Always Tired? Let's Talk About Recovering From Adrenal Fatigue
When I saw Post Malone’s new (at that time) tattoo, I totally related.
My life – running around after 2 small kids, owning a business and managing the employees therein, the usual stuff like errands, finding time (and energy) to exercise, and cleaning the house, etc. – was wearing me out.
And I know I'm not alone in this sad group.
Maybe it’s the American Puritan work ethic, this sense that we need to just get over it, have some coffee, and move on, regardless of personal feelings.
What I did, though, was address my ADRENAL FATIGUE.
Your adrenal glands are located on top of your kidneys and they secrete several different hormones and chemicals including adrenaline (epinephrine), estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, cortisol, cortisone, steroids, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
They’re your Stress, Energy, and Hormone organs. They’re your body’s battery pack.
The symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue are more than just an overwhelming tiredness. Your adrenal glands tie in with your pituitary gland and thyroid. Adrenal Fatigue could lead to a sluggish metabolism, trouble sleeping, and irregular periods. 🙋♀️
Your adrenal glands go into overdrive when you are under stress from ~
* daily pressures,
* chronic illness,
* times of hormone fluctuation (menopause, pregnancy),
* exercising too much (most athletes have some adrenal fatigue), or
* staying up too late (most night-shift workers have some type of adrenal gland imbalance).
Step 1 of adrenal exhaustion is cortisol and adrenaline overload. Adrenaline makes your heart pump, and you prepare for battle. To give you fast-working energy, cortisol makes you feel hungrier and your body becomes more resistant to insulin. Unfortunately, it makes you crave more caffeine and sugar to "amp up" and keep going.
Step 2 of adrenal exhaustion is that you don’t return to “normal.” Step 1 is normal only for short periods of time. Prolonged stress is what causes dis-ease.
When cortisol increases, DHEA decreases. DHEA is an adrenal gland hormone that helps your body repair from stressful situations; it guards your immune system, and regulates your body temperature. Increased cortisol levels over time leads to a deficiency of DHEA and can be the cause of decreased bone density, lowered immunity, low libido (low testosterone), foggy thinking, fatigue, and insomnia. DHEA also helps you stay happy.
Step 3 of adrenal exhaustion is that your cortisol levels start to wane. This is when people find themselves on prescriptions of prednisone or cortisone. If you can no longer produce it on your own, your body seems to lack all energy. Inflammation doesn’t go away easily. It may be difficult to get out of bed for more than a few hours. You may feel depressed and lack motivation or excitement about life.
Test your adrenal function:
Take your blood pressure. Now, take it again after you stand up. The top number should go up about 5 to 10 points when you stand. If it stays the same or drops, you’re in Stage 3. If it goes up more than 10 points, you’re in Stage 2.
FIXING ADRENAL FATIGUE
To truly get to the underlying cause of the problem, lifestyle must be addressed.
1. First of all, you need to do LESS. Less exercise, less commitments, less running around. This isn’t forever, but for now, you need to relax more. Here’s some ideas: hire a housecleaner to come in every other week to do the dusting and mopping; use a food-prep company to help with cooking; talk to your spouse about helping out more with errands; teach your kids how to help you more at home (taking care of pets, laundry, etc). Learn how to say “no” to commitments you’re not that into.
For those of us who tend to OVER-EXERCISE, you need to plan your workout commitments to include at least 2 rest days per week. AND, at least 1 REST WEEK every 3 months. Don’t worry, you won’t be out of shape from doing this. In fact, you’ll see that you come back with better energy and stamina after your rest periods.
If you exercise for weight loss, and you’re not losing weight, that’s your sign to focus more on eating healthy, and less on strenuous exercise. Stick with stretching and walking for now.
2. Prioritize your sleep. Plan to go to bed earlier at night or take a nap if you can when you feel an energy slump. Don’t rely on caffeine for energy. This is a slippery slope that doesn’t solve anything.
3. Take time to deep breathe, especially in moments of high stress. Learning how to breathe deeply and slowly is one of the best benefits of learning Yoga.
4. There are herbal medicines (Ashwaganda, Schisandra, Rhodiola, Ginseng, St. John’s Wort, Licorice, Rehmannia, etc.) that help address Adrenal Fatigue. Also, taking a food-based B-vitamin, dessicated Adrenal Gland, and trace minerals may be necessary as you heal. Acupuncture helps by getting you into a state of deep, restorative relaxation as well. Just keep in mind that if you keep running full-force while doing these things, you’ll keep running out your battery!
Your adrenal glands are like $$$ in the bank: when you’re getting low, STOP SPENDING!
In other words, as you’re recovering with nutrition, rest, acupuncture, and herbs, you’ll feel better. Don’t go back to overusing your energy / doing too much. You’ll just keep ending up where you started!
You can recover from Adrenal Fatigue – I have – so I know it’s possible. It requires tuning in with what your body needs, resting more, and watching out for that all-too-common tendency to stomp on the gas pedal. Let me know in the comments where you’re at in your journey of tiredness recovery.
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