You’ve heard of it, but what is it?
Adrenal fatigue is a gray area in allopathic (Western) medicine. It has not been officially designated as an illness, so there are doctors and medical professionals that will tell you it doesn’t exist, and those who are certain it does. (I’d like to note that we don’t know everything about the body/disease/medicine –not even close, and even commonly diagnosed illnesses such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome were once explained away by the “experts” as not real illnesses.)
Here’s the scoop: Adrenal fatigue is when your adrenal glands, which are the two hormone producing endocrine glands that sit atop the kidneys, are not functioning properly. This is usually due to excessive mental or physical stress/caffeine intake/or other health issue. When our bodies are constantly stressed or we drink too much caffeine (which causes the release of hormones, such as adrenaline, that gets us going and taxes our adrenals), our adrenal glands may not function to produce hormones at the proper levels, until they get a chance to recover.
This can lead to symptoms such as:
- Fatigue or excessive tiredness
- Having a hard time getting out of bed even if you slept all night
- Feeling sad, overwhelmed, or defeated by things you once accomplished easily
- Poor sleep, restlessness
- Anxiety, nervous tension
- Food cravings, especially for salty or sugary foods
- Extreme mood swings
- Belly fat
- Acid reflux
- Brain fog
- Chronic pain/aches/inflammation
It’s a pretty common set of complaints. I’d wager to bet that every one of us, at some time, has experienced adrenal fatigue. Our modern lives are SO stressful. We don’t make time to truly relax and recover. All of this stress is truly one of the biggest reasons that we are a nation of over-eaters and so many are, or will suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune diseases.
All of this daily stress is like a pressure cooker of illness.
What I know for sure is that you can’t pour much from an empty cup.
Every single facet of our daily life, from our relationships, to our digestion, and our ability to think clearly are directly related to the balance of our hormones. It’s time we redirect a little of our attention towards re-balancing and giving our bodies the break they need.
The good news is that our miraculous bodies are designed to handle stress and then to recover and re-balance our hormones. Then, when our bodies are back in balance, we feel good, sleep soundly, wake with energy, and find it easy to eat healthy and live happier.
4 Easy, Natural Ways to Combat Adrenal Fatigue
First, Cut Out Caffeine
I know, I know. I love coffee too. In fact, this one is my achilles heel. Some things you might try are: switching to herbal tea, or how about a coffee substitute that is high in potassium, calcium, fiber, iron, vitamins, and amino acids? It’s made from the maya nut and is a superfood!
- Nutmeg essential oil supports adrenal function by increasing energy and relieving nervous fatigue. In your hand, place two drops of carrier oil (olive, coconut, sunflower, etc) and one drop of Nutmeg essential oil. Rub this into the instep/arch of your feet.
- Frankincense or Sacred Frankincense help to support healthy adrenal function. I like to use either in my night time facial moisturizer as they’re also wonderful for healthy skin. They combine well with lavender and can be diffused to help you drift off and sleep more soundly. Add three drops each of Lavender and either Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) or Sacred Frankincense (Boswellia sacra) to distilled water in your diffuser and put it next to your bed.
- Endoflex is a blend of essential oils that helps with metabolism, vitality, and hormonal balance. You can take it as a dietary supplement (up to 3 times daily) or mix it with equal parts of a carrier oil and apply it to your feet, your lower back, and belly area. It contains sesame seed oil (rich in vitamin e), Spearmint, Sage, Geranium, Myrtle, German Chamomile, and Nutmeg essential oils. I love that Young Living creates these amazing blends so that I don’t have to.
- If you’re just getting started with essential oils, or if you’re ready to try the best oils ever, I recommend purchasing the Premium Starter Kit, from Young Living. It’s exactly what I bought and it is worth every penny and more! (Those oils from the store shelves do not even compare to what Young Living offers. I know, because I used to use them. Never again. You’ll feel the same once you switch.) If you’d like to have me as your sponsor, sign up here. 1. Choose “Wholesale Member” so you can buy whatever you want for 24% off retail. 2. Select “Premium Starter Kit” and choose your diffuser. I love the Dewdrop, and the Rainstone is a popular choice too. 3. You can choose to sign up for Essential Rewards if you plan to try more oils and you’ll get discounted shipping and money back to spend on products. I’ll contact you and send you a really nice welcome gift and a book full of useful info to get you started.
