Healing Adrenal Fatigue

I say it several times a day as I consult with my clients. "Do you get tired in the afternoons between 2:00 and 4:00, but after that your energy picks up and you're fine? And also you have a hard time falling asleep, or you wake up between 2-4 AM and can't shut off your brain and fall back asleep?" 
Usually, people respond to these questions with "How did you know?" or "Have you been watching me in my sleep?" 
What they don't know is that these are just classic symptoms of adrenal fatigue, and that with a little supplementation and adjustments to your daily schedule, you can beat the chronic exhaustion and get back to your life! 

If you have stress in your life, chances are that at some point, you're going to also deal with adrenal fatigue. Your adrenal glands produce "fight or flight" hormones that our ancestors relied on to survive encounters with predators and other potentially life threatening situations. Our body produces these hormones as a result of stress or stressful situations, and when we experience high levels of stress for prolonged periods of time, our adrenal glands get tired and can't keep up with the demand for hormones that are necessary for energy. Adrenal fatigue symptoms include extreme fatigue, low libido, brain fog, weight gain, depression, sleep disturbances, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure.
How do you treat adrenal fatigue? By nurturing and supporting your adrenal glands! Here are our tried-and-true remedies for beating adrenal fatigue. 
Reduce Stress where possible
Sometimes, we have to learn to say no to extra commitments, even though it may be hard. If you're trying to figure out how to volunteer in your child's classroom while finishing that book in time for book club, in-between volunteering on that non-profit committee and planning the activity for your church group while completing work deadlines, it's time to step back, prioritize your time, and let go of commitments that are less important. Setting boundaries and limits on your time is essential to proper adrenal function. 
This one should be a no-brainer, because you're tired all the time, right? But sometimes it's the simple things that we have the hardest time committing to. Unless you're parenting an infant, you should be getting between 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Get in bed before 10 PM every night, and leave your screened devices OFF for the last hour before you go to bed. The light and sounds emitted by your phone, TV, and computer wake your brain up, so even after you've fallen asleep you won't be able to fall into a proper REM sleep pattern. Sleep with your phone in another room if possible. If your phone doubles as your alarm clock, turn off your notifications before falling asleep and store your phone across the room instead of next to your bed. 
Adaptogens and Supplements
Adaptogen is that name for herbs that increase the body's resistance to stress. Some of the most common adaptogen herbs include Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Astragalus, Ginseng, Licorice Root, and Maca. There are also nutrients and vitamins that soothe and nourish the adrenal glands, such as B vitamins and Phosphatidyl Choline. Our Adrenal Complex was formulated with some awesome adaptogenic herbs, b-vitamins, and other nutrients to take the guesswork out of supplementing for adrenal fatigue.  
Avoiding stimulants
Stimulants like Caffeine, sugar and other artificial sweeteners, and even simple carbohydrates can give you a quick pick-me-up, but they do so at the expense of your adrenal glands. Many stimulants (including caffeine) work by stimulating the adrenal glands to produce more hormones to boost energy, but once those hormones wear off, you feel worse than before. If you're struggling with adrenal fatigue symptoms, try swapping sugar for a natural sweetener like raw honey, monkfruit, or stevia, and switch to herbal tea (one with adaptogenic herbs to give you energy!) instead of coffee in the mornings. 
Nutritious foods
Most people reach for sugary or carb-heavy treats when they're stressed, or grab a drive-through dinner when life is hectic. The problem with these foods is that most processed foods contain preservatives and fillers that are hard to digest and wear out your body’s energy in digestion. Try to make food choices that will nourish your body, eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy carbohydrates. Most drive-throughs have salads or other healthier options, and there are many healthy alternatives to common junk foods-- try seaweed snacks or kale chips in place of potato chips, iced herbal tea sweetened with honey or flavored sparkling water instead of soda, frozen grapes over ice cream, and a piece of fruit in place of cake or other dessert. 
Even mild to moderate exercise can make a big impact on your body. Yoga is particularly beneficial for adrenal fatigue, because it combines physical activity with an almost meditative state as you focus on your breathing and movement. You don't need to run a marathon, but you do need to get your body moving for at least twenty minutes every day.
Because adrenal fatigue is your body's response to stress, it is important to thoughtfully examine your moods, attitude, and response to stressful situations and make changes that will reduce your overall stress levels. Try a daily meditation to reduce your stress levels, make a conscious effort to avoid negative people or self-talk, find opportunities and reasons to smile and laugh more, and give yourself a compliment every day! 

1 comment

  • Mariah Barlow

    This article was very informative. Thank you! Living in a world where stress is just a part of everyday life now and the slower pace seems to no longer exist, it becomes not only necessary, but a priority to take care of one’s own health.

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