Avoiding Adrenal Fatigue: 10 Steps to Stress-Less
Guys, this week has been an absolute whirlwind! I cannot believe that it is Friday! Both my husband and I were just talking about how we thought Wednesday was Monday, and I thought yesterday was Tuesday, all day. I don’t want to go into too much detail yet but we have had a lot of stuff going on in our lives this week. Good stuff, big stuff, exciting stuff!
We went for a run yesterday and my legs felt like iron, like worse than I have felt in the middle of a duathlon. The heaviness was plainly coming from the high demands of the week. When you have a stressful, busy, or emotional week, it takes a toll on you physically, and it is important to take that into account so that we don't over tax the body and contribute to imbalanced hormones.
I am making sure that my husband and I take a little bit of extra measures to support our adrenals this week. When we are experiencing large periods of time in our sympathetic nervous system, we release stress hormones and compromise other functions of the body. These include digestion (mechanical and chemical), growth, muscle repair, and relaxation, which are controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system.
Since you cannot avoid stress, none of us can, it’s how we handle it that matters. So, what do you do with it? It is important to keep stress from impacting your health and it will in a very big way if we are not careful. Here a couple of the support techniques we have been instigating this week. None of these will take up much extra time, because, well, we haven’t had it.
1. Eat Nourishing Foods
You knew it was coming, so let’s get it out of the way. But proper nutrition is a major key in keeping our systems healthy, purifying the blood, reducing free radicals, healing the organs and gut lining, replenishing our systems, fueling the mind, fueling the body. Food even provides the co-factors for seratonine production, the feel-good hormone that keeps us happy. Who doesn’t want seratonine when they are stressed??
2. Be Mindful of Coffee
Caffeine is a stimulant, which will increase sympathetic nervous system activity. When we are faced with life stressors, we are continuously in our sympathetic nervous system. Coffee will keep us there.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Allow your body the rest and rejuvenation it needs, especially in times of stress. This is when most of the bodies rejuvenation, growth, and repair occur.
4. Take Time Every-day to Destress
Whether this is reading, journaling, yoga, a morning stroll with your coffee, or folding the laundry slowly, take time to be present for a couple of moments while doing an activity that is therapeutic to you. It's amazing that taking a little time out for ourselves can actually grant us more productivity hours in our day!
5. Keep Your Space Clean
It is much easier to focus and bring positive energy to the table when our space is clean. This also prevents you from getting distracted in the middle of a task by that pile of dirty dishes in the sink. I am a firm believer in fungshway.
6. Keep Up With Your Morning & Evening Routines
It is so easy when we get busy to let the self-care activities slip. But you will be more productive, focused and capable of handling the demands of the day if you have brushed your teeth, washed your face, put on an outfit that makes you feel confident and gotten your work out in. If you don't have a morning or evening routine, it might be time to create one.
7. Work Out (but not too much!)
Moderate exercise if excellent. It can boost your immune system, increase your energy, fire up your metabolism, and contribute to level-headed emotions. Working out too much, however, increases your stress hormones and weakens your immune system, the two things we want to avoid happening. I know many athletes who decrease training load when life/work stress increases.
8. Cut Out TV
I know it may be tempting to turn off your brain for a few moments of TV but during a busy week, you are probably only procrastinating. In times of high stress and heavy work load, you are probably also spending a lot of time in front of your computer trying to get things done. Cut out all excess screen time as it only increases the mental stimulation contributing to stress hormone, give your eyes a break and let your mind recovery with quality family time, reading, or a nature walk.
9. Stay hydrated
Drink a lot of water. We will leave it at that.
10. Consume Fermented Foods and Drinks
Sorry, not recommending alcohol here. (Though, a nice glass of wine is fine! But it won't help your body's response to stress) Drinking during stressful times will do nothing beneficial for your productivity, sleep, or adrenals. What I am recommending is living cultures and eating foods rich in them such as sauerkraut and fermented vegetables, kombucha and high quality yogurt if you tolerate dairy well.
I think we covered the bases.
With a strong foundation, we can tackle anything.
Let's do this!
Photos by Kajal Pandey