Stress is a leading contributor to adrenal fatigue. Find out how it impacts your body and what you can do about it. Feeling great again could be closer than you think!
As an ambitious woman, you are working towards your next goal. You are trying to juggle many areas in your life and find yourself constantly on the go. This fast-paced lifestyle leaves you feeling stressed, tired and irritable. Sound familiar?
Stress from a range of sources such as work, relationships, study, injury, and illness can lead to an imbalance of your main stress hormone, cortisol. This imbalance can lead to hypoadrenia, which is more commonly known as adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue negatively affects the body’s ability to recuperate and heal.
So, what exactly are the adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys. They are the size of a walnut and weigh less than a grape. They play a major role in your overall health as they produce many hormones which are responsible for different functions in the body. These functions include:
- energy production
- blood sugar regulation
- regulates blood pressure
- gastrointestinal function
- reduce inflammation
- body weight control
One of those hormones your adrenal glands produce is cortisol.
Your levels of cortisol naturally rise and fall throughout the day. It is the highest in the morning helping to wake you up and naturally declines during the day allowing you to fall asleep at night. Stress isn’t the only reason cortisol can become altered during the day, there are other potential contributors. These include, shift work, pain, food sensitivities, daytime sleeping, lots of caffeine and poor eating habits.
What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
- moodiness or irritability
- skin ailments
- fluctuations in body weight
- fluid retention
- blood sugar issues
- light headiness and dizzy spells
- hormonal imbalances
- frequent colds and allergies
- decreased memory and brain fog
- decreased sex drive or libido
- sleep disturbances (unable to fall asleep for a long time, insomnia, frequent waking during the night and waking up tired)
- cravings for foods which are sweet, salty or high carbohydrate
- digestive complaints
- hair loss
You could be experiencing one or many of these symptoms and they can occur together or at different stages. Consider getting your cortisol levels checked throughout the day to see where the imbalance is occurring. This can be done via an integrative GP or natural health practitioner.
How do I support my adrenal fatigue?
- Manage stress whether it’s physical, mental or emotional. Learning how to manage your stress can take time; listen to your body, slow down and be kind to yourself
- Prioritise sleep. Aim to go to sleep at the same time every night (before 10pm) and wake up at the same time every morning
- Eat a fresh whole food diet which includes lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and an adequate amount of water (at least 1.5L a day). Eliminate processed foods, alcohol, caffeine and known food allergens
- Eat regular meals. As we get busier we sometimes forget to prioritise eating and it can leave us feeling sluggish and irritated. Enjoy regular meals away from your desk to help stabilise blood sugar levels and avoid overeating
- If you are a smoker, make a plan to cease
- Exercise. Regular exercise can help relieve tension, relax the mind, help with weight management and improve your mood
- Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing
- Make time for hobbies. Whether it’s reading a book, gardening, knitting, puzzles or watching a movie it’s important to take time out every week to rejuvenate
There are many things that can put you at risk of adrenal fatigue. It is important to recognise them and re-examine your lifestyle because the path to feeling better may be closer than you think.
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* Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post are for informational purposes only and it does not replace medical advice, opinion, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided through this blog post should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have or suspect you may have a medical or psychological problem, you should consult your appropriate health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog post.