Are you tired all the time? Do you wake up from sleep unrefreshed and have difficulty getting out of bed? If yes, then maybe you’re suffering from burnout. Alternatively, what we medically call adrenal fatigue.
The adrenal glands are a pair of endocrine organs that rest atop of your kidneys. They have an enormous effect on our physiology, affecting literally every tissue, cell, organ, as well as impacting our mind and emotions. These organs are responsible for the secretion of the hormones associated with the body’s stress response.
When we are under stress, it’s these little glands that work hard to make enough stress hormones to sustain the stressful event. In a ‘healthy’ stressful situation, our nervous system would shift back to the parasympathetic state – our relaxed state, when the stressful event has passed.
The issue is that this modern world is perceived as being filled with one stress after another, which results in us being constantly on the go. Always being in this state exerts extra strain on the adrenal glands and eventually, they become run down to the point of fatigue. You’ve run out of juice to sustain the correct vital functions that your body needs for health and vitality. You’re running on empty and ultimately burn out.
Learn about the 4 essential requirements to restore adrenal function and recover energy:
1. SLOW DOWN
As a faced paced lifestyle is the cause, slowing down is the answer. You can start by recognizing and removing known stressors in your life. Learn to say ‘no’ to events and situations that don’t serve you. Spend more time in nature, slow down to its rhythms. Start to go to bed earlier at night, leave work at the office and permit yourself to do ‘nothing,’ and simply ‘be.’
2. QUIET THE MIND AND BUILD RESILIENCE TO STRESS
Meditation is essential for adrenal fatigue treatment. The immediate benefits are that this practice powerfully calms the nervous system, dissolves accumulated tension built up in our physiology and releases mental toxins. It activates the body self-healing processes and removes cortisol and other damaging stress hormones from our system. Over time, meditation literally re-wires the brain which enables us to build resilience to stress and change our initial reaction to non-life threatening events.
Pranayama, intentionally using this ancient yogic breathing can help balance the state of our nervous system. If you are feeling stressed and struggling with adrenal fatigue, it is likely that you are breathing in a very shallow way which further stimulates this ‘fight and flight’ or stress response. This simple relaxation breathing technique can tilt your nervous system towards a calm state. You can simple practice diaphragm breathing (where you breathe into your belly with gentle and slow breaths) or try alternate nostril breathing. Research shows diaphragm breathing is just as effective as SSRI’s and anti-anxiety drugs in calming the nervous system and re-invigorating the mind.
Yoga practice is excellent for providing recovery and can also help you deal with stressful circumstances without having such a strong adverse reaction. Specific yoga poses help to work on specific endocrine organs, enhancing nutrient and oxygen-rich blood flow to the area to support its functioning. To help turn off the adrenal glands and calm the mind, practice calming, gentle restorative yoga postures daily in a warm, dark, quiet environment.
Keys points to nourish the adrenal glands and regain vibrant energy:
• Avoid refined sugar consumption.
• Avoid/ decrease the intake of common allergens such as gluten, dairy and processed foods which add an extra burden to the system.
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol – these significantly diminish our energy and wearing our nervous system.
• Eat mainly a whole food, plant-based diet that is nutrient rich to provide the building blocks we need
• Eat foods rich in vitamin C and B vitamins are these nourish the adrenals and support the energy production processes of the body. These include citrus foods, oats, berries, and whole grains.
4. HERBAL SUPPORT
Herbs have been used in holistic medicine for thousands of years, and are now verified by modern science and research. Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen herb and the critical herb in adrenal fatigue. An adaptogen is an herb that supports the body’s ability to deal with stress – be it physical, mental or emotional in nature. It acts like a big support network for the body. Ashwagandha reduces the effects of stress, enhances memory and cognitive function that often becomes impaired when you experience adrenal fatigue and burnout.
Addressing all these aspects together, holistically, is the way to assure full recovery and abundant energy.
Be in touch with our Health Practitioner if you’d like a Health Consultation for an individualised treatment plan to recovery your energy.
Written by: Tegan Wallis