If you’re dealing with stress at work, have an appointment filled schedule, a family that’s always on-the-go, and a never-ending to-do-list – you may end up with a one-way ticket to burnout town.
A burnout really isn’t something to take lightly, I know it feels good to work hard and be accomplished. But if the levels of stress in your life have got you at ‘energy level zero’, motivation seems forceful and even the smallest amount of effort has your body telling you ‘no’, ‘stop’ – that to me is a pretty clear sign that something isn’t right.
If the coffee isn’t working anymore, you find yourself always responding to “how are you” with “i’m tired”, ‘days-off’ feel like ‘days-on’, you’re still exhausted after 8 hours of sleep, or there’s 5-15 pounds that showed up out of nowhere – particularly around your middle – that won’t budge.
How many of us are feeling and relating to these things, but just keep on pushing through?
A lot of us do. There is no real ‘breaks’ in modern life these days. (Even vacations can be stressful).
One thing that all of these scenarios all have in common – these are all some of the top tell-tale signs, for a case of adrenal fatigue – aka, something that you need to start taking more seriously.
Maybe you’re familiar with the term, maybe you’re not. It’s not exactly the diagnosis you’re going to get from your medical doctor, but your naturopath and other natural health practitioners are definitely familiar.
These two tiny endocrine glands, known as your adrenals, are located on-top of each kidney – and let me tell you. These little guys are a hormonal powerhouse! Responsible for the production of cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline, noradrenaline and sex hormones. They work hard to keep up with your busy life and they just want to keep you in balance.
But your adrenals can only handle so much – just like you – and if you can relate to any of the above situations – you may be already making your way through the stages of adrenal fatigue.
It’s so important to be in-tune with your body and pay attention to how you feel. You actually deserve to feel your very best, and even better – your body is capable of it! The concern with adrenal fatigue is reaching the stage of a total burnout – this is a dangerous state to be in because it’s associated with a higher risk of autoimmune disease.
FOLLOW THE RECHARGE DIET
Focus on whole foods that nourish your body, and support your best health and well-being! Your biggest goal here is to eliminate foods that you are sensitive to and foods which cause inflammation (typically cow dairy, wheat, soy, corn, yellow oils, refined and processed foods). It’s important to eat loads more of those brightly coloured vegetables, include enough lean and clean protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates coming from root vegetables and ancient/sprouted grains.
CHANGE YOUR THOUGHT PATTERNS
There’s a reason this one is second on the list.. You can be practicing all of these other wonderful solutions for overcoming adrenal fatigue – from clean eating to adaptogenic herbs – but you will honestly never fully overcome adrenal fatigue if you cannot control your thought patterns. Pay attention to how you think, because how you think can without doubt influence how you feel. No more responding to “how are you” with “i’m tired”, respond with “i’m feeling so vibrant today” even if you’re not feeling it completely. You are listening to what you say, so how are you telling your body to feel?
Maybe you just need somebody to talk to. We all need a support team, and sometimes it’s easier to work with a professional than a family member, friend, or sometimes yourself. Thankfully we live in a time where counselling is both accessible and affordable. If you would appreciate some fresh of insight to help you unlock your true potential, explore BetterHelp, the worlds largest network of licensed, trained and experienced therapists and counselors. You don’t have to tackle your mental health concerns on your own, Work online, or find a professional in your area.
This is my favourite tip of all time! Your body repairs and recovers while you sleep. Get those eyes closed by 11:00 pm and aim for at least 8 hours. Track any improvements in sleep patterns, this can be a troublesome area for most – but as you take the time to really focus on your best health and well-being, from a multitude of angles, sleep habits and quality will improve! Need some extra sleep assistance? Reishi Mushroom is one of my go-to’s, it’s like herbal yoga, Reishi may decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, increase total sleep time and promote your energy levels during the day (win-win!).
YOU NEED MORE WATER
You’re made up of over 70% water, and in cases of adrenal fatigue dehydration is a definite. With stressed out adrenals, your hormone precursor material is often redirected for use in cortisol production, in doing so an imbalance may occur. When levels of aldosterone are depleted, your bodies ability to retain sodium is decreased, which is linked to your body losing more water than it can retain. Aim to get in at least 3-4 litres of water daily, adding trace mineral drops will promote cell hydration and water absorption. You may also add fresh lemon juice or a pinch of Himalayan salt to your water to introduce more minerals.
Inflammation creates stress in the body – and poorly managed stress creates inflammation. Talk about a double edged sword! Time to put some more focus on getting in a variety of fresh and organic vegetables for that phytonutrient content, aim to use more turmeric in the fresh root and organic powder forms, include more sustainable fish or an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, drink some organic green cold-pressed juices, eliminate all of those inflammatory yellow cooking oils (vegetable, sunflower, safflower, corn, canola, soy and peanut) and drink more water with those added trace minerals! These are all healthy habits that low-key work to decrease your systemic inflammation levels, allowing your adrenals to recover.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH ADAPTOGENIC HERBS
This class of herbs is your new BFF. Herbs that have adaptogenic properties posses the ability to adapt to what your body needs! Whether your body needs some help with overcoming that stress/burnout, maybe you need some more energy or better sleep, or a little more immune support. Some of my personal fave’s in the adaptogen world, for adrenal fatigue specifically are: reishi mushroom (point #2 for reishi), chaga mushroom, holy basil (tulsi), ashwaganda, eleuthero and licorice root.
GET IN KEY NUTRIENTS
Vitamin D deficiency is real, health experts now state that Canadians should be supplementing with D3 even during our summer months as this is necessary to prevent deficiency in many cases. In colder months 5,000 IU daily is recommended and in our warmer months 1,000-2,000 IU is useful for maintenance. Magnesium; in the forms of bis-glycinate which has a calming effect, and malate which may provide relief for muscle pain and tender points is also beneficial for adrenal function.
ENOUGH WITH THE INTENSE WORKOUTS
Not saying that exercise isn’t important, because it is – but when your body is already trying to simply function while feeling constantly drained by the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, adding in more physical stress in the form of high intensity workouts and tedious amounts of cardio – may actually be doing more harm than good. It’s time to switch up those intense workouts for something your adrenals will thank you for. I’m talking restorative yoga, gentle flows and nature walks – six-pack goals are not more important than adrenal health right now. Check out Asana Rebel Yoga on the Apple or Play Store for awesome at-home yoga workouts.
FOCUS ON THE B’S
B-Vitamins (especially B5 and B6) provide healing nourishment for the adrenals while B12 and folate are known for cognitive and energy benefits. I am all about whole-food sources when it comes to B’s. You can include more fermented foods such as turmeric sauerkraut, water kefir, coconut kefir and kimchi. Other B-rich foods are egg yolks, leafy greens, mushrooms, legumes and salmon. (Don’t forget those blood proteins for animal-based B12). Supplements though? The BioStrath Tincture by A.Vogel is one of my favourite daily tonics – filled with B-Vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants and more. Made from fermented herbs, this therapeutic blend pertains countless properties, has great absorption and noticeable results in energy and vibrancy.
TAKE TIME TO RECHARGE
Incorporating rest, so that you can reset during your day is essential for a healthy recovery. This could mean taking 20-minutes power naps, practicing mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing exercises. Remember that it’s the busy-bee lifestyle that brings us into adrenal fatigue – so we need to balance out all that crazy with some calm – if you want to see those positive, feel-good results. Nutrition and supplementation can only bring you so far, we need to tap into the mind to complete the holistic mind, body, spirit approach.