SMILE 2020

Happy and Productive New Year everyone.

Now that we have made our resolutions for 2020, let’s figure out how to accomplish them. Resolutions are personal goals that are often life changing, have been the back of our minds for years and for whatever the reasons have not been achievable. I’d like to share with you SMILE, my philosophy on how I try to achieve my personal goals.

Why SMILE? If we start with a SMILE, there’s a better chance of achieving a goal.

My first resolution is always to get into better physical shape. But again for whatever the reasons it may not happen–we get busy, it’s inconvenient to meal prep, or to fit exercise into the week. Let’s save that SMILE for next month and start with something more basic.

Water.  We all know the importance of drinking more water to maintain optimum health.   Not so easy to do on a daily basis, especially at the office where we spend more time than anywhere else.

This year, my goal is to drink on a daily basis an average of 100 ounces per day of water.  And I will apply SMILE to ensure achievement of the goal.  Hopefully you can use SMILE to improve your water intake.

SMILE is based upon the following:

Simple – It must be EASY to implement, follow, and fit it into our busy schedules.  Don’t overthink it.

Meaningful – Why do this for myself? I find it easier to stick to things when I understand the value it provides.

Inspiring – If it is worth doing for myself, it’s probably worth sharing with others.  How great is it to encourage others?

Lasting – There are no quick fixes in life.   It is okay to start slow….  remain steady…  and even get back on the wagon when you fall off. And make expectations reasonable.

Evolving – Life is not static.  Be prepared to change and go with flow.

 

Simple.  So how do we make it simple to increase our water intake?

  • Make it convenient wherever you are. The routine needs to be easy. There are three places that you need water.  At work, at home and every place else.  Find 3 favorite water bottles and keep one in the office, one in full view at home and one in your car  (or if you are walking rather than driving, one that you can carry around).  Make it light so it isn’t a drag to carry.
  • How much? There is no rule of thumb, but if you tend to drink less rather than more, I would start with at least eight 8-ounce glasses or whatever you feel comfortable with knowing that it will increase.  Mayo Clinic indicates that on average for women the number is 9 cups and for men it is 13.  Total fluid intake is actually 20% higher coming from food and the rest from drinks.  The key is to drink throughout the day and to increase consumption. Try to account for how much water you are drinking daily so you can measure your success.  For me, my water bottles are 33.3 ounces and right now, I won’t go to sleep until I finish all three of these bottles. Get a free APP for your phone to help remind and track your daily intake.  Check out this site: https://techigem.com/water-reminder-apps/.   Once you get started and have the rhythm going, it will become second nature and you won’t need the APP anymore. Reminder that consuming a lot of coffee or alcohol requires increased water consumption to overcompensate for the dehydration.
  • Make it tasty. Some of us actually like the clean refreshing taste.  Some of us get bored with the same old all day long.  Change up the flavors.  For example, at home, add some fruit flavoring.  But whatever you do, no sugar or artificial sweetener goes in or you are defeating the purpose of drinking more agua. At work, same thing.  Change it up and do what you have to do to increase your intake. Click onto https://www.misskyra.com/lifestyle/make-your-regular-water-tastier-and-healthier-in-these-ways/photostory/68810889.cms for some inspiration or check out the latest and greatest on Instagram.

 Meaningful.  Why is drinking more water so meaningful? According to Mayo Clinic, drinking lots of water aides in weight loss, supports healthier and younger skin, gives you more energy, assists in digestion, wards off headaches (including migranes) and better joint and muscle health. This is just to name a few and should be enough reasons why you should increase your daily water intake.  When you initially start increasing your water intake, you body is both cleansing and regulating itself, so don’t get frustrated by the frequency in running to the restroom. That will change quickly.

Inspiring.  I try my best to inspire as many as I can to improve health.  This is just the beginning.  Since I do it for myself, it would be great if you could do it also.  And from there, you can excite your family and friends.  And they in turn will encourage and remind you if that water bottle isn’t attached to the hip. Imagine if all of us, including our coordinators and each of our home health aides, inspired our families, our patients and their families to drink more water.   It becomes viral, even better than Instagram.  Now that’s a daily WOW!

Lasting. We all have the best of intentions to improve, but if the master plan isn’t working take a few minutes before you even start your day to figure out why not?  Maybe the bottle is too heavy, not in the right place, water not tasty, time of the day or intake needs to be tweaked.  Whatever it is, take 5 minutes or even less (which in the scheme of things isn’t much time) to reassess and start all over again if it isn’t working.  This one is really, really important to maintain healthfulness and keep you chipper throughout the day.  Make it last!  Check this article out for tips that may help:  https://www.self.com/story/how-to-drink-more-water

Evolving. My expectation of increasing my water intake to a level that is about 10% higher over what is now over the next six months will come from the anticipated increase in exercise.  I know when my water intake is high, my mood stays steady even when the stress levels are elevated.  When my water intake is at a low, I get grouchy, tend to want to eat more, particularly something sugary, which in turn makes me more irritable, tired and less efficient.   You get the picture. I also know that I may not be able to maintain that 10% increase to this level during the work week, but expect to make up any shortfall on the weekends.  For those who know they are drinking too little water, start slow and expect to change the plan over time.  It works!  And I promise you will feel much better.

For our home health aides, check out my article on the Intranet on “Strategies for Detecting and Preventing Dehydration for Seniors”.

Reach out to me at SandyHealth@carefinders.org for some inspiration.

Stay tuned for next month’s article.