If you’re overwhelmed with work, family, marriage or motherhood it’s likely that all you want to do is read a good book and have a hot bath without someone demanding something from you. Possibly your calendar is jam-packed with events, to-do’s, calls, errands and you just can’t take it anym
To top it all off, your body is starting to show signs of overwhelm. You feel exhausted and fatigued all day long regardless of how much sleep you get, you’re craving coffee and sugar and you can sense that something isn’t right- you’re not well. It’s likely you were even recently told by a doctor that you have adrenal fatigue and you don’t know where to start to get weWell, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone.
We’ve all found ourselves completely exhausted and burned out at one point or another. We have all struggled to keep our head above the water, only to be brought down again and again by fatigue and low energy.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Due to our fast-paced and stress-filled modern lives, over 80 percent of us will experience Adrenal Fatigue multiple times in our lives. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands, the small lumps of tissue located directly above your kidneys, become triggered. The primary trigger for the adrenal glands is stress.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones that are critical for your well-being: adrenaline, cortisol and hormones that regulate the production of your sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone. When your adrenal glands are triggered and over-extended, your adrenal glands produce extra amounts of hormones, such as adrenaline. This is an extraordinary survival mechanism if you are in danger, but if the stress continues over a long period of time (let’s say you are going through a divorce, bankruptcy, the death of a loved or some type of major crisis) your adrenal glands will eventually become damaged from being so hyperactive.
If you have Adrenal Fatigue, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms: weakness, lack of energy, trouble concentrating, becoming easily confused, forgetfulness, trouble completing basic tasks you could once handle easily, hoarse voice, poor digestion, constipation, depression, insomnia, not feeling rested after waking from sleep, and relying on naps during the day.
In addition, you may experience the following:
● You “crash” in the early part of your day and/or throughout your day
● You feel tired all day at work and have more energy at night when you are home
● You’re really exhausted at night but have trouble falling asleep
● You feel unrested even after a full night’s sleep
● You experience continual sweating under your armpits even after minimal activity
● You are always thirsty and can’t seem to quench your thirst; or you have dry mouth; or you’re always craving salt
● You have blurry vision or difficulty focusing with your eyes
● You are continually craving stimulants like coffee, cigarettes, or soda
Treatment of Adrenal Fatigue involves reducing stress on your body and mind, eliminating toxins from your food and environment, avoiding negative thinking and revitalizing your body with the right healthy food for your body. Your body is an amazing machine and, when given the right tools, it can bring itself back into balance.
Recovery from Adrenal Fatigue and chronic low-energy is possible, yet it may take patience and often a complete change in lifestyle. Regardless of how long it takes, the sooner you get started on the road to wellness, the sooner you’ll start feeling better and restoring your adrenals to full health. If you have severe adrenal fatigue, don’t despair. You can take a number of concrete steps, as described below, to heal your adrenals and return them to optimal health.
1. Remove any food from your diet that taxes your adrenal glands.
When it comes to healing from Adrenal Fatigue, and low energy in general, diet plays a big role. There are many foods that support adrenal function, but first it’s helpful to remove any foods that are difficult to digest or contain toxins or chemicals.
Foods to avoid:
● Sugar and artificial sweeteners
● Alcohol and soda
● Processed and microwaved foods
● Hydrogenated oils
● Cruciferous Vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc.)
● Fatty Fish (e.g., wild-caught salmon)
● Chicken and turkey
● Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
● Seeds, such as pumpkin, chia and flax
● Kelp and seaweed
● Celtic or Himalayan Sea Salt
3. Eat a light, balanced meal every 90 minutes to two hours.
Most of us eat large meals 1-2 times a day with long stretches in between. This is not helpful when your adrenals are overextended as about 90 min to 2 hours after you eat a meal your bloodstream runs low on glucose, meaning you’ve run out of the sugars you consumed. Once this happens, your adrenal glands are forced to produce hormones such as cortisol to keep you going. So, if you frequently go for long stretches without eating then your adrenal glands are under a constant strain and you’re not giving them a chance to recuperate.
4. Take these “Core 4” supplements every day.
This combination of a decline in nutrient-dense food and an increase in stress, toxins and gut imbalances is why we can no longer get all of the vitamins and minerals we need from our diet alone. It’s what I refer to as “the perfect storm” and why I believe everyone should use a few essential supplements to maintain optimal levels of nutrients.
1. High-Quality Multi-Vitamin
2. Omega 3s (EPA/DHA, Fish oil)
3. Vitamin D
As you can see, stress reduction is key. Your adrenal glands have a big job and we can do a lot to help them out by make some changes to how we live our day-to-day life. Here are a few tips to help reduce stress on your body and give your adrenal glands a break so they can recover fully.
● If you feel tired, rest as much as possible.
● Sleep 8-10 hours per night.
● Don’t stay up late. If you can, get to bed before 10pm and sleep in until 9 am. 7-9 am is an important time for adrenal repair.
● Get more laughter and fun in your day.
● Practice deep belly breathing every day. I recommend the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
● Minimize work and relational stress. Set boundaries with stressful conversations.
● Exercise regularly- even just walking can help.
● Avoid negative people and negative self-talk. Surround yourself with people that encourage you.
● Take time for yourself regularly and do something relaxing.
● If you’ve experienced deep pain and trauma in your life, seek support such as coaching, therapy, or counseling to process any unresolved emotions.
Adrenal Fatigue Prevention
Once you get your body back into a state of balance and wellness, it will be important to create a lifestyle that will help you avoid Adrenal Fatigue in the future. The most straight-forward way to keep your adrenal glands strong and healthy is to avoid extended and/or extreme stress and strain that sets them up to overproduce adrenaline. If possible, cut back on obligations and manage your schedule and life in a way that makes space for rest, relaxation and time to recover and heal. All of us experience emotionally and physically intense (and stressful) times in our lives, but it’s important to give your body adequate time to recover afterward.
The above treatments for Adrenal Fatigue can be equally applied to preventing Adrenal Fatigue in the future. Many people will make drastic changes in the short-term to heal their body, but then go right back into the same lifestyle they had before, so Adrenal Fatigue becomes a part of their life again down the road. You don’t have to be this way. You can allow this message from your body to teach you your body’s limits. I encourage you to continue to incorporate the above 5 steps into your daily life and experience the joy, peace, and balance that goes hand in hand with optimal health.
Angela Watson Robertson, MBA, CIHC, INHC, is known as The Reinvention Warrior and host of Masters of Reinvention. Not only has Angela completely reinvented her own life, she has created simple, effective tools to help others transform every area of their lives – from health, career and money to relationships, spirituality and sex. Find her free wellness tips, course and programs on her website. For more about the Fatigue Warrior program go here: www.fatiguewarrior.com
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