Yesterday, was another painful day in my life. With a power-cut of almost 10 hours and Internet connectivity issues, my work suffered terribly. The angst caused, gifted me a terrible headache around lunch-time.
At first, I thought it was triggered by hunger, but eating lunch didn’t help a bit. Then I changed to a warmer cardigan and put on my socks, considering I might have been feeling cold in the fluctuating weather. But to no relief.
I try my best to avoid popping pills for headaches. One, cause I get a headache very rarely (though this has changed in the past month or so) and second when I do get one, the sleuth in me spends time in hunting the cause before seeking any medical aid.
Thus ran my checklist:
Hunger – checked.
Stress – insignificant.
Cold – nope.
Fatigue – no.
Sleep deprivation- none.
But a throbbing headache was not letting me sit at peace or think straight. I couldn’t read a line without pressing my temples.
At this point, my mind always worries that perhaps my eyesight is deteriorating and maybe it’s time to visit an optician. For the records, I do not wear spectacles. So I did an eye test for myself, covering each eye, in turn, trying to read the fine print at the bottom of the wall calendar some 10 feet away. Though an annoying headache did interfere, I could read, perfectly fine with both eyes.
But a headache had refused to budge.
It was now 3:30 pm and I had an article to work on. I decided to make a cup of green tea before getting back to work. When I poured water into the cup, reflexively, I drank it (mind you I wasn’t feeling thirsty). I felt good and bit relaxed almost instantly. Encouraged by the new-found relief I drank two more cups of water before going ahead to make my cup of tea.
By the time I reached back to my study, in about 10 minutes, I realized my headache was gone.
I couldn’t credit the green tea because I hadn’t sipped it yet. Strangely though, it was water that had cured me of a headache that had been making me feel nauseous for almost 2.5 hours.
I sat down, going back to my day to see how much water I had consumed since I woke up. The answer was disturbing. I had just had one glass of warm water in the morning and one mug of water as green tea. That’s it, in the 10 hours of my being awake. I hadn’t had any water during lunch or post that.
Finally, I had solved the puzzle.
Not drinking enough water was giving me headaches.
But that could be me imagining things. This is why I did some research to verify my theory.
And finally I learnt:
Water deprivation and dehydration can lead to the development of a headache*.
I have forever been aware of my problem with drinking less water but never in my wildest dreams, I’d imagined it to take such a turn.
Since childhood, I drink minimal water despite watching my father literally flood his system with tall glasses of water every hour. Nothing could inspire me enough to drink the prescribed 8 glasses of water in a day.
Not even my parents saying it repeatedly, nor the textbooks, nor the beauty columns and neither my favourite actresses vouching for fluids as their beauty secret. Not even the episodes of acne breakouts in my early twenties.
Looking back, I feel that somewhere the roots of my bad habit of not drinking enough water lie in watching my mother do so day in and day out. She has had a flawless skin all her life (even today, in her sixties her skin can compete with mine), she’s been working like a bullet chasing errands tirelessly. This picture of my mom working just fine with minimal water reinforced my habit of drinking less water myself.
But, my system isn’t a copy of my mother’s system. It cannot bear the strain of dehydration any longer and has slowly started showing signs like the incident yesterday.
I have to admit, yesterday wasn’t the only occasion when I had an excruciating headache. On reflection, I feel I have been having them more frequently than ever before and in some way or the other, I have seen them go away by consuming one fluid or the other.
When I’ve found the diagnosis and also the cure to my headaches then why the panic and this long post?
Because I am a parent and I have a child who copies all I do without my noticing it. I am at a point in life where history is about to repeat itself when a daughter shall copy her mother without realizing the harm this (seemingly harmless) bad habit might inflict on her.
So this blog-post shall be my reminder, whenever I shall falter in my resolve to drink plenty of water and fluids all day.
A little research helped me learn about the common signs of dehydration.
Mild to moderate dehydration include the following:
- Increased thirsty – Trust your thirst, it’s there for a reason
- Dry mouth
- Feeling tired or sleepy (in general less attentive)
- Low blood pressure
- Urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal
- A headache
- Dry skin
Alarmed, I’ve started mending my ways and have had three glasses of water since I started working on this blog post.
