Are you always tired? Even if you get more rest than usually do (which these days is four hours instead of two), you find that you still need someone to pry your body off of the mattress with a spatula. Your mind keeps racing, dwelling in the stress of the day ahead. You find yourself turning to one extra cup of coffee to get you through the last few hours so that you can go home and cook dinner. You’re irritable. You keep getting sick more often than usual, sometimes even lightheaded.
DID I JUST DESCRIBE ANY GIVEN WEEKDAY IN YOUR LIFE?
The burnout is real, and you may be suffering from it. Adrenal burnout is when your body produces too much Cortisol and adrenaline. These two hormones are produced by our adrenal glands. Cortisol regulates your immune system, sexual organs and desires, your blood sugar, as well as how you respond to stress.
You may have heard of the other hormone, adrenaline before. It’s that blood that gets pumping when you are faced with various situations. It’s what makes you decide to pull someone out of a burning car, or to hit the pavement when someone chases you. Adrenaline is what makes our bodies go into a “flight or fight response.” And some days, we are just so tired of fighting.
Our body produces both Cortisol and adrenaline more frequently when it faced with constant stress. If you are constantly multi-tasking, balancing plates on paper thin wands, chances are you feel overwhelmed. This leads to you skipping meals, restricting calorie intake, and other unhealthy eating habits like binging on fatty foods. Your first instinct to remedy the fatigue overcoming your body is to add more sugar and coffee. This gives you jitters that causes crashes and will keep you awake at night.
It becomes a sick cycle that you can’t break. However, there are some ways to combat these problems before they worsen. Eventually, these tips can lead you down a path to fixing your adrenal burnout. Like our hair needs to be shampooed, our bodies need exercise, and our bellies need food, our adrenal glands need a little TLC as well. Here are some ways you can give your adrenal glands a “spring” tune up this season.
LIMIT YOUR COFFEE INTAKE
I know. It’s as natural as breathing. The only way we know how to combat being a zombie is through an IV drip of Starbucks with an extra shot of espresso. However, adding more caffeine to your diet just exasperates all the symptoms of low blood sugar.The dizziness? Irritability? Shakiness? Might as well add gasoline to a burning house in hopes to put out the flames.
Instead of reaching for a cup of joe, try giving yourself a good stretch. Step away from your blue computer screen and sit upright. Observe your breaths. Go deeper and deeper with each inhale and exhale as you lift your shoulders up to your ears with each breath in, and lower them, gliding your shoulder blades down your spine on each breath out. You will find yourself a lot less stressed and re-energized in just five minutes.
If you thought coffee was doing a number on your psyche, take a second to consider how many refined sugars you are putting into your body. When your adrenal glands are always battling fatigue, it does two things. One of two things is that it emits adrenaline that creates glucose to release into the bloodstream. That way your body can gobble up the glucose and make energy out of it to combat whatever issues you have going on.
Adrenal fatigue also causes the Cortisol levels in your body to drop. These reactions usually result in low blood pressure.
As you introduce excess refined sugars into your diet, your blood sugar will spike. This will cause insulin to come and clean up the excess glucose in the bloodstream. As these chains of reactions continue, blood sugar will plummet following an initial insulin spike. Now, the adrenals need to bring the blood sugar back up, causing a sick cycle. How sick is it? Glad you asked. It’s killing your adrenal glands. Low blood sugar leads to insulin resistance, which in turn increases your Cortisol levels. If your body is fighting off the help of insulin, its cells are also resisting energy created by the glucose.
GET BLOOD WORK & TAKE SUPPLEMENTS
There are a number of vitamin deficiencies that can lead to adrenal burnout. Try going to a functional physician and getting a physical. That way they can pinpoint which vitamins and minerals your body is lacking. A good place to start is with your B-complex vitamins, as well as the usual suspects in Vitamins A, C, D and E. Magnesium, selenium, and zinc are also important for proper functioning of both the adrenal and thyroid glands. Do not be afraid for them to check your DHEA, Pregnelnolone, Cortisol, Iron, Testosterone, and Homosystine.
CUT DOWN EXERCISE
What? I know. It sounds crazy, but stop pushing yourself so hard! You are just adding more stress into your life.
However, that does not mean to become that body in bed in need of a good spatula scraping. Take on yoga. It’s a great way to clear the mind and become more in tune with what your body needs. If that seems intimidating, even something as simple as going for a walk around the neighborhood, or a light bike ride would be a good replacement for running 10 miles on the treadmill. Keep your body active, but don’t stress it out.
CHANGE UP YOUR PLATE
If your adrenal glands are out of whack, eat more vegetables, foods rich with omegas, and good carbs. For breakfast, get rid of the sugary cereal and make yourself some omega rich eggs, or avocado toast. Introduce chia seeds to your protein shake. You want these healthy fats to kick-start your day.
For snacks, bring carrot sticks and hummus, celery and peanut butter, raw almonds and raisins, or Vitamin C rich fruits like oranges and kiwis. Lunchtime should consist of a superfood salad with some grilled chicken, a Caprese sandwich, or three bean salad. Dinner? More healthy fats and protein-rich carbs like smoked salmon and a mix of quinoa, buckwheat, or lentils.
It may seem like the burnout has a hold of you, but you need to get a hold of the burnout. Getting back into a healthy routine is the best way to give your adrenals a nice spring tune up this season. Cut the excess sugars and caffeine out of your life. Have more balanced meals and be sure to be supplement properly. Finally, stop pushing yourself too hard in the gym. You are pushing yourself hard enough in every other aspect of your life. You should be taking pleasure in working out, not adding more stress.
Following these tips should start to get your adrenal gland out of the funk it’s in, and have you taking on the day with a smile in no time!