You are a working mother of two. You wake up every day at 5 in the morning to fix your children their breakfast and food for school. Once you are done, you take a shower, get ready for work and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. “What happened to me?” you ask. You just feel so stressed and burned out!
There are times when you cannot help but feel tired and sluggish despite sleeping like a log the night before. You might question why this happens and how are you going to fix it. You, like 80% of Americans, might be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Gone are the days when you only have to concentrate on one task at a time. The relaxed lifestyle that eras before us enjoyed is no longer applicable to today’s generation. We now live in a time where people multitask. However, multitasking usually involves a lot of stress, whether we know it or not.
Adrenal fatigue is one of the most understated and undiagnosed conditions today. Despite being particularly common, many people are not aware they have it. Adrenal fatigue is the condition where your adrenal glands are disrupted. Your adrenal glands are responsible for releasing cortisol. This hormone should have balanced levels in the body in order to prevent these effects:
High cortisol levels. Cushing syndrome is one of the side effects of having high cortisol levels. Those who have high levels of cortisol may experience:
- Changes in libido and menstrual cycles for women
- High blood pressure
- Rapid weight gain in the abdomen, chest and face
Low cortisol levels. Low cortisol levels cause adrenal insufficiency, which may lead to the damage of the adrenal glands. Some symptoms of low cortisol levels are:
- Mood swings
- Muscle loss
- Skin changes
- Weight loss
When you have adrenal fatigue, your cortisol levels may be higher or lower than the balanced levels.
What are the Stages of Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue has three stages. Every stage is linked to a different type of imbalance in cortisol levels.
- Stage 1: During this stage, you are wired and tired. You are more awake at night and a little tired in the morning. This is often due to high cortisol levels. You are energized in a different way.
Symptoms: You may experience insomnia and weight gain.
- Stage 2: This stage makes you feel stressed and tired. You tend to wake up in the wee hours of the morning, usually from 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock in the morning, and fail to go back to sleep. Your cortisol levels peak early and flatten out during the middle of the day.
Symptoms: You may lack enthusiasm during the day or experience a lower sex drive.
- Stage 3: This is the burnout stage. This is when your adrenal glands are already exhausted and are unable to adapt to your body’s stress levels. It is a dangerous stage to be in, as it can lead to other serious physical as well as mental health issues.
Symptoms: You may notice accelerated signs of aging, fatigue and depleted energy levels throughout the day.
Every person is at risk from developing stage one adrenal fatigue to stage three.
How Do I Overcome Adrenal Fatigue?
Overcoming adrenal fatigue the natural way is possible. You do not have to take any kind of medication to treat it as long as you stick to a daily routine. Here are the key techniques to naturally overcome adrenal fatigue:
- Change your diet. Food can also be a reason why you experience adrenal fatigue. Change the type of food you eat and stick to eating healthy meals. Avoid allergens that cause inflammation. Eat more lean and clean protein, bright-colored vegetables and gluten-free whole grain carbohydrates. Keep in mind that a no-carb diet increases the body’s stress levels.
- Sleep early. Train yourself to go to bed before eleven in the evening. People often experience a surge of cortisol after this hour, leading to insomnia or a disruption in their sleeping patterns.
- Hydrate. Adrenal fatigue may lead to dehydration. Therefore, never forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Exercise. You need exercise that helps you relax instead of a workout that could burn you out even more. Do yoga at least twice a week. A 20-minute break every day can also help. However, avoid napping. You must use this time to catch your breath and restore your energy.
- Take supplements. B vitamins, Omega-3 and Vitamin C are helpful in supplementing the body to battle adrenal fatigue:
- B Vitamins – Vitamins B5 and B6 are food sources for adrenals. B12 aids in producing energy.
- Omega-3 and Vitamin C – These supplements aid in the lowering of inflammation levels. They also help the adrenal glands recover.
Changing Your Perspective
Are your drives for corporate success and keeping a happy family life stressing you out? It is best to review your life and change the way you see things. You do not have to stress yourself out in order to become successful. Sometimes, success comes in the simplest things. Your health is important, which is why you should keep the pressure and stress life brings you to a minimum.
If you think you’ve done all of the techniques in this article and nothing still worked, you may check out Psychologists Southern Sydney.
Janice has a wealth of experience and training. She holds a Diploma of Education, Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Master of Arts (Counselling), Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy (ASH) and is a Registered Psychologist at Psychologists Southern Sydney. She’s also a member of the Australian Psychological Society.