottle that allows you to track your water intake or a water tracker so that you know how much you’ve had during the course of a day.
Your urine is a great indicator of whether you need more water. If it’s clear that’s a good sign, while cloudy means you need more water.
How To Increase Your Water Intake
It’s one thing to know how much water you need to take in during the course of a day, it’s another thing to figure out how to increase your intake. Well, have no fear, there’s plenty of ways to add more water into your diet.
The first thing that you must know is that soda, coffee, tea and Kool-Aid are NOT water. By adding things to water, you are taking away some of its hydrating quality, so don’t count that can of soda as one of your eight glasses of water as it may actually increase your need for water.
Some ideas to try:
Enhancing your water by infusing it (more on that below).
Use an app to track your water intake
Always carry a reusable bottle of water with you
Eat foods (such as watermelon, celery and leafy greens) which have high water content
Have a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning
Have a glass of water before eating any meals
Drink one glass of water for each cup of coffee or tea you drink
Experiment with different types of water: spring, mineral, sparkling
Drink a full glass of water with any vitamins or medicine that you take
Gamify your intake – aim to intake a certain amount of water by various times during the day such as 10 am; 12 noon; 2 pm, etc.
Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink your water
Once you’re on the road to increasing your water intake, you’ll want to make sure that you’re able to keep it up. One way of doing this is to add some pizzazz to your water by infusing it. First I’ll talk about some of the benefits of infusing your water then I’ll give you some tips on how to make it.
The Benefits Of Infused Water
If you’re trying to increase your water intake and get bored with plain water all the time, consider infusing your water. Infused water can help encourage you to drink more, while delivering the benefits I spoke of above.
What’s Infused Water?
Infused water is water that’s been naturally flavored with fruits, herbs or vegetables. You add your chosen ingredients and leave them in the water for a period of time to allow them to release their natural flavors and nutrients.
This leaves you with flavorful water that’s both healthy and delicious.
Infused Water’s Benefits
The thing that I really like about infused water is that you receive the benefits of both the water and whatever vitamins and minerals are present in your chosen infusion.
The biggest benefit of drinking plenty of water, is hydration. However, many people find after drinking lots of sweet sodas, water simply doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Therefore, they find it difficult opting for water over the usual suspects of sweet, fizzy drinks.
Infused water on the other hand, has plenty of flavor. And that flavor is tailored specifically to your liking – you can put as much or as little ingredients as you like. Have a sweet tooth? Use fruits. Want extra vitamins? Use veggies. Want an earthy flavor for your water? Use herbs.
The main benefits of hydration include more lubricated joints, better transportation of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, and helping to keep the skin and hair healthy.
Another great benefit of drinking infused water, is that it can help reduce the appetite. If you’re struggling with your weight, you may find switching to infused water can really help.
Water alone can help to curb your appetite. However, with added fruits, vegetables and herbs, you’ll get that additional flavor which can also help satisfy the body’s sweet cravings without the added calories and fat.
You’ll find drinking infused waters also helps to eliminate toxins from the body. This helps you feel more alert and healthier. It takes away the sluggishness in the body and helps your blood flow better; which is one step in managing your stress.
Fat Burning Benefits
Infused water can also aid in weight loss. It helps speed up the metabolism. It also eliminates excess fat cells from the body.
Another weight loss benefit is that it can help you to feel much more energized. This in turn will encourage you to do more exercise, boosting your weight loss further.
Improved Immune System
The nutrients found in the fruits, herbs and vegetables in infused water, will help to boost your immune system. This means you’ll have less risk of picking up colds and the flu. It also means your body will be better equipped to fight off diseases as you’ve got a strong immune system in your corner.
It’s Great For Your Mental Health
Another impressive benefit of infused water is that it can do wonders for your mental health. As it helps remove toxins and you find that you have more energy, you should be less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.
Hopefully, the extra energy you’ll feel can give you the motivation to work out more. Which not only helps with reliving stress, but also helps improve your sleep patterns.
All of these benefits help to give your mental health a boost. You’ll feel naturally great after switching to drinking infused water.
These are just some of the awesome benefits you can expect to experience when you start drinking infused waters. Of course, the exact benefits you experience will depend upon the ingredients used.
How to Make Infused Water
Now that you know the benefits of drinking infused water, the question left to answer is how to make it?
