Wow am I dehydrated! I can tell cause my pee is bright yellow instead of the usual pale color. TMI? I think not! It's important to know your body and one way to do so is to notice the colors, odors and textures it shares with you. Urine smell sweet? You may have diabetes. Smell like ammonia? Could be an infection. Like sulfur? Check what you ate the night before – asparagus could be the culprit!
Growing up, whenever I had a cold my mother would ask me, “What color is it?” (Meaning the snot). Gross! But if it's green, it's a sign you may have a sinus infection. I’ll stop there – you get my point.
Breathing is also an important function to monitor. My breathing has been shallow lately, a sure sign that I am stressed (and falling back into old patterns). With shallow (otherwise known as thoracic or chest) breathing, you draw in minimal breath as opposed to drawing air throughout the lungs via the diaphragm. Your body goes into what some call “emergency breathing.” You only want to activate that kind of breathing when you need it, not every day in response to anxiety creeping into your life! The cause could be as simple as too much sitting, since our hips are flexed and belly compressed, making diaphragmatic breathing mechanically challenging. Regardless of the source you want to nip it in the bud, as not only does it induce further anxiety, in many cases it results in pain.
So what does my bright yellow pee and shallow breathing tell me? Well if I listen to signals my body is sending, it’s asking me to take notice – and I’m paying attention. It’s time for a reset!
In the first pillar of MOJO Makers™ I outline the benefits of Building a Wellness Foundation. I’m going to follow those principles and get my deep breathing practice and hydration on, and my water and oxygen levels back in check. Join me!
This time of year there are so many options for making our water look and taste refreshingly delicious. We can infuse it with watermelon, cucumber, berries and of course lemon or lime. Just grab a pitcher or mason jar, fill it with some yummy fruit, add water and let it sit for an hour. If you don’t have the time, you can poke holes in the fruit to seep out the flavor and sip it sooner. Feel free to experiment with your favorite herbs and spices as well. If you’re more adventurous you can find some delicious recipes here.
I prefer hot tea in the morning (in fact I’m sipping some mint tea as I write this blog entry!), but later in the days ice teas are a great way to boost hydration, especially herbal teas.
Steep some mint, chamomile, rooibos or another of your favorite teas, put it on ice and keep the extra in the fridge. One to two caffeinated choices a day such as green or black teas count too, just be careful if you have issues with acid reflux. Eating hydrating foods will also help.
As for the breathing part, I’ve signed up for Deepak Chopra’s 21-day free meditation. It started yesterday, but you have 5 days to get started and it’s only 20 minutes per day. I always learn a lot from his meditations and I highly recommend you register. If that’s too intimidating you can try the Dr. Andrew Weil 4-7-8 breathing technique, which I love and takes less than a minute. Use it in the shower, your office, or to wind down when you go to sleep at night. Or you can use my friend’s SHERPA breathing technique, which also can be done in less than a minute.
The point is, there are numerous ways to practice healthful breathing, as well as many ways to reach optimal hydration levels (half your body weight in ounces is suggested). If you’re like me and sometimes a day goes by and you’ve neglected to do either, start by scheduling it on your smart phone. You can also enlist a buddy. Nothing like a partner in crime to motivate you!
So I challenge you to look at your urine the next time you head to the bathroom and gauge the color against this chart. If your hydration needs a boost, put a plan in action.
If you’ve held your breath while reading this, take a moment and do a full belly inhale followed by a full exhale.
Even the biggest skeptic will notice a difference in how he/she feels quickly, and your body will thank you in return.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™