In my previous blog I went through some dietary tips to help the exhausted adrenal glands recover and in another blog I spoke about the effects that ongoing stress has on the body and how it can affect the adrenals.
Are you constantly tired? Do you not wake up feeling fully refreshed? Do you feel like you are dragging a heavy ball of lead behind you all day long? Or are you ticking lots of the questions on this questionnaire? If yes, then you might benefit from the tips below.
When clients come to me with symptoms of adrenal fatigue, they often want a quick solution to feeling better. Unfortunately there is no one magic pill to take that will restore energy levels in a few days. Recovery is possible through making small lifestyle stages one step at a time. Think about the habits developed over time that may have brought you to exhaustion. Are you constantly worrying for days and months on end about a situation in your life? Are you pushing yourself to your limits at work? Are you in the midst of a stressful life event with no support to help you through it? Are you not sleeping properly and allowing the body to regenerate over night? Are you drinking lots of caffeine and eating lots of convenience and processed foods e.g. foods high in added sugar, salt and bad fats to help give you some artificial energy to get through each day? These habits take time to undo. And it takes time for the body to heal.
You can have the best nutrition plan in the world but if you are not implementing some of the lifestyle changes below you won’t be giving your body a chance to fully heal. I’ve seen it with some of my clients who have the best diets e.g. they’ve cut out all processed foods and reduced or eliminated alcohol and caffeine. However if they are constant worriers, perfectionists and don’t have some downtime or fun times then their adrenals can’t fully heal.
Lifestyle tips to restore the exhausted adrenals
- Lie down during work breaks – (obviously not possible for everyone but aim to do this at least at weekends)
Brief (15-30 minute rest) at 10am and
Brief (15-30 minute rest) between 3-5.30pm
- Exercise three times per week for 20-30 minutes or less depending on level of fatigue. This should not be high intensity (running, aerobics) as this can put further stress on the adrenals. Exercise can include brisk walking, swimming or yoga/pilates as this sort of exercise promotes and encourages balanced adrenal glands.
- N.B. Sleep. Regular sleep patterns are a must. It is important to go to sleep by 10.30pm every night. This is because the adrenal glands kick in for a “second wind” to keep us going from 11pm to 1am. This puts tremendous stress on the adrenals. Between 10pm and 1am the adrenals work the hardest to repair the body. Sleep in until 8.30am or 9am whenever possible.
- Laughter – very important to healing (movies, books, humorous people, etc). If you are constantly working, looking after the family, pushing yourself to achieve targets with no time for some fun, then it’s time to build in what I call “Golden days”. So take a Saturday and plan for the best Saturday you’ve had in decades and do the things that you genuinely love doing.
- Minimise worry. Worrying makes the adrenal glands work. Relaxing and thinking peaceful thoughts enables them to rest and heal. That’s why yoga and meditation are so good for you. Try not to worry about things over which you have no control. It’s the amount of worry and not necessarily the size of the problem that stresses your adrenal glands. If you worry a lot about little problems, you do as much damage to your adrenal glands as someone who really has a lot of stress. If you can control your worrying when under stress, you minimise the damage stress does to your health. A wise man once said that worry is interest paid in advance on money you haven’t even borrowed yet.
- Do not get out of bed in the morning until you think of something pleasant – affirmations great to say first thing.
- Daily break for enjoyment
- Build in relaxation as part of your day for a minimum of 15 minutes – e.g. reading, bathing with lavender oil & Epsom salts, listening to music, massage.
- Breathing exercises – do before eating and in times of stress. Check out Dr Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing exercise
- Locate the “energy robbers” in your life. It can be anything from a food to a perfume, an activity, a nagging memory, a co-worker or a spouse, a building, a room, a situation.
- Seek some counselling to help deal with or relieve stressors
- Try Yoga, meditation, prayer, Tai Chi
- Use reframing techniques to shift your framework
- Do relaxation response exercises regularly
- Keep a gratitude journal