While you can easily buy ready-made infused water, I recommend making it yourself. You’ll receive far more benefits that way. The very least being knowing what actually has gone into your water. Creating your own infused water leads to enhanced flavor, plus it’s cheaper too.
Okay, let’s move on to how you make your water infused.
Choose Your Ingredients
The first thing you’ll need to do is decide which ingredients you want to use. Remember, you can use fruit, herbs or vegetables. You can also mix it up by using any combo of the three.
When you’re choosing your ingredients, you should think about the main benefits you want to experience. For example, are you looking to feel more energized? If so, you’ll want to focus on citrus fruits as your flavoring ingredients. Or perhaps you’re looking for an infused water that’s going to detox the body? Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, it will help you select the best ingredients to use.
Don’t Use Hot Water
Once you have your ingredients, you’ll need to the prepare the water. While drinking hot water with lemon juice can be a great detoxifying drink, it’s actually better to use cold water for infused recipes.
Because hot water could cause fruits and veggies to break down faster than cold water. This can lead to them becoming soggy faster. So, if you want the best results, stick to cold or room temperature water.
Leave The Water To Infuse Slowly
When infusing the water, you’ll want to make sure you give it plenty of time to soak up all the deliciousness.
Ideally, you’ll leave the ingredients to infuse for at least 20 minutes. However, for a full-bodied flavor, you might want to wait for up to a maximum of two hours for the water to infuse.
If you’re thinking about taking on the longer infusion times, it’s important to research to find out which of your ingredients can be left in the water longer.
For example, some ingredients may need to be consumed right away to receive their benefits. Some ingredients on the other hand, will need to be infused for longer to get the most flavor. You can even find infused water recipes which require overnight refrigeration. So make sure to pay attention to infusion times depending upon the ingredients you’re using.
Step By Step Infusion Guide
So far, I’ve talked about the basics that you’ll need to know before making infused water. The actual process follows:
Step 1 - Fill a pitcher or glass with water, then grab your ingredients.
Step 2 – Gently cut up your ingredients into bite sized pieces before adding them to the water.
Step 3 – Leave to infuse for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4 – Strain the water and enjoy!
More Infused Water Tips
So, now you know more how beneficial infused water can be for you and how to create it, consider the following tips:
Use a glass pitcher or mug to ensure that you end up with fresh, clean flavors. Plastic can sometimes soak up some of the flavor, while also adding its own flavor to the drink.
Make sure that you’re using the freshest ingredients possible. Avoid using bruised fruit or herbs that aren’t fresh.
If you’re using fruits and veggies to infuse your water, slice them thinly because that will give you more flavor and they’ll infuse much quicker and easier.
Basic Infused Water Recipes
Okay, now that you’ve learned all about infused water and how to make it, it’s time for some recipes! These recipes are simple and will let you take advantage of the benefits of infused water.
One really interesting flavor combination is blueberry and kiwi infused water. You’ll need around half a cup of blueberries and a couple of kiwis (thinly sliced). You can also add a few mint leaves for a refreshing twist.
This water is great for the brain and it also provides powerful digestive benefits too as blueberries have a lot of antioxidants – and kiwi’s do too.
Apple, Lemon & Carrot
Another healthy and delicious infused water recipe you’ll want to try is uses apple, lemon and carrot. It’s not only tasty but also affordable too.
If you want to make two or three bottles of this water infusion, you’ll need half a lemon, half a carrot and half an apple. Dice the carrot and apple into small pieces and you can then leave the fruit & veggies in the water anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight to soak up all of the flavors.
This combo produces a really powerful water infusion as carrots are great for the eyesight. And apples are great for the immune system while lemons detoxify the body.
Pineapple & Orange Water
Are you like me and from time to time fancy a tropical style energizing drink? Then this recipe is for you!
Both oranges and pineapples contain high levels of Vitamin C. They also have anti-inflammatory, digestive and immune system benefits. You don’t need a lot of these ingredients to create a two-liter bottle. Just combine one orange, half a cup of pineapple, two cups of ice and some water. This makes a refreshing infused water for a hot summer day.
So there you have it a mini course in water – it’s benefits for the body and brain, figuring out the optimal amount of water for your needs and how to infuse it. I hope this encourages you to drink up and give your body what it’s thirsting for. It’s all about making time.
Let’s talk, what’s your favorite fruit, veggie or herb infusion combo for your water? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In