Everything You Need To Know About Hydration And Mental Well-Being

Jan 06, 2023
Stephanie Feldman
We all know that being properly hydrated has many physical benefits. Hydration promotes healthy aging, helps prevent chronic diseases like heart failure and dementia, and increases our life expectancy; it speeds up our metabolism and makes us feel fuller.

It enhances our quality of sleep which, in turn, increases energy levels and, ultimately, physical activity.  It also makes us more – you know – regular, helping food move through the digestive tract more efficiently. 

We’re generally less aware of the way hydration can positively affect our mental health and emotional well-being.  Our brains are made up of approximately 75% water, so it makes sense that not drinking enough can negatively impact our mental health. Adequate hydration improves our cognitive performance and mental clarity, enabling us to focus better in our daily lives, and it helps keep our anxiety levels in check – something we all can use.  If you’re well-hydrated, you’re more likely to be alert and motivated, have less brain fog, and feel calmer and less depressed. On the other hand if you need a drink, you’ll tend to be crankier (, experience more tension, feel fatigued or aggressive and even experience lower self-esteem.

With all that in mind, the question becomes, how do you get hydrated – and stay that way?

How Much Water Should You Drink?

Believe it or not this question has been the subject of debate for years.   I recommend the old-fashioned 8 x 8 rule: 8 ounces of water eight times per day (totaling 64 ounces).  It is a good rule of thumb – it’s easy to remember, and will provide an adequate level of hydration for most people. 

But that being said, every individual has different hydration needs.  Consult with your doctor before embarking upon any significant changes to your consumption habits.  This is particularly true for individuals with metabolic or renal conditions, or anyone over the age of 50.   

5 Ideas to Help You Hydrate

Sipping ice-cold water throughout the day, especially during the winter, can be a real challenge in the Northeast.  So if you’re struggling to stay hydrated, we understand.  That’s why we’ve put together some strategies to help you meet your hydration goals.

  1. Start your morning with a cup of water with lemon squeezed into it.  Lemon helps detoxify your liver.  It is also good for your skin.  Who doesn’t want nice skin?  The temperature of the water is a personal preference.  Some people report that hot water with lemon aids in regularity. 
  2. Try drinking room-temperature water through a straw.  Research has shown this to be an effective way to improve your water intake.  Two environmental-friendly options are biodegradable drinking straws and stainless steel reusable drinking straws.
  3. Think about purchasing a 32-ounce stainless steel or glass BPA-free water bottle.  Some of our favorites are MIRA stainless steel water bottles, THILY stainless steel water bottles and PROBTTL glass water bottles.  Consider buying an eye-catching bottle and leaving it in a highly visible place; that way it’ll act as a reminder to drink, drink, drink!  Additionally, there are many Smart water bottles and apps that will help track your water intake. Here are a few suggestions: Hidrate Spark and ICEWATER Happy shopping!
  4. Let’s be honest – even for the hydration obsessed, drinking plain water can sometimes get boring.  So even though water is the best option when it comes to hydration, if you just can’t take another sip, there are many great alternatives:  carbonated water, plain coffee with a splash of milk or milk alternative, tea (green tea is a great choice), water with lemon, lime, or some other fresh fruit and/or water with a splash of 100% juice – any of these options can help you stay fully hydrated
  5. Here is an interesting fact: foods make up approximately 20% of the total daily fluid requirements.  So, in addition to drinking up, try eating fruits and vegetables too.  Some good examples of water-rich foods include melons, celery, cucumbers, berries, oranges, and tomatoes, to name a few.

Drinks to Limit or Avoid

As we just discussed, there are so many amazing fluids and foods that will not only hydrate us but are nutritious for us.  There are plenty of products sold that, let’s just say, are best avoided.  This list may not come as a surprise to you.  Please limit – or even better, avoid – the following drinks: sugar-laden coffee drinks, sweet tea, soda, diet soda, juice with added sugars, and alcoholic beverages (these are dehydrating).

Recipe: Lemon Ginger Green Tea

This is a great recipe to try during the winter.  Lemon is rich in vitamin C.  People who have low vitamin C levels may feel tired and depressed. Additionally, ginger and green tea have been shown to help with depression. 


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package of green tea
  • ½ inch grated ginger
  • 1 tsp honey (this is optional if you would like to add a little sweetness)
  • ¼ lemon, juice


  1. Boil the water and then bring it to a simmer. 
  2. Add the tea bag and steep for up to 10 minutes (personal preference).
  3. Add the ginger and lemon juice.
  4. Remove the tea bag.  If using honey, add it when the tea has cooled a bit.
  5. Your tea is ready.  Get comfy and enjoy!

BIO:  Stephanie Feldman is a registered dietitian and certified health and wellness coach.  Stephanie uses her education, training, and life experiences to design individualized programs that focus on a balanced diet, adequate hydration, physical activity, sleep, self-care, and more.