What is Adrenal Fatigue?
The term, “adrenal fatigue” is coined by Dr. James L. Wilson in 1998. (1)
He assumed that an overstimulation of adrenal glands in stressed people might lead to fatigue. (2)
The thumb-sized adrenal glands above your kidneys produce more than 50 hormones for the proper functioning of the body. Cortisol is one of these hormones, responsible for managing your stress (3).
If you are stressful, your adrenals may produce an inconsistent level of cortisol. This way your stress may result in adrenal fatigue and other symptoms.
Other reasons for adrenal fatigue are poor sleeping habits, dietary factors, excessive exercise and consumption of caffeine.
This article reviews some adrenal fatigue natural treatments plus the most common symptoms and stages of this condition.
18 Natural Ways to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue
1. Natural Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Diet check is a huge factor in adrenal recovery. Some foods provide with adrenal energy and improve your system return to its healthy state.
The first step to adrenal diet is to avoid processed and refined foods.
Caffeine: Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea are stimulants that interfere with your sleep and hinder the adrenal recovery. If you can’t do without them, have a limited amount in the morning.
Sugar and sweeteners: Avoid all forms of artificial sweeteners (5) corn syrup; sugary foods, candy, sweets, etc. keep away from extra sugar as much as possible.
Complex carbohydrates: carbohydrates can cause inflammation and pose problematic for adrenal fatigue victim. Stressed people crave for carb-heavy foods for momentary satisfaction. This may further tax the adrenals. (6)
Processed and microwaved foods: Microwaveable foods are ultra–processed with many preservatives and fillers. Body’s digestive system finds them hard to process and exhausts a lot of energy. This has an impact on the adrenals.
Processed meats: It is advisable to take healthy proteins in moderation. But when it comes to processed meats, you should avoid them. They lack in nutrition and can pose a threat to your adrenals (7). Always buy organic meats for adrenal recovery.
Hydrogenated oils: avoid soybean and corn oil since they are inflammatory and can lead to adrenal inflammation.
A healthy adrenal diet has good fats, opinion fibers, fermented foods, anti-oxidants, lean protein, and moderate natural sweeteners.
Following foods are natural supplements for your adrenals rehab:
- Avocado and other healthy fats (8)
- cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
- Fatty fish
- organic chicken and beef (9)
- walnuts and almonds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Himalayan sea salt
- probiotic fermented foods
- medicinal mushrooms
- Caffeine-free chamomile or rooibos tea (10)
2. Breathe Long and Deep
Deep breathing is a great way to manage your stress. It rejuvenates you by relaxing your mind and body. Early morning is the best time for a breathing exercise. As you breathe long and deep purge yourself off of all the stress that cripples you. A calm and peaceful mind is the outcome of this great exercise.
3. Dry Brush Your Skin
Dry brushing is a process of brushing your body in a particular pattern (11). This ancient Ayurveda practice gives you relief from stress.
It stimulates the lymphatic system and boosts circulation. This simple process is beneficial for detoxification of body as well.
- Begin with brushing the soles of the feet and go upwards. Always move toward the center of the body.
- Give long and smooth strokes.
- Brush each section of skin 10 times.
- Follow the same process with the arms.
- Begin with brushing the palms, up the arm toward the heart.
- Brush each section of skin 10 times.
- Brush stomach and armpits in a circular clockwise motion.
- Repeat the process on abdomen and face with an extra delicate brush.
Note: Use a firm brush with natural bristle and a long handle. Such a handle allows you to brush the entire back. Use less pressure if it hurts. Immediately replace the worn out brush.
4. Hydrate Yourself
Drinking water is an exceptional way to balance cortisol hormone. Water can instantly bring you back to a state of rest and calm.
Dehydration is one of the primary causes of adrenal fatigue. Dehydrated body stimulates the stress hormone and affects adrenals.
So make it a point to drink a lot of water throughout the day. You can add a dash of fresh lemon with your water for extra antioxidants.
