Recently, I had gone through a rough patch emotionally and physically. Like, ya’ll we have a lot of catching up to do. But I’ll save it for another day and time, I am still learning how I can share it in away that can benefit another person or help others. I am also still very much learning and growing from all of it. I truly believe, that if you want healthy changes in your life, it begins with YOU. Or in this case, myself. And that any obstacle is meant to make you freaking fierce, stronger, and more beautiful.
I digress… anyway due to all the emotional stress, I physically started to feel off. I could barely move I was so tired. No joke, one day I did half my hair then fell back into bed to take a nap. When I “powered through” on those days I needed to show up and be in attendance, I felt this low grade nausea. On top of that, I started breaking out as if I had hit puberty again. You can imagine how much fun this was.
I had experienced these symptoms for over a month and a half before I finally asked a friend who had gone through a similar situation I had this past Summer, if this was normal. She said, “Sounds like you have adrenal fatigue, a very common side effect from trauma and stress.” I Google searched what the heck adrenal fatigue is, and turns out… I had nearly every symptom.
In this article, I am sharing what I personally learned about the disorder and what has helped me restore my health. DISCLAIMER: I am obviously not a medical doctor nor specialist in this field. It’s always best to consult with your medical practitioner before taking any supplements or changing your diet. I DO want to shed light on this disorder and what has been beneficial in my recover for those who may be struggling as well.
What Are Your Adrenal Glands?
Ad means above, renal means kidney. By the name alone, it explains that they are two glands that sit right above your kidneys. The reason adrenal glands are important is because they are the glands that produce, regulate and secrete adrenaline, cortisol, and aldosterone. These hormones and steroid hormones all deal with controlling blood sugar, burn protein & fat, and reacts to stress. Trauma, high work expectations, family issues, and illnesses are all cases in which the glands may be over worked.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is believed to be what occurs after long duration of trauma and stress. It is when the glands have been overworked and therefore incapable of producing the right amount of hormones, specifically cortisol but other hormones as well. It is actually not recognized by medical science making it harder to diagnose. However, alternative medicines have been discussing the symptoms for years and found the following to be common:
- Feeling tired; struggling to wake up in the morning
- Trouble falling asleep
- A mid-afternoon slump
- Anxiety, or feeling on edge
- Mood swings
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Autoimmune issues
- Brain fog
- Body aches
- Hair loss
- Light headedness
- Craving sugar and salts
My personal Experience
After being in a situation that elicit a fight or fight mode for months if not years (honestly more like years), my adrenal glands were completely affected. This is the first time in a very long time I can actually rest, and I think my body started to let down.
I experienced light headed-ness each time I stood up. I lost a ton of hair each day, I was severely moody, and just didn’t feel like myself. Acne was a problem that I never had in the past, but reared it’s ugly head on my skin. I gain a bit of weight, but I know I would have gain more if I didn’t eat a very clean diet.
The biggest disturber was I had the hardest time concentration on work. I could barely move I was so tired, and relied heavily on caffeine to get me through the day. At night, I would get a wave of energy that prevented me from falling asleep until 1 or 2 am. I would then toss and turn most nights leading to not getting adequate sleep.
Overall, after a month and a half of this, I was so tired of not feeling like my normal self. I did research and found solutions on how to heal and kick start the adrenal glands.
What I Found For Solutions
There are a number of solutions all over the web, the ones that kept reoccurring were finding proper supplements and vitamins that aid the adrenal glands. Beyond that, it was more lifestyle adjustments, such as a clean diet, more sleep, exercise or being outdoors, regulate work life balance, and practice yoga as well as mediation. All common sense.
What Worked For Me
Each person and each body is different, so keep trying until you find what is the best solution for you. The first thing I added was Gaia Adrenal Healthy Support supplements. Three different pharmacies recommended the natural supplements saying it is their best seller as well as personal favorite. You can buy it here on Amazon or at Whole Foods.
I immediately felt a difference in my mood and body when I started taking these natural supplements. The main ingredients are Holy Basil (helps the body respond to stress), Rhodiola (aids the adrenal glands by supporting cortisol levels and other stress-related hormones), Oats (contains magnesium, B-complex vitamins, and potassium which helps you relax and sleep better), Ashwagandha (rejuvenates and tonifies the entire system, especially the endocrine and immune systems), and Schisandra berries (powerful antioxidant protection, particularly from free radicals and other toxins in the environment that may cause cellular damage).
I took two supplements every night after dinner. I also began taking vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, Bootstrap Molasses (for hair loss and proper iron intake), and magnesium. I am vegetarian so I don’t get enough iron or B vitamins as someone who may eat meat. I also began having Gaia Golden Milk at night, which is a combination of turmeric and other herbs that help with inflammation while relaxes the body.
I know this seems like a lot and we aren’t even done yet, but I really believe giving the body the proper nutrition it needs to restore itself, is key!
Daily Activities I Implemented
The last few changes I made were diet and lifestyle amendments. I ramped up the self care like crazy. Whenever I began to feel stressed or emotionally triggered, I stopped what I was doing, felt whatever was coming up, and then did something really nice for myself. For instance, I went on a ton of walks, listened to music, had mini dance parties, took a bath, read a book, watched something funny on YouTube, or said affirmations out loud. This was key for releasing the stress and taking care of my mental health.
I was also very mindful of what I put into my body. Cortisol regulates your blood sugars and ability to burn fat and proteins, aka it is really easy to gain weight when you’re not producing enough cortisol. I made sure I ate primarily fruits and vegetables that contain essential vitamins that will help my body. I ate healthy fats like nuts and oils. I stayed away from processed sugars and breads. I drank as much water and herbal tea as I could. Food is medicine, and when we feed it the right foods, it’s amazing what our bodies can do.
Exercise has always been a healing component for me. Being outdoors, walking, listening to music is a huge stress reducer. I made sure I was outdoors and moving my body each day to aid my adrenal glands. Deep breathing is also known to help your adrenal glands while releasing stress, so don’t be afraid to add a few deep breathes into the mix.
I made work fun. I did what I could and made sure I was enjoying it along the way. I took the pressure off in performing perfectly and did the best I could. Honestly, the moment I started taking the Gaia supplements my concentration was nearly 100% back, but I still made sure I had breaks between assignments and enjoyed the process while working.
Lastly, I also made sure who I interacted with only brought support and positivity to my well-being. Some people had to take a back seat as they brought too much drama and stress to the table. It’s okay to say NO to other people’s problems, especially when you are working to take care of yourself.
Listen, I know this seems overwhelming especially if you aren’t feeling like yourself. Just take it one piece at a time and listen to your body. You’ll intuitively know what will work for you, just like I knew intuitively what was going to work for me.
Remember too, that there will be good days and tough days. The tough days when you are feeling a bit sluggish or gave into the craving of sugar or salts, just know the progress you’re making is producing a difference and don’t beat up on yourself.
Also, give yourself permission to rest! If you need to shut down and take a moment to meditate, reflect, go do it! This is your life and your body, make sure it is the number one priority. I hope this helps. If you experience anything like this, let me know in the comments what worked for you. It will help other readers with their journey as well!