• [Whoah! Water! Migraine Madness Mopped!]

    There’s a book called Running On Empty: Meditations for Indispensable Women. I know all about “running on empty.” At one point in my life, I was working fulltime plus for a small, struggling web development agency, teaching part-time to supplement the poor income from the first job, and trying to work part-time on a Ph.D. That’s a lot of time. I was running so far below empty on the gauge that, not only was I on the verge of total burnout, I had stressed and over-worked myself into frequent migraines. Migraines and I were no strangers, as I first met them in my early 20s. This, however, was on a mammoth scale. I was regularly enduring migraines resistant to painkillers up to fifteen days a month. While the magnitude of the pain and frequency fit in well my personal philosophy of, “If you’re going to do it, do it 250%”, I was in a constant spiral of trying to catch up and then working myself into a migraine. Add stress and repeat, as required.
    I am not going to say that by simply drinking 8 glasses (2 litres) of water a day I miraculously cured my migraines and other ills of my life. That would not be the honest truth. However, I had read many articles on migraines and more than one suggested that, for many people, migraines were often induced by a combination of co-occurring factors. Stress, implicated in so many things, was obviously one factor. Another one was dehydration. Most people simply do not drink enough or drink things, like coffee, which are actually diuretics, causing a loss of water.

    I probably needed a complete lifestyle change, but that was more difficult to do than simply eliminating dehydration as a contributing factor to my migraines. I took a brief leave of absence from everything I could talk my way out of on short notice and started trying to increase the amount I was drinking. I already did not drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages, so it was more a matter of training myself to drink more than replacing what I already drank. This proved to be quite tricky. Since I was young, I have despised room temperature (or warmer!) water unless it was flavoured. I always took Kool-Aid and drink crystal-flavoured water with me on my bicycle or while hiking. I didn’t want all that extra sugar. Instead, I developed a system of keeping a set of three plastic one-litre water bottles in rotation from the refrigerator and invested heavily in Brita. As I finished one bottle, I would refill it from the Brita, put it back in the refrigerator, and take another cold bottle out. It was slow going for awhile, but eventually I managed to accustom myself to drinking both chilled and warm water. I keep a bottle by me at all times, which encourages me to drink without thinking about it. Most days it is very easy to drink 2 litres with little effort.
    So now you know how I did it, you’re probably wondering why it was worth it to do. Did I eliminate my migraines? No. I still have migraines, but at least now they’re usually related to my hormonal cycles. They’re less frequent and less painful. Is water responsible? I can’t positively say, but I’m pretty confident it did and I’m convinced that it did no harm. I feel better and my kidneys have an easier time flushing my body of various toxins, which is also a plus.
    What I can say is that I drink almost nothing else except for water (and herbal teas). I’m saving a small fortune on processed drinks while grocery shopping and even more when going out for a meal, as tap water usually isn’t that expensive. It’s true that the Brita’s getting a good workout and the Brita filters cost money, but that cost is a drop in the bucket compared to how much people pay for coffee, Coke, and alcohol. As a side-benefit, the Brita removes all kinds of other impurities in the water.
    So, in the end, I have fewer (and less painful) migraines, save a fortune on processed drinks, feel better, and help my kidneys flush toxins out more easily. And… It’s easy to do now, without thinking. Start your water habit today!
    See more progress on: Drink eight glasses of water each day


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