Did you know your body is made of around 60% water? That water's key roles include carrying oxygen to your cells, regulating your blood pressure and body temperature, helping to eliminate wastes and toxins, and dissolving nutrients and transporting them throughout your body. Pretty amazing, huh!
Water also helps dissolve and flush uric acid, which can build up around your joints and cause pain and discomfort. It helps flush your gall bladder and bile ducts in your liver, keeping bile flowing so that it can break down fats you eat. Water also helps make digestive secretions that break down your food so you can absorb nutrients.
Knowing this, it's perhaps not surprising that dehydration can affect us in a multitude of ways. Dehydration can hamper your liver's detoxification processes and digestive function. It creates extra demand on your heart by decreasing blood volume and causing your heart to beat faster. Indeed, if you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, one of the first things I recommend is you start drinking more water every day (and fewer diuretic drinks such as coffee, tea and alcoholic drinks).
And if you suffer from headaches, be aware that dehydration can play a role. Expecting a baby? Dehydration can also make you more susceptible to overheating when pregnant.
So how much water do you need to drink?
Inspired by author and depression and anxiety survivor Matt Haig, I'm sharing a list of things that can spike or worsen my OCD, rumination, anxiety and stress. And a list of things that have supported my recovery from 19 years of OCD, that make me feel happy in my soul, calmer and which help to quiet my mind.
Things that make me worse
Staying up too late
Doing too much
Not resting enough
Not eating enough protein (meats, fish, eggs)
Crowded, busy cities (if I’m there too long)
People sometimes tell me they wouldn’t have thought there was a link between nutrition and mental health. I believe that by growing our awareness of the link between nutrients, mental health and mental health problems, we might reduce the stigma of mental health problems. We might create a shift where more people seek and find answers to their mental health struggles and go on to live happy and productive lives.
Nutrition builds your physical foundations right down to your cells. Cells that make up your brain and nerves, your hormone-secreting ovaries and testes. Cells that make up your heart and lungs, your complex, amazing digestive system. Cells that make up your blood. Immune cells that fight infections and keep you well.
Christmas can be a painful time of year for many people - a time when grief, loneliness, health struggles, depression, anxiety, lack of money, or family trauma can be that much more prominent. And what adds to the pain for many of us, is the loud, deeply contrasting message that this is a happy, merry, joyous time. A time of togetherness, of fun, of treats. A time of spending lots of money and receiving lots of gifts. A time of family. These societal messages can be like salt in our wounds.
Yet this common human experience isn’t often talked about. In a spirit of acknowledging our human struggles and sharing ways to care for yourself through tough times, I’ve put together these mental health first aid tips for the holidays.
There are tips for those who are:
-feeling exhausted emotionally and physically
-impacted by toxic family, and
-for those who are struggling to sleep.
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