Spring is here, bringing with her the rain to sprout new seeds in time for summer. As I look out my window at the sky, I see clouds dissipating, taking respite from their work in the watering of our earth they performed last night.
On the porch I've got an old, plastic spinach container open and filled with this rainwater. I'll use a bit of it later to water my fiddle leaf fig and growing crop of seedlings.
I've taken care to plant each seed and place each flat in the sun, and I know that their ultimate growth and success relies upon water. Without water, they will only reach a fraction of their growing potential, if they grow at all. These plants need water not only to grow, but to thrive.
It's the same with us humans. With our bodies comprised of up to 75% water, we need to constantly hydrate in order to help our body regenerate (which it is constantly doing), which, in turn, helps us thrive.
Have you had water today? Water, independent of teas, smoothies, juices, and soups? Pure H2O, agua, l'eau, life--is your body wet enough?
We each have direct communication with our bodies, though it can be hard to decipher their signals in a world that inundates us with signal disruptors. Electromagnetic frequencies electronic devices emit, pesticides in our food (which also permeate the air), and the distractions of modern living (schedules, board meetings, school, and whatever's on TV) are just a few examples of these disruptors.
Still, through the muddle, our bodies speak.
Here are some common codes I've found to represent dehydration in my body. Let me know if they represent the same for you.
1. Dry Skin
As our first line of defense, our skin conveys the message of what's happening in our body before other symptoms manifest. If your skin is dry and flaky, this is evidence that you're not getting enough water in your system--or that your body is not retaining the water you do consume.
Healing steps: Drink more water! Then take a shower and seal in the moisture you've just given your body topically with a thick, oil based sealant, like our Brave Body Butter, made with organic oils and waxes derived from plants.
2. Chapped Lips
Chapped lips are an epidemic in this world that we've come to normalize as a minor nuisance. Like the skin on our arms and legs, our lips' natural state is moist and supple, regardless of size. Dry lips to me indicate that your body is taking moisture from your lip cells in order to conserve it and send it to where it is needed more.
Healing steps: Drink more water! Exfoliate your lips with a blend of 1 part organic coconut oil, 1 part fine sea salt or sugar and moisturize regularly with an all natural, organic lip balm like Brave Lip. You want your lip balm to be as natural as possible because you will end up eating it. Not to mention your skin already absorbs what's put on top of it.
3. Dry Mouth
Like your lips, your mouth is naturally moist and teeming with good bacteria that help begin digestion when you eat. A dry mouth speaks to overall dryness in the body, and also the digestive tract.
Healing steps: When your mouth is dry, drink more water. If you experience dry mouth in the presence of anxiety, drink more water with the intention of allowing Mama Earth's cooling waters to ease your mind in its time of stress. Make sure to eat hydrating foods like juicy fruits and wet vegetables (cabbage, carrots, and the like).
Water Note: City water and most tap water is chlorinated, meaning it is treated with chlorine -- chlorine, which is a chemical used in pools to keep them sterile.
Have you ever left a pool feeling moisturized? I sure haven't.
Chlorine strips our body of its beneficial microbial life and also of our cell's vital water supply. Don't drink the chlorine Kool Aid (or any Kool Aid, really. Kool Aid has some gnarly chemicals inside it).
Put the bottled water down!
The bottled water industry is unregulated and the water in it is often teeming with toxins. Toxins that are then multiplied by the plastic that holds the water.
Instead, get a high capacity water filter like a Berkey (which we use). If this price is out of your current budget, start off with a Brita or similar unit.
4. Pruny Extremities
If your fingers look like you've just spent an hour in the tub yet it's been weeks since you've last submerged, it's time to drink more water. This happened to me last summer and I realized the pruniness was my body's way of conserving what little water I had inside me.
Healing steps: Drink more water! Create a daily healing ritual where you soak your hands and feet in warm water and set your intention to be one of rehydration. After each soak, massage your fingers and toes to increase blood flow. Brave Body Elixir is a great, all natural moisturizing oil, and my favorite to use in this practice.
5. Dark Colored Urine
A classic sign of dehydration. If your urine is dark yellow and has a strong pee smell, your body is low on water and reserving its supplies for keeping you alive.
Healing steps: Say it with me: DRINK MORE WATER!
6. Swollen Limbs
During the height of my summer dehydration, my left leg and foot became swollen and tingly all over. For weeks I wondered what was going on and when I finally tapped into my body I realized I was dehydrated! But I'm drinking all this tea! I thought. And thus I learned that while tea is water based, tea is not water.
Healing steps: Drink lots of water. A good starting off point is to divide your weight in half and drink that number in ounces. Elevate your swollen limb(s) when you sleep at night and whenever else you can.
If you're prone to headaches or find your head aching when the rest of your body seems well, this can be pointing to a more advanced state of dehydration. Whenever I get headaches I ask myself if I've been drinking water and most of the time, the answer is no.
Bodies are beauty-full, intelligent creations, intuitively operating in a world of their own. When we tap into our beauteous bodies, we can learn how to best support them in all the work they do.
Close your eyes, ask your body what it needs, and drink more water.
Always drink more water.