Why Emotional Support Water Bottles Became So Trendy

Trends come and go, but one that seems to have some staying power is the water bottle. All of the sudden, staying hydrated has become important to seemingly everyone, and that means having water on standby, even if you aren't a gym rat or part of a running club.

This trend happens to be a beneficial one, as everyone needs water in order to stay functional and healthy. The body relies on water to survive, as it helps with everything from temperature regulation to joint lubrication. Research suggests that men should consume approximately 15.5 cups of water per day, while women should aim for 11.5 cups of water daily (via the Mayo Clinic). Whether we all received this insight or recognized our thirst at the same time, it's difficult to pinpoint when the water bottle trend began, but what about the emotional support water bottle (or ESWB, as some are calling it)?

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the ESWB rose to fame during COVID-19 lockdowns thanks in part to TikTok. Content creator Christina Najjar, who began using a reusable water container, proclaimed that the move "changed her life." Since then, #emotionalsupportwaterbottle has begun trending on social media, and the rest is history — but what is an emotional support water bottle? How does it differ from a water bottle you might already have, and do you really need one?

Do you really need an emotional support water bottle?

It is no coincidence that the ESWB grew in popularity at the beginning of the pandemic when lockdowns were in place and many people could not leave their homes. As a result of COVID-19, even those who had never experienced prolonged anxiety before began to feel unsettled by the pandemic. Keong Yap, a clinical psychologist and hoarding expert, compared the emotional support water bottle to other types of soothing items while speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald. "They are objects that can't betray us," Yap told the publication. "They are reliable and predictable, unlike people who can hurt us."

However, many companies have capitalized on the trend, selling water bottles at absorbent prices to consumers seeking both comfort and hydration. Some businesses stress the value of the reusability of the product, but this does not necessarily mean it is a cure-all for anxiety.

Depending on your level of stress, you may want to look into more than a physical product for help. Symptoms of anxiety disorder that might require treatment include fatigue, irritability, constant worrying, and headaches, per the National Institute of Mental Health. That being said, it can be difficult to differentiate between occasional stress and an anxiety disorder, especially if this anxiety didn't develop until the pandemic, for example. Luckily, there are resources available if you want a medical professional to assess your mental health.

How to practice self-soothing in moments of stress

The practice of self-soothing — whether it be with an emotional support water bottle, stuffed animal, or a different object — is a valuable skill that many of us learn to handle stress. Children often self-soothe in the form of actions, such as sucking their thumbs, but we don't have to stop self-soothing as adults. In fact, doing so can help in anxious moments or stressful situations, per Psychology Today.

One way to self-soothe is to begin taking deep breaths as soon as you feel symptoms of stress. This can help you calm your nervous system and release any tension you're feeling within your body. Another way to self-soothe is to practice empathy and compassion for yourself. As soon as you feel anxious, focus on positive thoughts to ground yourself and remember that the moment will pass.

Finally, don't hesitate to reach out to your doctor for help if your symptoms are becoming overwhelming. There's no harm in toting around an emotional support water bottle to stay hydrated, but there are also treatment options for those living with a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.