5. Reconnect with Nature
The toxic electromagnetic frequencies of metro life can increase the mental stress within you. These can alter neurotransmitter functions in your body.
Take a break from the maddening city life and visit some lush green village or a sea beach. Restore your primal connection with the mother earth as you walk barefoot on grass and sand.
This earthing practice can fill you with natural electromagnetic frequencies and stabilize the neurotransmitter functions.
6. Use Essential Oils
Lavender, vanilla, rose, lemon balm, rosemary, and frankincense are some essential oils that work marvel to relieve adrenal fatigue.
A lot of methods are available to get the best out of these essential oils. You can choose one that’s convenient for you.
- You can use a diffuser to break the oils into tiny molecules. The molecules will spread all over your residing place with healing properties and sweet aroma.
- A massage or a hot bath with essential oil can be rejuvenating.
- You can consume a few drops of them as well as adding to a glass of water.
7. Improve Your Sleep
If you want to cure your adrenals, make sure to improve your sleep habit.
It’s time you stopped staying up too late, fidgeting with your smartphone or watching TV shows. A quality sleep of 7 hours per night is essential for the adrenal hormones to recover its balance because the brain and the adrenal glands need enough time to recuperate. This happens when the body is resting.
The caffeine addicts need to restrain themselves from coffee, tea or any other stimulant drinks, especially in the afternoon. Caffeine may cause you insomnia. (13)
Make allowance for a short daytime nap, if it fits your schedule of the day. This will reset your body for the afternoon activities.
8. Low-Intensity Movement
A desk-bound lifestyle is harmful to your adrenals and stress level.
Light movements such as walking, jogging, cycling, playing, etc. are anti-inflammatory and help your adrenals to recover fast.
Make movements part of your daily routine. Don’t bog down to one place. Movements can help boost your mood as well.
9. Listen to Light Inspirational Music
Light music therapy can heal the adrenals with its soothing effects.
A classical raga, worship or meditation music can transport your mind to a calm and relaxed state. Their harmonies are exceptional for boosting up serotonin hormone that regulates your mood.
Don’t indulge in over stimulating music such as hip-hop and rock. These can further tax your adrenals.
10. Positive Visualization
A body has the natural capability to heal itself. All you need to do is to be kind to yourself.
A positive visualization of yourself and motivational self-talk can be beneficial for your adrenals. Practice these simple exercises to strengthen you psychologically and bring down stress level.
- Begin the mindfulness exercise by finding an appropriate place free from noise and disturbances.
- Sit down in a comfortable posture or take a meditative stroll
- Become aware of yourself and the nature around you
- Do breathing exercise to calm your scattered mind
- Silence all negative self-talk
- Empower yourself with motivational words like “Yes, I can.”
- In your mind create mental images of yourself as being healthy, productive and positive.
- Believing is becoming. You should have a full conviction of the positive images you create.
- Be aware of your positive areas and be thankful for your life.
Note: it’s vital to reflect on your perception of success. If need be, change that perception.
Are you running behind a golden deer too ambitious to achieve or that doesn’t even exist? Does success mean only financial affluence?
11. Play More
Games are a great way to manage stress. Games provide with both physical fitness and entertainment. Make some time to indulge in light games to restore your health. Thus you can bring down stress level and manage adrenal fatigue.
12. Schedule Your Day
Prioritize your works and schedule your day. If your day is well planned, you’ll find enough time to read a book, watch a movie; hang around with loved ones or to relax. These activities can take away the stress of your hectic office works.
13. Be Generous with Laughter and Smile
“Laughter is the best medicine.” Laughing can stimulate endorphins and other feel-good hormones to reduce the stress response.
14. Get High-Quality Sun Exposure
Expose yourself to the sun and feed your skin with vitamin D. This essential vitamin regulates over 200 genetic pathways in your body (14). This helps your adrenals to de-stress.
The sun emits light particles called bio-photons, which are essential for DNA repair as well.
