When our stress hormones, cortisol and DHEA, get out of whack, Adrenal Fatigue is the result. Symptoms include exhaustion, digestive problems, weight gain, depression, anxiety, and PMS. Here are some simple lifestyle adjustments you can make to promote adrenal repair, allowing the body and brain to heal from the effects of chronic stress. Try them. They just might make you feel WAY better!
1. Belly Breathing. We breathe 22,000 times in a day. If that breath is a shallow, rapid “chest breath," this will send a stress message to the brain, putting the body into a “fight or flight” mode. Breathing deeply and slowly tells the brain the body can relax and repair. Lie on your back with your hands on your lower belly. Slowly fill your lungs deeply from the bottom, so you are expanding your belly on the inhale. Slowly exhale completely and the belly will go down. The chest doesn't move much. Take 15 breaths like this in the morning when you wake up, and at night before you sleep, or if you need a refresher in the afternoon. Practice this daily, and a deeper more relaxed breath throughout the day will become second nature.
2. Go to bed by 10 pm. Sleeping from 10 pm to 6 am is ideal. The quality and depth of our sleep will be better than if we sleep from midnight to 8 am, even though the amount of hours is the same. This is because going to bed by 10 puts us in tune with the cycle of light and dark that the rising and setting of the sun brings. We are mammals and our hormones (cortisol and melatonin) are attuned to this cycle in nature. Sleeping from 10 pm to 6 am balances your circadian rhythm. If insomnia is a problem, your Body Wisdom Health wellness program can help.
3. Start each morning with a large glass of warm filtered water with lemon and high mineral sea salt. This is a soothing, energizing and detoxifying way to start the day. It can really ease the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. Stir an 1/8 teaspoon of high mineral salt such as Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt into your glass. (Skip the salt if you have high blood pressure.) Squeeze plenty of lemon in and enjoy.
4. Eat protein regularly. Balancing blood sugar is the first step to healing adrenal fatigue, and eating adequate protein regularly is the best way to do it. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but should be at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Animal protein is more nutrient dense than beans and grains, which are high glycemic foods that can stress the digestive system. Good protein choices are grass-fed beef and lamb, organic poultry, wild caught cold-water fish, and pastured eggs. If you are vegetarian, emphasize eggs and raw cheese, yogurt or kefir.
5. Exercise but don’t over-exercise. Pushing ourselves too much with exercise is one way to quickly exhaust the adrenals and contribute to weight loss resistance, particularly if you are in Stage 2 or 3 of Adrenal Fatigue. This is especially true of long cardio workouts like jogging and cycling. Slow paced yoga and slow but heavy weight lifting both have an anabolic, or repairing effect on the nervous system which benefits the adrenals. You can tell if you are over-exercising if you feel exhausted after your workout or the next day. Tune into this. Find that fine line where you challenge yourself but don’t push too hard. And remember, it's different for everyone!
6. Eat fermented veggies. Fermented vegetables like raw sauerkraut and Korean kimchi are traditional superfoods. And they're yummy! They are chock full of beneficial bacteria, enzymes and bio-available nutrients. You’ll find them in the cold section of your natural foods store. (Make sure the label says “raw.” Pasteurized or vinegar ferments don’t have all these benefits.) Fermented vegetables are a great way to restore digestive health. A healthy gastrointestinal tract acts as a foundation for adrenal health and overall wellness.
7. Eat at regular intervals. Your adrenals control your circadian rhythm and thrive on a balanced predictable routine. Try to eat each meal at roughly the same time each day. Eat a protein rich breakfast, lunch and dinner, and don’t skip meals. Eat breakfast within 1 hour of waking. Don’t go more than 4 hours without eating and eat dinner 1 ½ to 2 hours before bed. Its best not to eat after dinner which can throw off metabolism, leading to weight gain and disturbed sleep.
8. Receive Somatic Experiencing Therapy. Somatic Experiencing, or SE, is a type of therapy that works with the body and nervous system. Trauma and difficult emotions can get “stuck” in the nervous system when we aren’t given a chance to fully process them. This nervous system imbalance can keep us in a “fight or flight” mode and cause adrenal fatigue. SE therapy allows for the reprocessing and discharging of that trauma, bringing healing, a sense of calm, and renewed energy. SE really gets to the heart of what causes Adrenal Fatigue.
9. Take magnesium. Most Americans are magnesium deficient. This is because we use up magnesium very rapidly when under stress, and we are a very stressed culture. Also, the soil that our food is grown in is more mineral deficient than in previous times, so less magnesium makes its way into our food. Try taking “Natural Calm” magnesium beverage (available at natural food stores) one hour before bed to relieve stress and help with sleep.
Need Some Help Healing From Adrenal Fatigue?
I'm here for you! Kick start the adrenal repair process with your Body Wisdom wellness program. The process starts with an adrenal lab test, a simple, take-home saliva test-kit. From there, we can tell exactly how your stress hormones are working. We can fix imbalances in them, through primal nutrition, pure and natural supplements and mindfulness practices. Your Body Wisdom wellness program is a powerful way to take your health into your own hands and discover what it's like to feel AMAZING!
Schedule a consultation! These can be done in my office in central Tucson, AZ, or by phone or Skype, nationally and internationally. Feel better, from the ground up, with Body Wisdom Health.