Your adrenals are important because they help you respond to stress. If you have chronic stress, your adrenals get beaten up and your energy plummets and it becomes difficult to manage your life. You could feel tired and wired, all at the same time. You might get palpitations or feel anxious or have trouble sleeping. You might crave salt. You might get dizzy when you stand up. You might have low blood pressure. You might even have sugar cravings, because your body can’t regulate your blood sugar properly. Other symptoms of adrenal fatigue include relentless and debilitating fatigue, depressed mood, irritability, loss of interest in life, low energy, and an inability to carry out your normal day-to-day activities. All these are clues that you could have adrenal problems.
Someone suffering from adrenal fatigue might have a typical day like this: You wake up feeling groggy and have difficulty dragging yourself out of bed. You can’t mentally wake up without that first cup or two of coffee. You rely on sugary snacks and caffeine to get through the day, particularly in the late morning or afternoon. At night, even though you’re exhausted, you have difficulty falling asleep because the worries of the day keep replaying in your mind.
So, why do we get adrenal burnout? We develop adrenal burnout from the chronic stresses of everyday life such as family life, relationships, work, social media, and constant overstimulation.
It’s really important to understand how the whole stress response works, why it goes wrong, and why, over time, your adrenal glands, which are these little glands that sit on the top of your kidneys, are not able to manage the chronic stress that you have in your life.
Remember, cortisol is your fight or flight hormone. In the right amounts, it can enhance your body’s natural resistance and endurance. When you have adrenal burnout, your cortisol starts to go down, you can’t respond normally to the stresses of life, and you end up just feeling tired and crummy most of the time. We push ourselves with coffee and other stimulants to feel better, but these tactics really don’t work.
So how do you heal your adrenals and regain your energy? First, I recommend eating a whole food, anti-inflammatory diet. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods such as wild fish and other sources of omega-3 fats, red and purple berries, dark green leafy vegetables, and nuts.
Next, find ways to actively relax. This can be light exercise or simply using calming essential oils to lower your cortisol and balance the whole hormonal system.
Exercise is always important — gentle, regular exercise like a morning walk, a light jog, a little bike ride. Do something out in the fresh air to get natural light that affects your pineal gland and helps reset your brain and the stress response.
I also recommend establishing a regular rhythm. Rhythm is the key because your hormones are balanced in rhythms. So, waking at the same time every day, going to bed at the same time every day, eating at the same time every day — these are the rhythms in life that help to reset your natural balance. Following your natural rhythms of work and rest during the day is also essential. Take natural breaks when you are tired. Naps are also a great way to reset. If you are all over the place, your adrenals are going to burn out.
Your diet and supplementation, exercise, and sleep routines are good areas to start with. Adopting healthier habits in these areas may give you a healthier foundation from which to address the underlying causes.
So, if you have any of the symptoms listed above, if you’re worried about your adrenal stress response, if you’re thinking that you might have adrenal burnout, I encourage you to take some time, find things you like to do to hit your pause button, get into rhythm, try a few vitamins and herbs, and reset your life.