If you have ever felt burned out, exhausted or severely stressed then you are not alone. An estimated 80% of people will experience a condition called adrenal fatigue at some point during their busy lives. During a stressful period, the body pumps out adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones to deal with the crisis at hand.
Unfortunately, this demand is unsustainable and eventually the function of the adrenal glands declines. You may find it difficult to get out of bed, experience a weakened immune system, feel completely unable to handle stress and even have cravings for salty foods.
So, how can you prevent adrenal fatigue from occurring, or recover if it has already taken hold? By building positive habits into your daily life, you will be able to achieve a mental and physical balance that will enable you to handle modern day stressors. The aim is for these habits to become ritualsthat you will carry out automatically over time. Here are some tips.
Create A Sleep Routine
Insomnia is a common symptom of adrenal fatigue. In fact, many people who are burned out, experience a burst of energy after 11pm at night, which makes it impossible for them to unwind and get a decent night’s sleep. It is essential that you fall asleep before 10pm to let your adrenal glands heal and rebuild. Try and follow the same nightly routine so that your body knows it is preparing for sleep. Avoid watching TV, using a computer, or checking your phone in the lead-up to bedtime. The blue light that is emitted from such devices affects our natural circadian rhythms. Instead, try a relaxing bath or perhaps listen to soft music.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
When we’re anxious and overworked, our muscles end up absorbing much of this stress. It is important to find time each day to relax your body. Perform a progressive muscle relaxation ritual of 15 minutes each morning to set you up for the day ahead. Begin by wrinkling your forehead, arching your eyebrows – hold, then relax. Next, squeeze your eyes tightly shut, then hold and relax. Continue this pattern, tensing and letting go of your nose, lips and jaw, before moving down to your neck and shoulders. Gradually work your way down the entire body. By completing this every day, you should start to notice an improvement in your stress levels within a couple of weeks. You might also get into the habit of repeating daily affirmations which will increase your self-esteem and lower stress output.
When we consume sugar in excess, it robs our body of essential nutrients that it requires to function at an optimum level. However, the more stressed we feel, the more we crave sugary foods. To break the cycle, every time you feel the urge for a sugar kick, opt to eat some low GI fruits such as cherries, plums and apples. If you make healthier choices every day, then your cravings for refined sugars will soon subside and your adrenal function and general wellbeing will improve in time.
Recovering from adrenal fatigue can be a long process, taking more than a year in advanced cases. By forming positive healthy habits, you will be able to restore balance to the mind and body.