It’s 3 pm and you’re exhausted. You can barely keep up with the pile of work on your desk, let alone consider an evening yoga class. Your brain feels fuzzy and the only remedy is another cup of coffee…
Your persistent drowsiness and inability to make it through the day without caffeine and sugar might be actually be symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Your adrenals are small glands that sit on top of the kidneys. Their job is to help your body adapt to stressors by secreting hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. When you’re in danger, these hormones activate your fight or flight response. While in this state, your body temporarily loses its ability to digest, rest or repair until the danger (or stressor) has passed.
While our adrenal response is part of human survival, issues often arise because our adrenals cannot delineate between stress from real and imminent danger or a non-life-threatening stressor, such as excessive traffic. In other words, any type of stress can cause a rather drastic response from your body.
If you consider all the times you become stressed throughout the day, you can image how active your adrenals are on a consistent basis.
Most people feel some degree of stress and pressure. Careers, kids, finances, and everything in between are enough to push us all into overdrive. As societal demands increase, our body’s ability to handle each circumstance starts to decrease.
Our hormone levels become unbalanced and we are rarely in our parasympathetic nervous system (which allows us to rest and digest). At some point, the adrenals can’t take much more and adrenal fatigue symptoms become evident. These include:
If you’ve been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue or suspect you have it, try these simple strategies to heal and replenish the adrenal glands for more energy and greater vitality.
Since stress is the number-one contributor to adrenal fatigue symptoms, it’s important to find ways to calm the mind every day. When you’re already firing on all cylinders, it may seem impossible to fit one more activity into your busy schedule. But de-stressing doesn’t have to take long. In fact, focusing on your breath or meditating for 3-5 minutes every day is a great start.
Our top stress-reducing suggestions:
Adaptogenic herbs like eleuthero and rhodiola can also help the body cope with chronic stress. These herbs support and regulate energy levels without undesirable side effects.
Another way to reduce stress and support the adrenals is through restful sleep. Most people need between 7-9 hours per night. Develop a routine by getting to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
If you struggle to fall asleep, resist the urge to use your phone or computer or watch TV. Instead, read a book or write a gratitude list until you feel tired. You can also prepare for a good night’s sleep by taking a bath and/or rubbing lavender oil onto the bottom of your feet.
When experiencing adrenal fatigue symptoms your body might crave pick-me-ups in the form of sugar, processed carbohydrates and junk foods. These quick fixes can further stress your adrenals and cause your blood sugar levels to spike and crash. This will give you the sensation of energy but will ultimately cause more exhaustion in the long run.
Processed, packaged and high-sugar foods can also create an acidic environment in your gut, which promotes the growth of bad bacteria. Not to worry; there are plenty of uplifting foods to eat…
Do your body a favor and focus on filling your plate with plenty of vegetables (especially the leafy green variety), fruits and plant-based proteins like chickpeas, lentils and tempeh. Incorporate fermented foods into your diet and consider a daily probiotic.
If you crave sugar, cooked root vegetables can naturally pacify your sweet tooth. Try mashed sweet potatoes with coconut oil and cinnamon, a carrot-coconut smoothie or carrot ginger soup.
When you’re tired it may feel like you need coffee to stay awake and alert. But like sugar and processed carbs, coffee can further tax your adrenal glands. You might get a temporary burst of energy, but in time, your adrenals will be depleted. Like an empty gas tank, you need to refuel before you can continue driving.
Instead of caffeine, opt for lots of filtered water to flush toxins out of your body and stay hydrated. Add mint or citrus to dial up the flavors. Chamomile or fresh lemon ginger teas are excellent choices to enjoy before bed.
If you’re struggling to eliminate or reduce your daily coffee habit, switch to organic green tea for a few weeks. You’ll get a kick of caffeine along with health benefits and antioxidants. Slowly transition from green tea to herbal tea for optimal adrenal healing.
Since your adrenals respond to all types of threats, they respond to toxins just as much as stressors. Toxins cause an inflammatory response that your adrenals have to deal with. Unfortunately, toxins are everywhere. From pollution to household cleaners, they can be hard to avoid completely. But there’s a lot you can do to reduce your exposure:
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Stay Ever Well,
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