If you’ve been through a difficult time — I mean a really rough time like a divorce, a family death, loss of a job, prolonged illness, serious illness in a family member — you know that it’s not just emotionally difficult. It’s actually physically exhausting. Why is that?
Your body is brilliantly designed to deal with sudden emergencies. When you detect a threat to your safety, your adrenal glands secrete hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that make your body instantly ready to fight the threat or flee from it. You burn off the energy, escape the threat, and go back to feeling fine.
This is beyond what your body is designed to handle. Going through an extremely stressful time (or living a too-stressful life) takes a toll on your body and your adrenal system. When your body is flooded with cortisol and adrenaline too often, you might experience:
• Daily fatigue that doesn’t get better with more sleep
• Frequent illnesses
• Muscle weakness
• Mood swings and/or depression
• Dry or broken-out skin
• Hair loss
• Weight gain
• Trouble sleeping
• Aches and pains from inflammation
• Lower sex drive
• Skin discoloration
What to do
If you think you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, you have some options:
See your medical doctor
The symptoms listed above also occur with other health problems like anemia, arthritis, diabetes, and heart failure, so first you should rule those out. Keep in mind that in traditional western medicine, adrenal fatigue is not recognized as an actual condition. So you may not get support from your doctor in treating it unless it is severe.
See a naturopathic doctor
Once you know that you have ruled out serious health conditions, visit your naturopathic doctor to discuss your symptoms. He or she can give you a saliva test to determine your adrenal function and discuss treatment options. However, I recommend avoiding fancy herbs and supplements to treat your fatigue and opt to treat it yourself naturally.
Treat it yourself
I have seen people get incredible results in treating their own fatigue. But there’s no easy fix. You need to give your body some serious TLC.
Here’s what I recommend:
Increase your fresh, raw, “live” foods: “Live” foods are foods that still have some life left in them, like raw vegetables, raw fruits, and raw nuts and seeds. Your body gets much-needed vitamins, natural enzymes, and life force from these foods.
Decrease your wheat: Modern, highly processed wheat is hard for your body to process. Cut it out and see how great you feel! If you must have bread, opt for sprouted-grain varieties.
Increase your hydration: Like, a lot. Carry a water bottle with you all the time. Fill a giant glass or jar with water, ice, and sliced lemons and cucumbers. Whatever helps you to drink water all day long. Seriously, it will make you feel so much better and will help your body flush all those stress toxins out. Juicing is also an incredible way to get fluid, nutrients, micronutrients, and vitamins quickly into your system. It makes you feel so energized.
Increase your fat: No, really — your body needs fat to create hormones. So more good fats in your diet (and fewer bad ones) will help balance your hormones. Good fats are:
- olive oil
- salmon oil
- flaxseed oil
Add the oil to salad dressing, a smoothie, lightly steamed vegetables, or just take a spoonful.
Move your body: I know, you’re tired, I get it. I get there myself. But all you need to do is start. Walk around the block. Walk around the mall. Bounce on a yoga ball. Try an easy yoga class (oh, you would love it).
Start with just one of these changes and see the difference. Then add another. And another. If you need help, you can join my detox program The Naked Challenge or sign up for private coaching with me (write firstname.lastname@example.org).
In health & love,