I take hydration seriously.
As someone who lives with the reality of chronic illness/pain water can be the difference between "making it" or "breaking it."
When I caught the winter plague this year, thanks to my kids, each time I swallowed I felt a million tiny stabbing knives. Naturally, I minimized the frequency of doing so.
Several days steamrolled into a flare-up. While my illness eventually subsided, I was facing a considerable uptick in whole body pain, and it was here to stay.
It's a good thing I talk to angels because they communicated ultra clearly that I was dehydrated.
I balked at the notion, believing it had to be more difficult than that but a quick hand hydration test (link) indicated hydration was needed.
Committing To A Hydration Reboot
1. identify your water intake goal
As a general rule of thumb, it's a reasonable goal to drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water (source).
Example: I weigh 180 lbs, so my daily goal is to drink 90oz every day.
Interestingly enough that corresponds with the Institute of Medicine guidelines of 91 ounces for women and 125 ounces for men (source).
Given your particular circumstances, health conditions, and activity level you'll adjust accordingly (helpful article link).
2. Set yourself up for success
Have a dedicated water bottle that stays with you ALL the time.
My turquoise Takeya water bottle can be found on my bedside table when I'm sleeping at night, in the car with me when I'm driving, and next to me while I'm working. This ensures I always have high-quality water with me to keep my hydration habit flowing.
More on Takeya. I LOVE this product and have no relationship with this company. These are love links. I am not an affiliate. Pick a color and size that delights you. Their quality, ingenuity, and practicality are unmatched people. The lid is brilliant, allowing wide-mouth access as well as a smaller drinking spout. Plus it cleaning friendly.
3. Commit to the habit, track your progress
Once you've identified your target intake amount and equipped yourself with the water bottle you'll want to keep on your person at all times you need to know how many refills you'll need to consume to meet your goal.
Example: I consume 90 ounces of water a day. I own a 32oz Takeya water bottle therefore I know I need to drink roughly 3 of these a day to meet my personal goal.
As for tracking I simply like to put a check mark on a piece of paper each time I meet my goal. Tracking your habit should take less than 5 seconds to do, so design a way that works for you!
4. Notice what shifts
Within a matter of days I had a noticeable reduction in muscle, joint, and nerve pain. I cannot stress enough the impact of hydration. With time and continued hydration symptoms continued to improve.
Best to take note of your primary symptoms and see if there is any improvement of the course of two-three weeks as you adjust to a better level of hydration.
How do I know if I am drinking enough water?
Monitor your urine. Ideally, you want a clear to very light yellow tone. Darker tones indicate you need to drink more water. Keep in mind some foods and medications will change your urine color regardless of intake.
Can you drink too much water?
Yes. Water intoxication is a dangerous thing. Your kidneys can only process 27-33 ounces an hour. So slamming a gallon of water in one hour is a bad idea, don't do it. (source).
Are you saying water is a pain reliever?
In some ways yes. It does not relieve immediate pain needs but it does however support body systems and structures, optimizing functions and thereby potentially reducing pain. Here's a article that expands on how water assists in naturally relieving pain (link).
How can I conduct a skin hydration test?
This link gives a great overview.