What is Adrenal Fatigue?
We all live in a fast, highly competitive and stressful world which is challenging us all on a daily basis and provides us with a number of stressful situations to deal with. Each of these single situations can be seen as a “stressor”.
External stressors may include life changes such as the death of a loved one, family or friends with prolonged and severe health conditions, work or lack of it, financial pressures, excessive noise, and busy situations. Internal stressors may include difficulties coping with certain situations, personal relationships, arguments, perfectionism, pessimism, low self esteem, expectations and concerns for our children. Physical stressors include poor health, pregnancy and infertility, sleep deprivation, excessive workload, lack of exercise, illness, lack of relaxation and other health symptoms and concerns.
Your adrenal glands are present to produce hormones that will support your body to cope with the stressors of life and maintain health. However, when we are under chronic stress our adrenal glands, as a result of either massive surges of stress or prolonged exposure to constant stressors, become fatigued, impairing the production of our stress hormones and balance. What you may not realize is that this stress affects your adrenals and that good adrenal function is essential for optimum health. Our body deals with stress and responds by initiating the adrenal glands “fight or flight” response, releasing stress hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol, and DHEA, causing the body to react rapidly.
Here are five essential strategies to manage stress and keep your adrenal glands healthy and functioning properly:
1. Exercise Regularly:
30 minutes is only 2% of your day. Exercise doesn’t have to be extreme either; you don’t need to do intense cardio or weight lifting every day. A half hour walk and some fresh air will increase the circulation of nutrients and oxygen in your body which are beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety.
2. Identify Known Stressors:
Make a list all of the known stressors that you can identify in your life. Now think about which ones you have control over. Stress management is an ongoing process so identify the existing stressors that you have the ability to influence and and work through those first. Next, identify stressors that you foresee in the future and take steps to mitigate them before they happen.
3. Learn to Say NO:
Get rid of the things in your life that require a lot of time and energy and give little back. Put your own needs first and give yourself permission to take time off and have more fun.
It’s easy to say, but what are some things that you can actively do to relax? Relaxation techniques such as listening to gentle music, appreciating art, progressive muscle relaxation, mental calisthenics, T’ai Chi, deep breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, massage, prayer, biofeedback, and gentle walking can all effectively reduce stress.
Quality is equally important as quantity. Stick to a regular sleep schedule, avoid alcohol and large meals late at night, and cut down on caffeine.
Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to help you manage the stressors in daily life and prevent adrenal fatigue:
- Do take breaks and lie down. Naps are good for you!
- Do engage in the things you like to do.
- Do find time for yourself and the things that you enjoy.
- Do talk to friends and family and discuss your stressors. Get them off your chest and seek advice and support.
- Do find things that make you laugh.
- Do not exercise excessively, especially when stressed. This may increase stress on your adrenal glands.
- Do not worry excessively about doing everything right and on time. Do not drown in perfectionism.
- Do not take on too much at any one time and overload your schedule.
- Do not make alcohol your stress release. It delays your natural stress response and depletes important B vitamins which are vital for healthy adrenal function.
- Do not binge eat. Adrenal stress reduces digestion and upsets the blood sugar control mechanisms of the body.
- Do not keep doing what you had done before. Following the same diet and lifestyle that you had before that has led to adrenal fatigue must change. Its time to climb out of the hole!
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You should always consult with your healthcare practitioner before taking any nutritional supplements. Statements made herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.