Taking bad habits to task is tough and daunting in one stride.
One, the motivation often fizzles out in a day or two.
Two, as life gets in the way, returning to our well-practised ways of not sticking to the new-found resolve feels like self-help. At least it did to me.
That’s why I started with seeking professional advice on how much water should we drink each day.
I learnt that:
Men should drink about 3 litres (about 13 cups) of total fluids (glasses of water plus water from other beverages and food) a day.
Women should drink about 2.2 litres (about 9 cups) of total fluids a day.
This felt like a LOT to me when I first embarked on the journey of mending my ways.
But what about the advice to drink 8 glasses of water every day?
Health professionals commonly recommend;
“Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.”
Eight 8-ounce glasses equal to about 2 litres. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember for daily water intake.
However, there is no scientific backing to support this quantity of recommended water consumption. But it does serve well as an average guidance to keep us hydrated.
The Action Plan:
With some help and guidance from friends and family, I decided to make this habit of staying well-hydrated all day more exciting, challenging and rewarding with the simplest of tricks.
I had to get ahead of my mind and trick myself into drinking more water without nagging myself to do it.
Besides, there are so many tasty-yet-not-healthy beverages competing with my attention that is only adding to the bad health by leaving me dehydrated and with the sugar I’m better off without.
The following tricks have been working just fine as of now:
Prepared by adding slices of fresh lemon/lime and a few leaves of mint to a cold water pitcher. Letting it stand where it is in clear view helps tempt me enough to drink water often. Adding slices of orange or fruits that you love can help zest up the experience.
Incentivizing the new habit:
For every day when I remember to drink water regularly all day, I grant myself an indulgence. An extra 15 minutes of watching my favourite videos on YouTube.
Eating my daily water requirement:
Including salads of fruits and vegetables that are primarily made up of water. Cucumber and watermelon are my favourite picks.
Keeping it simple:
I am gradually building up the habit of drinking a glass of water at these times, to add to my daily water intake without worry:
- As soon as I wake up.
- Before breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s helping me keep a check on my tendency to overeat. Totally a win-win!
Adding in a little research:
In my research to learn more about the ways of keeping myself hydrated all day without it feeling like a chore, I learnt these fun facts.
How good are you with drinking water?
Do you drink the prescribed 8 glasses of water every day?
The song on my mind: Pani pani re ~ Maachis
* Resource: Water, Hydration and Health
22 thoughts on “Are you too struggling to drink enough water daily?”
Good advice ! Our kids are a great copycat of all of actions and words too. Good that you caught it in time so your daughter can have a fine example in you. It’s heartwarming that you discovered the connection between lack of water and the headache and trusted your instincts. I always advise my patients to drink water as they will become dizzy and disoriented if they forgot to do so. It’s amazing when they feedback to me that after following this advice their side effects goes away immediately like yours did without medication. Bravo My Era! sometimes we the children become the pathfinders in areas our parents neglected or ignored. We need to empower the next generation…..our children.
Thank you for always inspiring me and letting me know the possible good that can come from my actions. It is a wonderful feeling to learn that I am somehow (trying to) doing the right thing after neglecting a vital issue all my life 🙂
It has been a week since this happened and I have been religiously keeping myself well-hydrated. The best bit is in the past one week there have been no episodes of headaches at all. I am so glad that I could find remedy in drinking water 😀
Much love ❤
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I know the plight of a bad headache, especially when you have some important work to do. I have sever migraines and every single time – I can find the cause of it. At the worst, they last for three days and every time my pain tolerance keeps increasing. I have read a lot about water (or warm water) helping headaches. Glad to know your glass of water gave you some respite soon.
Gosh! Migraines are bad and severe 😦
I have a couple of friends who get migraine headaches and seeing them I know how much agony they cause.
Hugs to you brave-heart for fighting them like a warrior.
