Our modern world moves quickly and changes constantly, which results in plenty of opportunities for stress to take hold and bring our wellness down. Do you find yourself drinking more and more coffee as the weeks fly by? Do you feel like you can’t keep with everything that needs to get done today, this week or this month? Are you losing track of appointments and other important details in your life? When we are stressed and can’t cope, we produce adrenaline to keep us going, but sometimes too much of a good thing can bring us down.
When our adrenal system is overworked, we can end up feeling even more tired, and ironically, even more stressed. If you’re constantly stressed, you might be creating a situation where you will feel tired and drained all the time - or at least until you make a shift towards greater wellness. Here’s the basics of adrenal fatigue, and our top tips on how to make sure you are able to stay happy and healthy, regardless of what life throws at you.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Most of us know adrenaline as that hormone that floods our body when we are about to take action: it helps us race to the finish line, lift heavy objects and defend ourselves and our loved ones from danger. Unfortunately for modern humans like us, adrenaline can also come into play when we are battling traffic, struggling to meet a deadline or rushing to collect our little ones from school.
Adrenal fatigue is said to happen when your body can’t keep up with the stresses of day-to-day life and its constant demands for more adrenaline. Many experts believe that your adrenal glands can be harmfully depleted if they’re not allowed to rest and recharge. Basically, your adrenal system is overworked when YOU are overworked.
How to know if you have adrenal fatigue
There is a lot of debate about whether someone can be diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, and many healthcare experts believe that such a diagnosis could prevent the identification of other, potentially more serious problems. Others believe that adrenal fatigue is more simply chronic stress. Stress is a modern epidemic, and has been blamed for almost every disease, syndrome and problem that affects our lives. From autoimmune disorders to cancer to chronic coughs, stress plays a significant role in our ability to maintain our wellness.
What we know for sure is that any step towards greater wellness is a positive one. Maintaining optimal levels of rest, nutrition and exercise can benefit everyone, regardless of whether you can be formally diagnosed with adrenal fatigue.
What to look for
Pay attention to these symptoms, and use them as indicators that your wellness could use support:
- Chronic fatigue: feeling tired often with no relief from sleep. Sometimes this is also combined with insomnia
- Food cravings, especially for salty foods and stimulants like sugar and caffeine
- Inability to handle stressful events
- Low energy levels in the day and higher energy levels in the evening
- Frequent colds, flus or infections
What to do about it
GET ENOUGH RESTGenerally speaking, most of us are not getting the rest we need to recover from day-to-day stresses. Set yourself up for daily success by creating structure in your evening routine. Try making a sleep ritual for yourself by misting your bedding with a calming blend (Sleep Well is a good choice), leaving your phone outside of your bedroom and shutting off the lights at a consistent time each night. A regular sleep cycle will help your body understand when it is time to rest and when it is time to be alert. Introducing a regular meditation practice to your day can also bring rest to the mind and body by allowing time away from distracted, stressful thoughts.
IMPROVE YOUR DIETMake a health-positive shift in the foods you eat by removing hard-to-digest foods and any toxins or chemicals in your environment. Limit foods that are hard on the body, like sugars, sweeteners, processed foods and hydrogenated oils. Load up on superfoods, which bring tons of minerals and nutrient-dense calories to your mealtimes.
Fuel your body with whole foods, especially colorful, fresh options like avocado, broccoli, kale, walnuts, seeds, as well as kelp and other seaweeds. Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar, indulge in something that smells delicious, like the plant-based essential oil blends in Crave to reward your senses. Or, to get your creative thinking back in the game, try something like the uplifting and balancing blend in Brainstorm instead of another cup of coffee.
MOVE YOUR BODYGetting active also releases endorphins in your body. Often referred to as the ‘feel-good’ hormones, endorphins are your body’s natural way of helping you feel good. Making a commitment to moving your body can be as simple as a walk outside after dinner, or a multi-day yoga challenge. The key is to listen to your body and choose an activity and intensity level that you can manage each day. To help motivate you, spritz on some Energy before you gear up to get out there.
If you can relate to any of the symptoms above, you have recognized an opportunity to improve your overall wellness, regardless of whether you can be diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Take some steps to improve the quality of your sleep, your diet and your activity levels, and your body and mind will thank you. As always, if you are concerned about your health or think your wellness struggles may indicate a bigger issue, speak to your health care practitioner as soon as you can. Take along any essential oil products so that you and your doctor can create a well-rounded, wholistic approach to you achieving your best health.
Wishing you good adrenal health and happiness!