What is Adrenal Fatigue and How to Overcome It?
Have you experienced feeling tired, fatigued, and under so much stress that your body can’t really cope with it, leaving you with low energy and depression? Some people call it burnout, others call it adrenal fatigue, but whatever the case may be, even if the science doesn’t exactly think of it as an actual condition, it’s real and you are definitely not imagining it.
The powerful symptoms of low energy and tiredness can have a negative effect on your everyday life, from being less focused and productive at work, to having zero patience or tolerance with your kids and other loved ones. And if you don’t turn your attention to dealing with these symptoms and trying to find a way to relieve them, you might be at risk for more serious health conditions that can be dangerous and harmful to your overall health.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Also known as adrenal exhaustion, adrenal fatigue is a health condition that’s characterized by a plethora of symptoms. Individually, they can be a result of many different diseases and impaired functions in the human body, but together, they create a unique combination of tiredness and fatigue that can drag on for months, if not years.
The underlying root cause of adrenal fatigue is chronic stress which is coupled with chronic inflammation that brings your body into overdrive, making it work harder than it should to perform even the simplest of tasks. This puts a toll on your immune system and makes it hard for your body to fight off disease and infections.
How Your Body Works
Your body is governed by hormones and they dictate everything, from how hungry or satiated you feel to how your menstrual cycle is regulated and how you respond to stress. Cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline are three important stress hormones that are produced and released by your adrenal glands, located on top of your kidneyss whenever there’s a stressful occurrence.
In addition to regulating your body’s response to stress, the adrenal glands play an important role in managing your metabolism, immune response, and even blood pressure. When they start under or overproducing certain hormones, your body begins experiencing certain symptoms as a result. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and they can have a significantly negative impact on your quality of life as well as your overall health.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Some of the most common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Loss of energy
- Depression and anxiety
- Muscle weakness
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Brain fog and the inability to focus
- Lack of creativity and productivity
- Sugar cravings
- Insomnia and other trouble with sleeping
All of these symptoms can be a result of many different health conditions, chronic inflammation, diseases, and hormone imbalance, but by implementing certain lifestyle changes to reduce your stress levels, you’ll be able to rule out underlying medical conditions that require a much serious approach.
How to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue?
First and foremost, it’s important to lower your stress levels. There are certain home remedies and lifestyle changes you can implement to help get your body out of the constant “fight ot flight” mode and transition into “rest and digest.”
Include Adaptogens Into Your Diet
What you eat has a significant impact on your stress levels, and adding certain foods and superfoods that are known adaptogens will help support your body’s response to stress and help you become better adapted to its effects. Some of the most popular adaptogens include maca powder, ashwagandha, rhodiola, reishi, chaga, ginseng, eleuthero, and holy basil.
Avoid Processed Foods
In addition to adding powerful stress-reducing foods and superfoods into your diet, it’s also important to avoid highly processed foods that only add on to stress. Focus on real, whole foods, and stay away from anything that’s pre-packaged, frozen, ready-to-eat, or contains a variety of artificial additives, colorings, thickening agents, fillers, or sweeteners.
Cut Down on Sugar
Another highly-inflammatory ingredient that’s very common in our diet is sugar. Sugar is one of the worst ingredients you can add to your diet, especially when you’re already fighting adrenal fatigue and chronic stress. Choose healthier alternatives like yacon syrup, stevia, or monk fruit sweetener and curb your sweet tooth without the inflammatory consequence.
Cutting down on sugar might not be the easiest thing in the world, especially since the majority of the foods you find in grocery stores might have it hidden in their list of ingredients, but that’s why you need to read every label and make sure you’re only eating clean products that contain good-for-you ingredients.
One of the best ways to lower your stress levels is to include regular exercise into your weekly regimen. Whether you run, bike, swim, or practice yoga, it doesn’t matter as long as you move your body. Exercise is known to improve your blood circulation, enhance nutrient absorption, help flush toxins out of your body, improve your metabolism, lower your inflammation and stress, and induce the production of serotonin and endorphins, the happiness hormones.
Focus on Stress-Reducing Activities
If you come home from work and you’re unable to unwind, find some activities that will help you relax. Instead of just turning on your TV and watching another Netflix show while simultaneously scrolling on your phone, which actually aggravates your condition of chronic stress, draw yourself a long bath, listen to music, read a book, journal, paint, meditate, or do whatever feels the best for you. You’ll know it when you start feeling your body relax, releasing that tension you’ve been holding on since the moment you woke up.
Implement Smart Stress-Reducing Strategies
So, you’ve found your stress-reducing activity that helps you relax after a busy, hectic day. That’s great, but in addition to that, it’s also important to find the best way to prevent the outside environment from creating such a havoc-wreaking stress response in the first place.
Some people like to get into planning mode and reorganize their weekly schedule so that they’re not constantly feeling like they’re just running from one place to another. Others start asking for help and delegating certain tasks to other family members or even work colleagues. Whatever it is that can help lower your daily stress, even a little, it’s worth exploring and implementing into your life. This way, you won’t have to mitigate the daily stress by soaking in your bath tub for half an hour every night, but you’ll create actionable steps to prevent adrenal fatigue from creeping up and causing you to be too tired to even play with your kids.
Even though adrenal fatigue isn’t a recognized medical condition, its symptoms are and they shouldn’t be ignored. They might be a result of another underlying condition or simply a response to high stress levels and inflammation. Whatever the case may be, it shouldn’t just stay that way. Listen to your body and focus on implementing healthy, self-loving routines that will only serve you good long-term.