I know for a fact that my mental resiliance is always better when I eat, sleep, drink and rest properly. But when you have young children or a demanding baby, that is easier said than done – if you start the morning after a night of sleep deprivation, you are already on a downhill slope for remembering everything. This is where habits come to the rescue: a good habit is one you don’t actively think about completing. Hydration is one of my bugbears as it’s easy to overlook and messes up everything else, from hunger to how stressed you feel.
There are three ways to make good habits stick.
– Make it routine. You don’t think about brushing all 32 of your teeth, do you?
– Make it pleasurable. You are not going to miss playgroup if it means a coffee and catch up with your best friend.
– Make it accountable. If you commit to checking the corporate inboxes for your boss each morning, you will do it as there are consequences if you do not.
The hydration habit
Let’s face it; hydration is not sexy. You don’t get a thrill from drinking water and it’s easy to over look the signs of thirst with a screaming baby after milk again. So if it’s not pleasurable and not easily accountable, make it a routine.
- Water bottle on the night stand. Especially if you are breastfeeding. Have a drink every time you pick up that baby to feed. For the rest of us, blessed with older children, chug it down as soon as you lift your head off the pillow. You brain will thank you.
- Put a jug of squash in firm view. I stick mind on the kitchen island as I go past it every five minutes. The colour (e.g. blackcurrent) acts as a visual reminder. If I want a snack, I always have a drink first.
- Banish fizzy drinks as an every-day item. You don’t need the over-sweet taste or the sugar high, especially when your body is stressed from childcare anyway. You just crash and crave more, without fixing the underlying problems.
- Drink before bed. I love a cup of tea, but I have started cutting it off at the same time as my phone usage at night. I now drinka glass of water before brushing my teeth and it’s helped me to fall asleep.
I would love to hear your water stories. The NHS recommends 8 glasses a day, but if you are breastfeeding, running around and generally burning energy with the kids, add in more.