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What's Up With My Adrenals? Tips for Dealing with Adrenal Fatigue.

Updated: Apr 24


Menopausal woman with adrenal fatigue

How to Improve Adrenal Function & Restore Hormonal Balance: 


Modern living means that we are experiencing high levels of stress that our bodies were not designed to cope with. After reacting to danger with a fight-or-flight response, which releases a temporary burst of adrenaline, we are supposed to return to a state of relax and recover.

However, now we often have to immediately deal with the next stressor, and the next, even if it is via continual interactions with technology and social media, and a constant stream of cortisol inducing engagement with people, news and events. As a result, we are not getting enough down time from stress-fuelled anxiety to recharge those physical, mental and emotional batteries.

 

This can lead to adrenal overload and dysfunction, which can show up as hormonal imbalances at any stage of life, including during adolescence, pregnancy and menopause, it can also impact on fertility. In fact, it is easy to mistake the effects of adrenal issues with the symptoms of these experiences: hello fatigue, brain fog, low mood, lack of energy or motivation, insomnia, digestion issues, food cravings, weight gain, changes in libido, aches and pain as well as…you guessed it - high levels of anxiety…which is going to lead to more…you got it - stress!

 

Tips for Dealing with Adrenal Fatigue:

 

While adrenal fatigue can be related to other health issues, if there are no underlying medical conditions (such as thyroid dysfunction), you do not have to just soldier on and suffer unnecessarily through these challenging periods of your life. The following strategies have been shown to help.

 

-  Pause to disconnect from social media, constant online connectivity and interaction.

-  Take time to disengage and do absolutely nothing (watching Netflix doesn't count).

-  Practice deep breathing techniques to give yourself brain breaks (for 2 -5 minutes at a time, or daily for 10 - 20 mins – just explore what works for you).

-  Get into the habit of resting when tired and try to sleep at a regular time each day.

-  Reduce the consumption of carb-heavy processed foods, caffeine and sugar.

-  Consider supplementing with vitamin C and B-complex.

-  Regular movement and gentle exercise (no HIIT for now).

-  Working on unresolved trauma, particularly if it is manifesting in embodied emotional responses.

 

And of course, the most important step is to re-evaluate and try to mitigate those ongoing stressors which may be pushing your adrenal responses to the limit and contributing to physical and/or mental health challenges. Positive lifestyle changes can reduce 'fight or flight' responses and promote 'rest and digest' can help to restore energy, boost the immune system and improve overall wellbeing.


Reference:


Wilson, J. (2014). Clinical perspective on stress, cortisol and adrenal fatigue. Advances in Integrative Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aimed.2014.05.002.

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