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6 Signs You're Experiencing Adrenal Fatigue And How To Treat It
So, what is stress?
What Happens When You Are Stressed?
When you are under stress a cascade of physiological reactions happen within your body. Starting from your hypothalamus via your pituitary glands to your adrenals and often even in your other organs like thyroid and ovaries. This is known as HPA activation or stress response. How you react to stress is unique and individual – but it is a major determinant of our everyday health.
Cortisol is always being released by low grade stressors – traffic jams, being late, the phone ringing or missed meals. Sometimes your body just adjusts to stress and you don’t even notice its reaction. Your body can bring you back to homeostasis or your normal and other times you can tell. But that does not mean you are not ‘stressed’.
The problem with long term stress is that your body gets worn down by the constant stress responses, and this can damage your body systems, for example if you are constantly getting sick, have poor immunity and recovery. Long term stress can lead to adrenal fatigue - basically your adrenals will work past capacity and will not be able to produce the stress hormone anymore (it exhausts its capacity to respond). If this happens to you, no doubt you will want to know how to treat adrenal fatigue. Read on to learn how!
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
The adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and produce a few hormones, the main one being cortisol. The premise of adrenal fatigue is long term exposure to stress ends up draining the adrenals which leads to low cortisol and a low cortisol response within the body in response to stress. Knowing how to treat adrenal fatigue is the first step to feeling like yourself again.
What adrenal fatigue could look like is:
- Brain fog
- Feeling light headed
- Low energy
- Low mood
- Carbohydrate cravings
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
If you want to learn how to treat adrenal fatigue you must first know what causes it. In an everyday sense, logic would tell you that if you are always rushing, feeling overwhelmed and sleeping poorly your body will not be too happy. You know that rest helps you recover from your day and also helps keep your immune system happy and healthy so in that way adrenal ‘fatigue’ makes sense.
Essentially adrenal fatigue is finding everyday things hard to deal with. As life is innately stressful at the moment, chronic and long term stress is showing up as general exhaustion, inability to think clearly, finding small things hard and even apathy.
We are pretty sure you know someone (if it is not you) that is feeling like this at the moment. The last few years have been exhausting on many levels and now, as we are still in the thick of things, everything might feel like too much.
How To Treat Adrenal Fatigue
Take Time To Rest
I know - easier said than done, but resting doesn’t have to be lying in bed all day or not participating in anything it can be:
- Heading to bed an hour earlier
- Making 3 things your priority in a day opposed to filling a page of things to do
- Having a bath with Epsom salts and reading a good book to try and relax
- Having some ‘no demands’ time set aside for just you. It can be as little as half an hour.
Our body really needs to rest, it is the way we try and regroup from what is going on and also when we recover. So it is so important to let it stop and be for a bit. Forging though fatigue (even when busyness is glorified) will not help you feel better quicker - it will make you feel worse.
🌿Related: 8 Incredible Herbs To Help With Sleep
Nourish Your Body
- Eat nourishing foods like soups, broths, smoothies
- Have daily tonics and teas to help your body with easily absorbable active constituents from plants.
Great plants to look into are; rosehips as they are naturally high in vitamin C which our adrenals need to manufacture cortisol. Rosehips are also high in antioxidants which can help with free radical damage that physical and emotional stress may cause. Rosehip season is soon but luckily we have a great product called that already contains rosehips, kawakawa and nettle which help to support your body in times of stress and extra demands.
Holy basil can help you adapt to mental, emotional and physical stress, nettle is high in minerals and vitamins to support energy levels.
- Walk/move/swim/stretch. Gentle movement can get the circulation going and also help us breathe more deeply which can help with energy levels and generally help our mood.
- Get out in the sun. Direct sun exposure on our skin can help with Vitamin D production but also seeing and being in the sun can help to lift our mood and energy levels.
- Remember to breathe. Breathe in for the count of 3. 1 and 2 and 3. Hold your breathe for the count of 3. 1 and 2 and 3. Breathe out for the count of 3. 1 and 2 and 3. Do this 3 times.
Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Learning how to treat adrenal fatigue is about looking at the whole picture, this means addressing your mental health too. Sonia Voldseth, who is a mental health counsellor, has some great advice:
- Have more naps (ohh this is a great one).
- Write down your worries to get them out of your head.
- Ground yourself. Notice 3 things you can see, 3 things you can hear, 3 external things you can feel (e.g. air on your arms, clothes on skin etc). Focus on these. It moves your thoughts away from the anxious feelings or overwhelm.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Name it - I am exhausted right now and that is ok.
- Be kind to yourself. The most important. We are human, we are not meant to just battle on - we can stop, pause, breathe and start again.