Stressed? Tired? Craving sugar? Can’t sleep? Unfortunately there are very few of us who don’t feel this way anymore.
All of these can be related to the constant stress we feel in our lives. I regularly talk about the BLAHs and today’s topic is closely related to the L in BLAH – low energy. It sucks that so many of us are so effing tired because it affects how we live our lives, including trying to eat healthy. I know that when I’m tired, it can be hard enough to get through the things I have to do that I end up without enough energy to do the things I want to do with my life.
We know that stress can have a huge impact on our health and wellness. And, since your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, adrenal fatigue (or more accurately “HPA Axis Dysregulation”) is a popular theme lately. Your adrenal glands look like walnuts that live on top of both of your kidneys. These important glands produce many hormones, including stress hormones.
But what happens when they become “overworked?”
Adrenaline and cortisol are the stress hormones that give you the commonly known adrenaline rush; when you’re totally alert and living in the moment. This feeling is known as your body’s “fight or flight” response.
Some people (perhaps you?) just love that intense feeling.
The release of hormones in the fight or flight response is your body’s normal reaction to stress. Stress can sometimes be positive, like when it helps you swerve and prevent a crash. After a short time, the flight or flight response dissipates, your body goes back to normal, and all is good.
But what would happen if you felt constant stress? Like all day, every day? Like “chronic” stress?
It wouldn’t feel like an awesome (once-in-a-while) rush, anymore would it?
And what do you think happens to your poor adrenal glands when they’re constantly working?
They’d get fatigued, right?
Do I have adrenal fatigue?
When your adrenal glands start getting tired of secreting stress hormones day in and out, you can start getting other symptoms.
Symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, weight loss or gain, joint pain, sugar cravings, even frequent infections like colds and the flu are signs that your adrenals are overworked.
First off, I have to tell you that there aren’t medically accepted blood tests for adrenal fatigue. In fact, it’s not recognized by most medical professionals until the point when your adrenals are so fatigued they almost stop working. At that point, the official diagnoses of “Adrenal Insufficiency” or “Addison’s Disease” may apply.
However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions. He or she may even be open to discussing adrenal fatigue, or at the very least, wellness strategies that can help to reduce your stress (and symptoms).
What to do if I have these symptoms?
There are many actions you can take to reduce your stress and improve your health and energy levels.
Ideally, if you think stress is starting to burn you out, stress reduction is key. There are tons of ideas how you can reduce your stress. My favourites are meditation, walking in nature, gentle exercise, deep breathing, more sleep, or taking a bath.
Of course, I also recommend reducing sugar, caffeine and processed food intake as well as eating more fruits and vegetables. Better nutrition can only help your body. Furthermore, consider that hidden food sensitivities are worsening your energy levels and use an elimination diet to uncover them. Stay open-minded to fully supporting your adrenal health.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. After long-term daily stress, they may get tired.
Adrenal fatigue is a controversial disease that doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific telltale symptoms.
Magnesium is such an important mineral that it is often touted as the miracle mineral and that is because it is responsible for hundreds, if not thousands of bio-chemical processes in the body. If you’ve learned anything so far, it’s that we are all really stressed. Unfortunately stress depletes your magnesium supply, so many of us are deficient. As it happens, magnesium is a relaxing mineral, which is the exact thing we need when we are stressed.
Unless you add magnesium into your life, you will find yourself in a bit of a stressful catch-22. The best food sources of magnesium to include are raw cacao, hemp hearts and dark, leafy greens. You may also consider adding a magnesium bisglycinate supplement to your regime for enhanced absorption. To get the benefits of magnesium and stress reduction, try an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are a rich source of magnesium.
Lavender Bath Salts
2 cups Epsom salts
10 drops lavender essential oil
As you’re running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub. Mix until dissolved.
Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!
Tip: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.