9 Signs That You Have Adrenal Fatigue & What to Do About It
Adrenal fatigue is a term to describe your adrenal glands when they are struggling to cope with your underlying stress, and overly busy-schedule. When your adrenals are overworked, you will likely end up feeling pretty burnt out, and dull all over.
Your adrenals can only handle so much, just like you. Playing an important role in your endocrine system, these small but mighty glands produce key hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. If you’re undergoing daily stress and triggers, these little guys become overworked, pumping out stress hormones in response to your life. There’s a point where your adrenals may seek help from other systems to keep up with the increased workload. While it’s nice to know your systems work together to help you out, if we continue on this destructive tunnel-vision path, we may end up weakening other systems in return.
Unaddressed stress can lead to some pretty serious situations, while your medical doctor isn’t going to diagnose you with adrenal fatigue, if you surpass the 4 stages, you may enter insufficiency or exhaustion, which is now something that your medical doctor can now diagnose, but trust me - you don’t want to get to that level.
So how do you know if you know if you’re experiencing adrenal fatigue?
You're Feeling Overwhelmed By Life
So many of us put self-care at the bottom of our to-do list. If you’re not balancing your busy lifestyle you may be printing your ticket to burnout town. It’s ok to be a go-getter and even an over-achiever, but the key to your success also resides in your self-care practices, not just how hard you can work. Because let’s be real, how can you be your best if you don't feel your best? You can’t. But you can see the stress on people, it weighs us down and it doesn’t look good on anyone.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by life, take a step back
Can you rid yourself of some commitments that do not serve you?
Can you spare a few minutes to take a few deep breaths and stretch it out?
Can you make it to bed a little earlier?
Can you you schedule untouchable you time in your planner to remind you what life is about?
Sometimes we just need somebody to talk to, whether you’re going through a period of intense stress, are experiencing anxiety and depression or are facing hurtles that are preventing you from feeling your very best. We have a lot of things to be thankful for - we now live in a time where help is both accessible and affordable, you can work online with a licensed and professional therapist through BetterHelp.
You Can't Sleep
Ideally, we should all be getting between 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Your body needs this time to recover, reset and recharge for a new day. You should wake up every morning feeling refreshed and energized. However, many of us are actually being counter productive by giving up sleep to continue with more work. Unless you’ve actually found the 25th hour in the day, all of this busy-bee behaviour throws off your balance and makes it harder for you to fall/stay asleep. It's time to introduce a healthy new habit to improve your rhythm.
Try and be in bed by 10:30 pm, even if you can't fall asleep quite yet - being in the dark helps your body to produce melatonin - your sleepy-time hormone.
If your mind is racing before bed - practice some guided mediation or listen to a calming instrumental playlist to clear your thoughts.
Take a warm bath before bed with added AlkaBath, a mineral blend to relieve a stressed body, helping you to relax
Avoid screens before bed, and program your blue light filters on your devices to activate once the sun goes down. These screens emit light which interferes with your natural melatonin production.
You Feel Exhausted After Working Out
Exercise should make you feel more energized, it shouldn't make you exhausted and fatigued afterwards. Physical stress can be troublesome for your adrenal glands - too much exercise can actually do the opposite of what you want. If you're working out constantly, but are not reaching your goals, are struggling with belly fat and feel fatigued after working out. What you’re doing isn’t working for your body right now. Switch up your fitness routine when you’re feeling overworked to begin with, take part in lower-intensity exercises to create more balance. Don’t underestimate the power of a nature walk, and an at-home yoga session. Support yourself in feeling better, not worse.
Your Hormones Are Feeling Wacky
When your adrenals are overworked, they may start calling in for help from other systems. In stage 2 of adrenal fatigue, often times we see that the thyroid is affected. If your adrenals cannot keep up, hormone precursor material will be redirected for use in cortisol production - which can lead to a hormonal imbalance.
Focus on following a nourishing diet with healthy fats, protein and an abundance of vibrant vegetables and dark leafy greens
Make sure you’re getting in adequate sleep, reference those tips above!
Include adaptogenic herbs which create balance and adapt to what your body needs
Drink enough water and decrease caffeine intake
You're Feeling Anxious or Depressed
When you've got too much going on, anxiety kicks in. The pressure of deadlines and that busy schedule can bring on little spurts of an adrenaline rush. Adrenal hormones are involved in cognitive function, mood and your overall mental state. Unaddressed stress can create anxiety and depression, as when we are less 'tolerant' than we normally are, we are more easily frustrated.
Reminder: Take more time for you
Reminder: You do enough, you give enough, you are enough
Reminder: Your health and well being is more important than a clean kitchen and a work function that you really don't want to go to
You've Got Cravings for Salt
If you’re on team salt - you may be craving salty snacks for a reason. If your body is looking for more stress fighting minerals, your body knows it can find comfort in sodium. Aldosterone is a salt-retaining hormone produced by your adrenals, when our adrenals can’t keep up with aldosterone production, cravings for salt may increase.
Utilize a high quality Himalayan salt in your cooking, which naturally contains 76 trace minerals
Add sustainably sourced seaweeds such as dulse, kelp and nori to your meals
Add a few drops of a Trace Mineral Concentrate to your water
You Feel Stiff & Sore
Your body reacts to stressful events, and feeling stiff and sore can be a sign that you're body isn't benefiting from a Recharge. You may feel this in your neck, back or jaw. I’m not trying to sound like a broken record, but make it a priority to optimize your sleep habits, make it a habit to stretch daily or practice yoga. Part of my self-care routine is to take a hot bath with a few tablespoons of AlkaBath which is phenomenal for anti-inflammatory effects. Containing natural minerals and crystals such as magnesium, this blend soothes muscles, reduces tension, and makes your skin silky smooth as a bonus
You're Relying on Caffeine to Get You Through the Afternoon
Hello coffee lovers, it's time to find out the truth on why caffeine can be good for some, and not for others. Coffee does not give you energy - you are borrowing that energy. While your brain might tell you that it need caffeine to get through the day, it also keel your body in stress mode as it signals the production of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. Mornings can be tough when you have adrenal fatigue, but coffees initial surge of energy wears off and that innocent cuppa can leave you feeling even more tired and crabby than you did when you woke up. During your Recharge, it is best to reach for herbal teas and coffee substitutes such as holy basil, a reishi elixir, dandelion root tea and this turmeric latte.
Your Digestion is Off
When you're under stress, you body is not focusing on optimally digesting and absorbing the nutrition in your healthy meal... Your body is responding to stress. Functions like digestion and your metabolism are down regulated in adrenal fatigue mode, which increases the likelihood of you being bloated after eating - you may also experience weight gain, indigestion or constipation/diarrhea.
You can be creating super healthy recipes, and you should continue to do so, however if your body is under stress, you may not be optimally absorbing and assimilating the nutrition within. At this point, you may need Recharge supplementation along with following these better digestion tricks:
Drinking warm water with fresh lemon or a splash or raw apple cider vinegar water
Take time to properly chew and savour your meals
Drink enough water between meals
Include natural trace minerals
Take a daily probiotic and include fermented foods
Now that you've got an idea of what adrenal fatigue may look or feel like, it is time for you to know that I’ve created the guide to your Recharge. Let’s increase your energy, vibrancy and passion for life. This holistic protocol was designed to expand on the information in this article so that you can address stress, overcome adrenal fatigue, and prevent or Recharge from a total burnout.