I remember in the 80’s when people would talk about women who had had a “nervous breakdown” and were bedridden for weeks at a time. This seemed like Hollywood and daytime TV drama, I don’t think you can even find an actual diagnosis for that! I know we have all known someone that has had the mysterious exhaustion overtake them. I do, it was me! I really thought I had cancer, was going crazy or was just depressed. Looking back now I realize what I had actually done was run my body into the ground, and when I couldn’t pick it up and run it any further, I increased my caffeine intake to get me to go just a little more (to make it though the day). My mood was bad, I had lost interest in most of the things I loved (actually just was too tired, but still liked them). My immune system started acting up and I was getting colds and the flu at least twice a year. My hair was falling out, which drove me to think it was hormones including thyroid. While they had tested low, there was a reason for all of this, which for a long time was completely overlooked. Afterall, I was very HEALTHY, ate well and exercised almost every day. Is that not the picture of health? I will tell you, no…it isn’t.
Some of you reading this may have bells going off, however others might take a while to recognize these symptoms of adrenal exhaustion if listed more clearly:
• Extreme fatigue that never lets up, despite sleeping, napping, caffeine and good diet.
• Immune system failing, getting sick more often with less resistance to viral illness.
• Hair falling out, despite getting enough iron, B vitamins and thyroid supplements.
• Hormones out of balance despite the addition of bio-identical hormone replacement.
• Poor mood that often looks like depression (loss of interest in activities, laying around and sleeping a lot, being lazy and apathetic, feeling sad)
• Low libido, despite being in a good relationship, despite hormone therapy
• Feeling weak in the muscles despite regular workouts and even strength training.
If you are having these symptoms regularly, you can assume your adrenals are taxed especially if you these things are true:
• You have been under stress for a period of time, or had a significant physical, emotional or mental stressful event.
• Need caffeine to get moving daily, and even the caffeine sometimes makes you more tired.
• Have tried to address your immune dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction and hormone imbalance yet are not resolving the symptoms listed above.
You can get your cortisol levels tested for a more definitive answer, or you can get started on an adrenal support program anyway. Following an adrenal support program isn’t just for people with adrenal breakdown, its for anyone who has the symptoms listed above and the situations that breed it. Here are some simple things you can do not to support and care for your adrenals to avoid disaster:
• Get minimum 8-9 hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep each night, at the natural sleeping hours 10pm-6am or so. Use a natural sleep aid if necessary, as people with adrenal fatigue often have trouble sleeping despite the level of fatigue they deal with.
• Eliminate all grains from the diet. These can wreak havoc with your blood sugar and your digestive health. They offer little nutrition, and the body does not need them.
• Eat frequently, eliminating sugar and focusing on high quality proteins and fat.
• Eliminate as much alcohol as possible. This is super toxic for your body and can be as bad as caffeine on your adrenals.
• Increase healthy fat intake like grass fed butter, olive oil, coconut oil and avocados, which help to maintain blood sugar balance.
• Eliminate all caffeine from your day. This is super challenging for about a week. After that you will notice energy levels begin to rise. Use Panax Ginseng tea instead of coffee or black tea. Small amounts of green tea should be ok.
• Take adrenal supporting supplements such as B Vitamins, Rhodiola Root, Eluthero root, DGL Licorice root, Ashwaganda and Holy basil leaf.
• Use strength training and less cardio to keep your body fit.
• Incorporate yoga and meditation as often as possible.
• Apply 2-3 drops of lavender oil on the back of your neck and bottoms of your feet 2x daily, this can help to regulate cortisol.
It might take months to regain your strength and vitality, there really is no shortcut and it will not improve without taking some action. This is your body telling you its time to take care of YOU.
Be patient with your body and don’t try to be superman or superwomen. You will never retain your strength that way. For help on what to eat, follow the Six Week Slim Down plan, in which we cover stress and adrenal health throughout the program.
In my Six Week Slim Down Program we address adrenal health and the program is designed to help you rebuild them! Take part in my Online Coaching Program, Grab the Ebook or Schedule A Coaching Session Today!