The Great Water Debate

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Teachers are notorious for not taking care of themselves.

This isn’t necessarily intentional. There is just too much going on during the school day to remember to do all of the things.

And then we get home, and so many of us who intended to exercise or cook a healthy dinner end up throwing that out the window.

This isn’t always the case, and certainly not an everyday experience (let’s give ourselves some credit), but at some point many teachers find themselves getting into some bad habits in the name of putting it all out there for their classrooms.

The number one offender? Water.

It seems so simple, but most teachers do not drink enough water throughout the day.

There can be any number of reasons for this. Time passes without realizing it, you have a no food/drink policy in your school, or maybe you just don’t realize the difference when you drink enough water.

Of course, there’s always the bathroom issue as well (which is what most people have said is their reasoning).

I mean, I get it. I remember my mom asking me, completely baffled once, what you do if you have a bathroom emergency. My answer ranged from “hope there’s someone walking by” to “hold it and hope for the best”. I had a former colleague use the restroom in the middle of class due to a lack of another option and a fight broke out while he was gone. No Bueno.

I want to discuss why we need to change this water mentality because of our health and some options you can look into to try and eliminate the barriers you have now.

Benefits of Water for Teachers

Yesterday I was listening to an unrelated podcast on “Rise” by Rachel Hollis (if you don’t listen, I highly suggest it. Very motivational and relatable). The topic was how to make your morning routine work for you and it got me thinking about this topic.

You are meant to drink half your weight in ounces of water each day. While we grew up hearing 8 8oz. glasses, this is a more individualized approach because every body is different. While you should always discuss any health issues or questions with your physician, this is a decent goal to set and tailors your water intake to you.

There is a great article on Healthline written by Joe Leech, MS titled, “7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water“. By scrolling through his data, it is obvious why teachers need to make sure they are hydrated:

  • Maximize Physical Performance
  • Major Effect on Energy Levels and Brain Function
  • Prevent and Treat Headaches
  • Help Relieve Constipation
  • Help Treat Kidney Stones
  • Prevent Hangovers (Maybe not relevant to the classroom, but it helps if you decompress with an adult beverage at night or on the weekends!)
  • Help With Weight Loss

If you have dealt with any of this, especially while in the classroom, you know how much of a game-changer it would be to simply drink more water to alleviate some of those issues.

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Drinking more water in the classroom

Now, in my own experience, when I began to drink the proper amount of water (which was drastic…I went from drinking a few cups of coffee and maybe a regular-sized bottle of water a day to half my weight in ounces), my trips to the bathroom increased and I started having some symptoms of electrolyte imbalance.

This isn’t uncommon, but it can be countered.

For starters, when your body adjusts to being used to that water, your trips to the bathroom do regulate. I might suggest starting this process over a weekend so you start to feel your body out.

Woman drinking a glass of water in her kitchen

When in school, I would swap schedules with your co-workers. I had all my team members’ schedules and vice-versa. We would know who we could call if we needed someone to cover for a few minutes while active in the classroom. (If nothing else, that short walk to the restroom could be an excellent opportunity for a quick brain break as well). This could also be a fun way to begin a challenge with co-workers regarding the water you drink in a day. Many places host a “Biggest Loser” competition for weight loss. This could be an interesting venture as well.

If you find yourself starting to have some of the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance, which is especially common if you eat a low-carb diet, you can add some drink enhancements to your water or even some Himalayan pink salt. Both of these can help (another option is drinking some pickle juice if that is more your style!)

For me, I know one of the reasons I wouldn’t drink enough water was because I couldn’t see it. Once I actively begin drinking water, I often start craving it more and more, but I need to know what I’m working with visually.

When I first started this process (before my body began telling me how much I needed to drink), I bought the bottle of Smart Water below. Since it was clear and an entire liter, I could gauge where I was in the process.

1 liter bottle of SmartWater

You can buy them in bulk on Amazon if you don’t want to reuse multiple times.

Once you get used to the process (and know where to refill), you may want to invest in a good, sturdy water bottle that can withstand life in your bag. Be mindful of the ounces that it holds and know how many refills you should strive for in a day.

Another option is writing it down. Here is a great planner insert that has the water level on it so you can keep track of the amount you have guzzled down each day.

"My Day for Me" planner insert

But seriously, our bodies are 70% water. We need to make sure we are giving ourselves what we need to be at peak performance. If we aren’t doing the absolute basics for the foundation of our lives, then we can be sure that teacher burnout and other health issues will be coming our way.

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