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The "Emotional Support Water Bottle"

I don’t care what anyone else says: what you drink out of matters! I, for one, drink more water out of pint glasses or a reusable water bottle versus other cups or environmentally-unsustainable water bottles. This started at a very young age with me, when my 5-year-old self would wake up before my parents, turn on some Saturday morning programs, and hydrate using an upcycled honey bear honey bottle.

And I’m not the only one who’s attuned to this.

During COVID-19 lockdown, TikTok overflowed with a new hydration trend: the “emotional support water bottle” (or “ESWB,” as I’ll be referring to it here). According to The Sydney Morning Herald the ESWB hashtag “received 64 million views on TikTok” (as of October 2022). The trend is attributed to content creator Christina Najjar (a.k.a. “Tinx”), who posted that a reusable water bottle “‘literally changed her life,’ after observing supermodels carrying the item.”

But what’s the deal with the ESWB?

In an interview for Delish about the ESWB, Mary Dozier, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Mississippi State University, and contributor to research on “Object attachment as we grow older,” explained that our attachment to certain objects is part of the “human experience.”

“[During the pandemic], [p]eople might have leaned on objects for emotional support because interpersonal interactions were limited," Dozier explained. She then goes on to share how these objects offer a sense of comfort and normalcy.

In a 2021 interview with The University of Hartford’s The Informer, the Managing Editor’s sister-in-law opened up about her ESWB attachment:

“I struggle with severe social anxiety,” she said, “and going back to the office gives me anxiety. So, having something to hold that was with me at home and decorated the way I wanted it to be, makes me feel sort of, at ease.”

Today, the ESWB hashtag is still alive and well on TikTok, with countless new videos posted in just the past month (confession: I stopped counting after 100).

 

Don't have an ESWB? Find one here (designed by yours truly!)

 

One user’s October 2022 video dawning the tag features a woman having a “meltdown,” while shopping for a replacement for her ESWB of 3 years.

“This is one of those times!” she groans, her legs and back buckling with emotion.

The topic has also spilled into Reddit posts.

One particular Reddit user, for example, posted a cartoon about the ESWB with the caption, “My particular coping mechanism right now is Stanley iceflow water bottles. Anyone else using water bottles to cope with life? Lol”

Other users’ comments assured her she wasn’t alone.

In a product-sponsored Instagram and Facebook Reel, one influencer showcases her attachment.

“I’m just gonna run to the bathroom really quick,” she says.

After which, her “friend” asks, “do you have to bring your water bottle?”

As if in a state of utter confusion, she replies firmly, “YES!”

And apparently, she’s also not alone in her water bottle devotion; as of today, she’s Reeled in 14.3k Likes for the video.

Further, in a May 2022 Refinery29 article, the author recounts her first experiences in the new (and dry) climate of her Colorado university. In the article, she shares that, “when faced with the debilitating emotional distress of, say, realizing [she’d] slept through yet another 8 a.m. anthropology class (whoops), there was only one response that worked: [she’d] take a deep breath, chug some water, clutch [her] Camelbak to [her] heart, and email [her] professor saying [she] had scurvy again — or, you know, something of the like.”

And top e-commerce companies have been taking their own “sips” out of the trendy “cup.”

A quick search on Amazon.com for “emotional support water bottles” yields over 470 results, including water bottles and even sticker sets.

Apart from marketability, there are many benefits of having an emotional support water bottle. The first, of course, is hydration. As the National Library of Medicine recommends 3,000 ml of fluid intake for men and 2,200 ml of fluid intake for women (through drinks or food), keeping water nearby is a step in the right direction.

A Harvard Medical School Special Health Report also promotes drinking up, as it may promote your body’s ability to process nutrients, flush bacteria, aid in digestion, regulate body temperature, and even normalize blood pressure (which can spike during episodes of anxiety).

As I sip on my own ESWB, I encourage you to get your own. It’s not only environmentally-sustainable, but it also has mental and physical benefits!

Just remember to clean it, to get rid of any bacteria buildup!

As always, thank you for listening!


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