Third, Try an Adaptogenic Herbal Supplement
Adaptogenic herbs have been used throughout history in traditional medicine and continue to be used to great success by alternative medicine practitioners (and even at the Cleveland Clinic in their Integrative Wellness Center). Personally, I take ashwagandha root every single day. I don’t like to swallow capsules, so I just sprinkle it into a smoothie, soy milk, or my daily shot of NinXia Red.
Ashwagandha is an herb that helps to alleviate anxiety, promotes stamina and energy, and is beneficial for connective tissue. I’ve been taking it for well over two years now and I’ve seen noticeable benefits from that first week. In fact, I don’t think I’d be a working massage therapist without it, that’s how much better I feel.
If you’re thinking of trying out herbal supplements, the best course of action is to find a practitioner who can prescribe and monitor you. Some herbs have side effects, some interact with medications, and some should not be taken for certain lengths of time, or if you are pregnant, nursing, or suffering from certain conditions, etc. Always do your research and seek the advice of a trained medical practitioner. I am not a doctor!
Some Common Adaptogenic Herbs
- Potent energy increaser
- Holy Basil
- Known in India as the “elixir of anti-aging”
- Eases anxiety, supports nervous system, stamina, and connective tissue
- Astragalus Root
- Boosts immunity and buffers effects of stress
There are many other herbs that can help to combat adrenal fatigue as well as other health issues. Seek the advice of a naturopathic doctor who can help you determine what would benefit your body most.
Fourth, get a massage every month
Okay, so I sometimes forget to put my health and wellbeing first and I sometimes forget to schedule that massage…but don’t be like me. Make time for yourself. Find a way. You will not believe how dramatically something as small as getting a massage can change your life for the better. This is something I know for sure. If, right now, all of the reasons why you can’t get a massage are popping up, let me put those thoughts to rest:
If you’re thinking
- I don’t have the money.
- Think about how much more you’ll spend on medications, vacations, cocktails, fattening food, and at the psychiatrist when you don’t spend a little now on reconnecting with your spirit, letting go of the stress, and giving your body and mind a chance to heal, regenerate, and completely relax.
- Find a massage therapist/practitioner who will trade with you. Maybe you have a skill like accounting, social media marketing, or you could clean her massage studio? Perhaps she’d love to have a babysitter one or two afternoons a month in trade for a massage? Maybe she has a dog that could use a walk on Saturdays when she’s usually booked solid? I often trade straight up for other services and there are many times I wish that I could give someone a massage to get my house cleaned! (Message me if you’re interested.)
- What if you cut out that daily $4 cup of fancy-overpriced-caffeine and instead got a monthly massage? I mean, that drink habit is costing you $120 a month! There’s your money for a massage and more.
- I don’t have the time.
- You need to find one hour in your month for yourself, especially if you are so busy that you really think you don’t have one hour per month to decompress. Many massage pros, including me, will come right to your home and set up their table. You don’t even need to waste time driving. It’s an amazing feeling to slip out of your own robe, onto a massage table, and roll off an hour later to laze around for a bit. I love it when I find someone to come right to my door! It’s worth a few extra bucks.
- I feel guilty spending the money/time on myself.
- You already know that you do so much for so many. You deserve to have someone take care of you for one hour. You REALLY do. Stop feeling guilty about taking care of your health and wellness. If you don’t have your health, what do you have? You have to take care of you too.
- I don’t like to undress and get naked around strangers.
- A professional will never ask you to be uncovered at any time. Your massage person should leave the room while you undress and get on the table, under the sheet and blanket. When she works on you, your private parts are always covered up. When your massage ends, she leaves the room so you can dress. You’ll never be sharing all of your naked glory. Also, you can keep on whatever clothing makes you feel more comfortable. You could even get a chair massage or a Thai yoga massage, which both require you to stay dressed.
- I don’t want some stranger to touch me.
- Okay, this is a legitimate objection for some. I do understand this. I would recommend that you seek out a recommendation from a trusted friend, explain your concerns to this massage professional, and then find a solution that makes you feel comfortable. For instance, I have worked with clients who started off with a short chair massage, then moved onto a half an hour upper body massage or maybe a foot massage, and then, as we grew to know one another, moved onto a full body massage. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In fact, I personally seek out therapists that make me feel comfortable and if someone doesn’t, I have no problem telling them that and leaving. If they are professionals, they’ll understand.
- When you make your appointment, you can request a male or female. Many people do. We expect that and will let you know if we can’t accommodate your request.
Recovering from adrenal exhaustion or fatigue may take some time. I want to urge you not to lose faith that you’ll be feeling better soon. Take good loving care of yourself, the way you do others, and miracles will happen.