I am bad too…….i know the benefits and all but somehow forget it; also, working in a regulated environment for 8-10 hours a day hardly makes me thirsty naturally
The regulated environment is a major culprit. Another one is the habit to multi-task that makes it easy to overlook our health in the hurry to do more in the limited time. Start keeping a water bottle at your desk it helps as a reminder and also because water is right there, I don’t think twice before drinking it. This has worked for me so far 🙂
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I have a water bottle right infront of me but even then i fail to acknowledge it on some days; but when I do I drink up 2 glasses immediately 😛
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Era your this post has helped in in a very imp way. Earlier whenever we used to have such headache, once by chance we consumed cold soft drink and there was some relief and we deduced that cold soft drink sometimes helps in headache and we tried to buy the same (otherwise we avoid it considering it junk food) on facing such situation.
But now it seems even simple plain water could have done the trick and it appears soft drinks got more credit than due 🙂
Quite possible Parijat that being dehydrated has been the real cause of your headaches like me. Try drinking more water at regular intervals without waiting to feel thirsty and see if there is any improvement.
Good luck 🙂
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yes there has been improvement; have even repaced tea by water 🙂
This is wonderful. Keep going 🙂
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Water is the cure for most temporary ailments as well as some chronic ones. Sadly we never realize we’re thirsty until our body is already feeling the effects of dehydration. I am so glad you responded to your reflex and followed through by drinking that water! Headaches are horrendous! Worst thing is during winter, when we don’t feel like drinking water – even though our body needs it, regardless of the weather. Nice to meet you “My Era” Saw you over at Sid’s and since water is one of my favorite bevs, I was curious to read. ♥ May your headaches begone forever!
Welcome to my blog Vidya 🙂
Hi5 on water being our favorite beverage 😀
I am guilty of not drinking enough water all year round, so can’t point a finger towards winters. But, in the week gone by, I have been religiously keeping myself hydrated and I am loving the good feeling 😀
It has been wonderful connecting with you & reading your inspiring blog.
Thank you for the good wishes 🙂
I think I just read about myself. I too go about performing my daily activities without realising that I have not drunk a single drop of water. I think on some days, the only fluid I have is a cup of tea in the morning and evening.
I am amazed to note how many of us have been neglecting staying hydrated. It’s time you start drinking more water & other fluids to stay hydrated. Trust me when I say, dehydration is no good and shouldn’t be neglected.
Go, drink a glass of water right away 😀
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A couple of years ago me and my sister were the sort of people who refused to give our bodies a drink until it screamed to do so. Despite us both battling acne which was at its worst and just like you nothing inspired us to drink at least 6 glasses a day. It all changed when we came across one cute Chinese beauty blogger on YouTube called Bubz when we looked up for some skin care tips. 😂 Now I keep a bottle of water beside my bed too so that I won’t even have the excuse to blame laziness to get myself to the kitchen. 😁
Also I suggest you keep a bottle of water at your work desk or which ever place you spend a lot during the day aside from the bedroom.
I hear you Sara ❤
I can vouch for the flawless skin of Chinese girls. My beautician was a 50 year old Chinese lady and her skin was way better than mine even when I was just 22 years old 😐
Just like you suggested, these days I am armed with a bottle all the time, sipping even when I am not feeling thirsty and the past week has been so good with no episodes of headaches 🙂
That’s interesting.. May be I should try that when that headache attacks me next time.. Drinking water is a task for me too but I try to follow it consciously on most days..
You definitely should Ani 🙂
It sounds rather simple but we often wait to feel thirsty before drinking a few sips of water, that rarely happens in the regulated environment of our modern homes and work places. I have had encouraging results in the past one week since I started drinking water close to the recommended volume.
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Completely agree that kids learn by observation. I was terrible at drinking water and like you, figured out that headaches ballooned when I stopped drinking enough. So now I make a conscious effort, keep a filled-up bottle at my desk plus walk to the kitchen every hour to grab a glass of water. So far it is working 🙂 Good luck as you continue.
Maybe the headaches were an alarm that it was high time I took drinking water seriously and that’s what I have done. The best bit is the approaching summer has made keeping this new found resolve all the more easier 🙂
Thank you Shailaja for sharing your experience and motivating me enough to stay put 🙂
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