We all have the best intentions of drinking water. We make it our new years resolution and our goal for the week. We will even splurge on fancy water bottles made of stainless steel, glass or BPA-free plastic.
But no matter what we do, we can’t seem to get enough water in. We feel sluggish, our skin isn’t glowing, and we are foggy headed. We often don’t remember to drink or are too busy chugging coffee or tea to worry about plain old water.
The funny thing is, we also all know the benefits of staying hydrated with water. Staying hydrated leads to more natural energy (no need for 4 cups of coffee a day!), decreased hunger, weight maintenance, better looking skin and hair, naturally detoxing, and even sharper thinking.
We all also know that our bodies are made of mostly water, it’s the best beverage to quench our thirst, and has no calories, no sugars, nor any preservatives. All-in-all, the math adds up and it’s a win-win.
But then why is it such a chore to drink enough water?
Simply put, water can be boring.
But, that doesn’t mean that it has to stay that way!
Here are some tried and true tips to increase your hydration so that you can reap all the wonderful benefits water has to offer.
1. Set a Goal
This may sound redundant and you may even say to yourself “I’ve tried this whole goal thing before”. But this is different.
The key to setting this goal for yourself is to keep the actual water visible.
Start with a big container. This container can be a milk or juice container or a large pitcher. Keep it within eyesight, and keep it full of water. Whether that water container lives in your office, on your kitchen counter, or on your passenger seat in your car is up to you. But, the point is to have this as your reminder throughout the day.
Now comes the actual goal setting part.
Set a goal that each day that you will drink 1,2,3 or 10 of those water containers. Start small and work your way up. Use that large water container to refill your glasses and count how many times you fill that large container. This will give you an easy benchmark to see how well you are doing that day.
2. Add Flavor
Oftentimes water drinking can be such a chore because we are accustomed to flavoring.
Creating infused waters is a great way to make a delicious beverage that still provides all the benefits of plain water! Adding berries, herbs (such as mint, rosemary, or basil), cucumber, citrus, or melon can be a great way to shake up boring water and make you feel super fancy.
Infused waters will keep all day and just continue to get more delicious as the day goes on! On top of reaping the benefits that plain water has to offer, infused waters will also provide extra boosts in antioxidants and vitamins/minerals depending on your infusion ingredients. It’s a win win!
You can find containers that are specifically made for infusing, or you can make your own with just a large pitcher. Whatever works for you is great; continue to experiment with different flavors and combinations to find that award winning infusion recipe that leads you to chugging water all day long.
3. Keep it Cold
A really cold, icy glass of water is usually more appealing than a lukewarm glass. Adding ice to your water will create a tempting thirst quenching beverage that screams “drink me now”!
Especially in the summertime when temperatures are reaching ungodly highs, water is the perfect cool-down beverage.
Finding a travel water container that keeps your glass really cold is key. There are even some water cups that will keep ice frozen all day long.
You can even take this up a notch and create fun ice cubes. Using a similar approach to the infusions, freezing berries or herbs into ice cubes is a great way to add a hint of flavor without going overboard.
4. Use a Straw
Surprisingly, many people have much more success in drinking plenty of water when a straw is involved. By simply switching to drinking via straw, it is easier to finish your glass before you realize it’s gone.
In order to continue being environmentally conscious, grab either a reusable cup with a straw or just a reusable straw. And if you are worried about wrinkles, know that staying hydrated keeps your skin naturally plump and smooth. I don’t know about you, but I would rather chance having one or two wrinkles around my mouth while preventing other wrinkles all over.
5. Carry it With You
Keep your water nearby at all times. Bring it in the car, to work, to meetings, to the gym, to the mall, and everywhere in between. Think of your water bottle as an extension of your outfit (bonus points if it matches your clothes).
Having your water bottle around will eliminate any excuse not to drink. You will likely be surprised how often you are thirsty and go for your water bottle compared to how little you were drinking before it became part of your daily ensemble.
6. Use an App
Need to drink more water? There’s an app for that.
Countless companies have made apps that use creative ways for us to track our water intake. From apps that will donate a certain amount to charities when you drink water, to apps that encourage you to grow a beautiful rose bush based on your water intake, there’s an app answer for helping you stay hydrated.
Even if you are compelled by some friendly competition, there are apps where you can challenge your friends and colleagues to “water races”. There are great ways to get started with drinking more water and create the routine of H2O over anything else.
7. Create Reminders
Most of us function via virtual calendar these days. By creating reminders to ding as reminder to drink water throughout the day we can save ourselves any brainpower of thinking about water, just sit back an wait for the reminder.
Set these reminders each hour and be specific! If you want to drink 8 ounces per hour, add that into the pinging message. And be sure to set yourself up so that you have the water around.
The more of a chore it is to stop and drink water, the less likely you will follow through. So prepare a bit ahead of time, keep your glass full and chug when your phone reminds you to.
So much of our day-to-day practices are habitual. If you are finding yourself not drinking water currently, it’s all about changing that habit. Soon enough water will be all you want to drink! Setting yourself up for success is key to creating new habits. Making the new behavior easy, do-able, and actually fit in your lifestyle will make it much more likely to continue long-term. Plus keeping in mind how much better you will feel when you are hydrated will keep you going.
Whenever you are creating a new habit, start small. Don’t bite off more than you can chew no matter how tempting it is to go from zero to hundred in a day. When you are forming a new water habit, start with increasing your water intake by factors of 1 or 2. You will always have room to grow! Being realistic with where you are currently and taking steps to get to where you want to go long-term is exactly what will keep you hydrated and feeling great for years to come!
At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.
Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.
One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.
When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.
So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.
Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day
This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.
Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.
When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.
Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity
One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.
Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.
An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.
When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.
Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day
Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.
We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.
By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.
Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment
While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.
I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.
You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.
Con #1: We Move a Lot Less
When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.
Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.
Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.
Con #2: Less Human Interaction
One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.
Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.
This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.
While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.
Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment
Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.
This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.
For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.
Con #4: Unique Distractions
Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.
For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.
To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.
Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.
We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.