Since moving to the Mile High City, staying hydrated has become a daily challenge. At higher elevation, sweat evaporates so quickly you might not even realize you’re exerting yourself. This is a stark difference from the humid heat of my former city, Washington, DC. Plus, lower oxygen levels here also make me breathe slightly faster and more deeply, so I’m losing more water through respiration, too.
Wherever you call home, there’s a good reason to be more mindful about staying hydrated. A growing body of research that was recently covered by NPR shows just how much your work can suffer when you’re even slightly dehydrated. A recent study of young, healthy women at Yale showed that cognitive functioning took a nose dive when participants were just 1% dehydrated. And most of us can’t even perceive that lack of hydration, because our thirst response doesn’t typically kick in at that point.
So it’s on us to be proactive about staying hydrated – not just for the obvious health benefits, but for the sake of our work product, too. Further research shows that tasks requiring complex processing or focused attention are inhibited by even these slight levels of dehydration.
So how can busy bosses like us make time to drink the 91 ounces of fluid that the Institute of Medicine recommends for women each day? Well, here are a few strategies I’ve found work for me in staying hydrated – even here in the dry Denver climate.
Get a Jump Start on Hydration
First, I start and end my day with water. Every morning, before my usual cup of coffee, I fill up my favorite large mason jar with 24 ounces of water, pop in my go-to reusable stainless steel straw, and starting chugging away. My goal for myself is to empty that mason jar before I start my morning coffee – which is very motivating, indeed. And then at the end of the day, I fill it up once more and take it to bed with me to drink while I read before going to sleep.
At first, this habit took some getting used to, especially because I found drinking water first thing in the morning a little tough. But now, after a few months of doing this, it’s like my body craves it and I feel so much better knowing that this practice alone helps me get in over half of of those 91 daily ounces.
Eat Your Water
Second, I rely on a lot of water-rich foods to help me stay hydrated. You can, in fact, eat your water. A lot of fruits and vegetables make this easy.
For only $3.89, I pick up my favorite 3-pack of english cucumbers at Costco and eat them sliced up with a little dressing, dip, or hummus as a pre-dinner snack throughout the week. Watermelon this time of year is a delicious and refreshing treat as well, and celery or iceberg lettuce are some of my go-to options year round.
When I want a quick morning breakfast, I’ll toss in a few ice cubes into a fruit smoothie, and blend it up to get added healthy hydration that tastes more like ice cream.
Keep Your Taste Buds Entertained
Speaking of taste, if you’re the kind of person who gets easily bored at the idea of drinking water all day, there are plenty of ways to up the flavor profile without sacrificing hydration.
I know fruit infuser water bottles are super popular – because their built-in basket inserts make it easy to infuse your water with the flavors of any fresh fruit you like. Personally, I just slice up lemon and rip off some mint from my herb garden and pop straight into my water glass when I’m craving refreshing fruit flavors. But that’s easy for me because I’m always drinking with a paper or stainless steel straw.
Another easy option that anyone who follows me on Instagram will see all the time – is reaching for a flavored, carbonated water option. You’ll often see me with my favorite La Croix flavors, like coconut and pamplemousse – a.k.a. grapefruit. The bubbles really keep my tastebuds entertained and make drinking water feel like a treat.
Double Down When Things Heat Up
During the recent heat wave that hit Colorado and a lot of our country, I made extra sure to up my water intake, too. Dehydration increases your body’s core temperature, so when things are heating up, make sure to drink up even more than you think you need.
The same thing goes for whenever I work out – even if it’s something mild like a walk or hike, I always end it with a big glass of water and make sure to bring extra water bottles with me if we’re headed outside – especially with Teddy, the dog, who needs his own water bottle, too!
Have you found hacks for staying hydrated as a busy boss lady on the go? Or have you learned the hard way how critically important hydration is to maintaining your health and productivity? I’d love to hear about it on social media at @emiliearies and @bosseduporg, or in the comments section below.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.