15. Take Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate is an alternative remedy for many health problems. Adding this time-tested therapeutic mineral with your bath can support adrenals and detoxification. (15)
- Add the salt with your bath water and indulge in the restorative shower for 30 minutes.
- You can mix lavender or chamomile essential oils in the water for rejuvenating aroma and extra anti-inflammatory properties.
- Epsom salt bath can be your nightly ritual before you hit the pillow for a sound sleep.
16. Meditate and Pray Daily
Meditation and prayer have positive psychosomatic effects on your body. This is a great way to start your day. A quiet time spent in self-awareness and positive vibe can heal your body, mind, and spirit from all negative forces. These spiritual process can nourish and heal your adrenals gradually.
17. Do Yoga
The ancient spiritual practice of Yoga can bring a lot of alertness and stillness into your life. This is one of the most beneficial ways to reset your adrenals and de-stress.
Yoga incorporates stretches, light body movements, and breathing exercise. All these are essential for healthy adrenals and to stimulate endorphin or feel-good hormones in your body. (16)
- Practice beginners’ yoga for 15 minutes every morning.
- You can seek help from a yoga instructor or learn it yourself from YouTube or DVD lessons. (17)
Note: Avoid advanced level yoga at the beginning. They can pose to be too taxing on your adrenals.
18. Learn to Say “NO”
It’s time you learned that it’s impossible to please everyone in life and fulfill all their demands. So stop the all-appeasing mentality and learn to say ‘NO.’ even if it disappoints people at your workplace or society.
Don’t be all “yes” to people even at the cost of your personal time and space. You too need time to relax and enjoy with your loved ones.
The Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
You may experience the following symptoms (4) due to adrenal fatigue:
- Waking up with zero energy or motivation in the morning.
- Craving for salty or sugary food.
- Experiencing a low sex drive.
- Feeling exhausted and fatigued in the afternoon.
- Disturbances in sleep or insomnia.
- Experiencing dizziness when you stand up.
- Headaches in the afternoon.
- Experiencing blood sugar issues.
- Weak nails and skin ailments.
- You’re moody and irritated for no reason.
- Weight gain and difficulty in losing it.
- Digestive problems
- Bone loss
- Menstrual irregularities
- Menopausal symptoms
- Lowered immunity
- Aging faster
- Muscle tension
The Three Stages of Adrenal Fatigue
Cortisol imbalance may manifest themselves in three stages of adrenal fatigue:
Stage 1: Wired and Tired
In stage 1 cortisol level remains high at night. Insomnia, weight gain, and sugar resistance are common symptoms of this stage. You feel light-headedness or zero energy in the morning.
Stage 2: Stressed and Tired
In this stage cortisol level fluctuates at different times of the day. Usually, you lose your sleep early, around 3 in the morning. You can’t fall asleep again.
The stress hormone may remain flat during the day and rise again in early evening.
Stage 3: Burnout
The burnout or stage 3 comes with exhaustion. Even after hours of sleep you may feel tired and worn out. The cortisol level remains flat with a low level of sex drive and thyroid hormone. This stage is dangerous because it may lead to autoimmune diseases.
When to See a Doctor
Adrenal system is important for our bodily functions. But most of us overlook this fact.
Often we take lethargy and fatigue for granted and are not even aware of our weak adrenals.
However, the Endocrine Society doesn’t recognize adrenal fatigue as a real medical condition. The reason is that the symptoms of this condition is general and may be applied to many other diseases. Endocrinologists warn of any systematic treatment such as taking supplements for treating adrenal fatigue. Doing so may further damage the adrenal glands. Doctors recommend of improving your diet to make a few lifestyle changes to support the adrenal system.
It is important to see a doctor and diagnose the symptoms properly. Very often the symptoms of adrenal fatigue mimic that of adrenal insufficiency. The latter is a recognized medical condition that doctor identifies by checking the cortisol hormone in the blood. In case you have an adrenal
insufficiency, your doctor may ask for hormone replacement.
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