Do you live a stressful lifestyle? Are you always tired or constantly feel the need to drink coffee to get through the day? You may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, which is caused by the amount of stress in our lives exceeding our adrenal glands ability to balance the stress. Our modern lifestyles are full of constant stress, which is a lot of work for the adrenal glands. Stress is more than just emotional/mental- it is anything that is causing strain to your body. It can be eating foods you are sensitive to, using skincare products with harsh chemicals, smoking, lack of sleep, negative attitudes/beliefs, caffeine, lack of or excessive exercise, drugs, infections, financial problems, marital problems, etc.
So what are the signs & symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
- Using coffee and/or other stimulants to get going in the morning & get a boost throughout the day
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Hypoglycemia (abnormal blood sugar levels)
- Craving salty foods
- Increased effort to do everyday tasks
- Decreased libido
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Light headed when standing up quickly
- Fog Brain
- Decreased productivity
- Arthritic Pain
- Decreased immunity
- PMS in women
- Fear, Anxiety, Depression
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory issues
- Chronic Fatigue
Lifestyle Factors That Lead to Adrenal Fatigue:
- Lack of sleep
- Poor eating habits
- Lack of fun and/or relaxing activities
- Staying up late even though you are tired
- Using food or beverages as stimulants
- Constantly pushing yourself
- Being in an unhappy marriage/relationship
- Being a single parent
- Abusing drugs and/or alcohol
- College student
- Constantly working with little time for fun
- Business owner
- Miserable work conditions
Live Events That Can Lead to Adrenal Fatigue:
- Severe emotional trauma
- Losing your job
- Death of somebody close to you
- Constant exposure to chemicals (including drug/alcohol abuse)
- Head trauma
- Respiratory Infections
- Unexpected change in socio-economic status
- Severe burn (including sunburn)
So, Adrenal Fatigue seems pretty much unavoidable right? Due to our modern lifestyle, Adrenal Fatigue is very common. Throughout human history, we’ve never had to deal with the constant stress load that modern society deals with. Everyone’s adrenal glands have a different threshold for how much stress they can handle. So some people may come across as lazy when they are actually suffering from Adrenal Fatigue and pushing themselves beyond their limits.
Good News! There are ways to recover from Adrenal Fatigue and prevent yourself from overexerting your adrenals again. If you suspect you may have Adrenal Fatigue or are on the path to having it check out my stress-reduction tips!
- Yoga: The deep breathing done in yoga is relaxing in and of itself. Yoga combines deep breathing, stretching, meditation, spirituality, and fitness to give you a truly relaxing experience. Yoga should be done everyday in addition to your regular exercise routine (I don’t do it everyday, but I try to do the best I can with it). You really can notice the difference in how you feel when you start missing days. Yoga can help you to reduce stress, sleep better, reduce cortisol (adrenal hormone) levels, reduce anxiety and muscle tension, increase strength and flexibility, and grow spiritually.
- Belly Breathing: Belly breathing is the natural way we are supposed to breathe. As we grow, we tend to start taking shallow breaths instead of deep breaths that fill our entire lungs. Set aside 10 minutes a day where there will be no distractions. Lie down or sit comfortably and place your hands just under your belly button. Breathe normally and notice the way your breath feels- then consciously breathe deep so that your stomach seems to inflate. Do not expand your chest when you breathe- just your belly.
- 3/3/3: This is a technique I use when I am panicking and it helps me to calm down within a minute. Breathe in for 3 counts, hold the breath for 3 counts, and exhale for 3 counts. Repeat as necessary. This helps because you are focusing on your breathing instead of the situation that is making you nervous.
- Repeat Affirmations: Choose a word or phrase that makes you feel calm and repeat it to yourself to bring your mind into a state of meditation. Choose a place where you will not be disturbed for 15-20 minutes. Sit or lie down and close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths and when you feel ready, begin repeating your chosen word/phrase to yourself. You mind will wander and start having thoughts- notice them, let them go and continue repeating your chosen word/phrase. Do this once or twice a day.
- Meditation: Meditation calms the mind and helps to alleviate stress and anxiety. Practicing mediation over a long period of time can help you handle stress better. Meditation is a skill that takes a lot of practice to master. http://www.how-to-meditate.org/how-to-meditate.htm/ (how to meditate)
- Exercise: Exercise is an excellent stress reliever. You don’t have to be a superstar CrossFitter to receive the benefits of exercise. Just make sure you move everyday even if it’s as simple as going for a walk. Push yourself, but don’t go beyond your limits.
- Be Social: Spend some time hanging out with your friends and family. Humans are social creatures! It is in our nature to interact with others. Working constantly and never taking time to just hang out with your friends is hard on your adrenals. It is true that some people cause you stress. I’m talking about spending time with the people that make you feel good! Find the balance. Make sure to always have fun but, obviously, be responsible as well.
- Massage: Getting a massage is a great way to reduce stress! One of my favorite ways. Getting a massage lowers your heart rate, releases toxins, relaxes muscles, releases serotonin, increases the production of endorphins, and lowers cortisol levels.
- Spend Time in Nature: Being outside in nature makes us feel calm. Spend the day fishing, hiking, swimming, etc to enjoy all the benefits of being outdoors. Especially if you live in a city, take some time to enjoy these beautiful places whenever you can. Notice your mood and how much better you feel when you are in a forest or walking by a lake or ocean.
- Vacation: It is a good idea to go on vacation at least once or twice a year, if possible. Vacations are a great way to relax and recharge. You have nothing to worry about for a few days and just focus on what you’re doing there. Vacationing is relaxing to your body and your mind!
- Have a Hobby: Do something that is fun for you and make time for it everyday. It is important to have some relaxation time everyday to give your adrenal glands a break.
- Soy Candles: Light some soy candles that are made with essential oils, such as lavender or eucalyptus. These scents are very calming and a great use of aromatherapy. I always light myself a stress-relieving candle when I’m feeling overwhelmed or have a lot of work to get done. It really does help me to feel much calmer.
- Remove Toxic Influences: This may be substances such as drugs or alcohol, or toxic people. You may not be able to remove toxic people from your life completely, but you’ll need to find a better way to deal with them. Let them know that you need space sometimes and walk away when you need to.
To learn more read Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson, ND, DC, PhD. You can purchase the book via my Amazon affiliate link:
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