If you suspect that you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, the first thing to do is to get some testing done. Once you have the results, you can begin to address the imbalances and start the healing journey.
There are a number of areas that need to be addressed in order to give your body the best possible chance to recover. Lifestyle, stress, nutrition, and thought patterns that don't serve you well are areas that all need to be addressed.
One of the areas that needs to be attended to immediately, is the area of your energy. Depending on where you are on the adrenal fatigue continuum will depend on how drastic the change needs to be. If you are in Stage 3 and unable to get out of bed, you will need to make arrangements to allow yourself the time and space to recover your energy levels through lots of rest, and relaxation techniques. If you are not too far along the continuum, you may simply need to go to bed earlier and grab some extra rest on the weekend when you aren't at work. Your energy is like a bank account...you make deposits and you make withdrawals. If the withdrawals are more than the deposits, you will end up in the red!
The next, equally important area is stress. Identifying the things that cause you stress is critical so that you can take action to manage and minimize your stress levels. Stress is more often than not, the thing that has brought you into adrenal fatigue in the first place, so this is a critical area to be sorted out. Where possible, the stressors need to be removed, but where this isn't possible, stress management techniques can be put into place to help minimise the effects.
When your body is struggling through adrenal fatigue, correct nutrition is incredibly important. Stress, from whatever source, creates a need for a constant supply of certain nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin C. Addressing poor dietary choices is another step that needs to be taken to help your body recover. Protein, vegetables, low G.I. fruit, healthy fats, and whole grains need to make up the majority of your daily diet. Staying away from junk food, sugar, stimulants such as caffeine, and processed or take away foods, is necessary to help with blood sugar stabilisation, as well as giving your body a break from taking in nutrient-poor 'foodless' foods. These types of 'foods' rob your body of enzymes and nutrients and add empty calories that can affect your weight and your mood.
If you are under the care of an experienced practitioner (which is highly recommended), you may be prescribed certain nutritional supplements to help address any insufficiencies or deficiencies that you may have.
There are certain herbs that can be of assistance in adrenal fatigue to help address things such as sleep and cortisol levels. Adaptogenic herbs such as rhodiola help the body adapt to changing levels of stress, so a herbalist or naturopath may give you a blend of herbs to take that are specific to your needs. Drinking herbal teas that help to calm your nervous system can be beneficial, especially if you are having difficulties with sleep. Herbs such as chamomile, tulsi, lemon balm or lavender are particularly useful.
So, to recap, there are things that you can do to help yourself recover from adrenal fatigue, even while you are waiting to have your testing done.
- Find time to rest more often
- Go to bed early
- Identify your stressors and remove them if possible
- Clean up your diet and eat more nutrient dense foods
These four things can go a long way to helping your journey to recovery.