So do you want the good news about healing your adrenals first, or the bad? You’re a positive bunch so lets crack out the party poppers; you can heal your adrenals completely naturally. The bad? It is not an overnight process. Sigh. There’s a reason that those “lose 60kgs in just 2 days eating only chocolate” diets are considered fads. Our bodies don’t like to be rushed. They don’t respond to cheats.
Now that I have explained Adrenal Fatigue 101 (over here if you missed it) I want to move into action stage of healing your adrenals naturally and let you know exactly what you can do to resolve the issue. I have only taken these steps over the last month and already the improvement is dramatic. And whenever I slip into complacency, the effects are almost instantaneous. Dammit. I guess it works. …
How do you know (for sure) whether you have adrenal fatigue?
While I did list a lot of the symptoms of drained adrenals here, as well as contexts that could have caused the syndrome there is only one way to know for sure whether you have adrenal fatigue. You need to complete an adrenocortisol test. Science sounds so unsexy – we’ll just refer to it as the Spit Test. Ah, much sexier.
I went to my naturopath to get the referral for the test and then the analysis of it afterwards. You spit into 4 separate viles at 8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm. The lab can then analyse when the cortisol (stress hormone) peaks in your body. Our cortisol is meant to start high in the morning and then taper off. However, people with adrenal fatigue tend to start low (hence it’s hard to get out of bed) and then feel peaks in the afternoon and evening (hence its hard to go to bed).
As a heads up, testing was around $200 (plus your naturopath appointment) but while that seems like a lot, the information you receive can be invaluable. I was alerted of some really interesting levels after testing (which I will go into in the next few months) which I never would have known had I not. I definitely found it has been worth it.
This being said, If you don’t have that money or you are just completely convinced that you have it, the ‘treatments’ that you can use to cure it wouldn’t hurt any person in this stressy world of ours. They’re just damn good, healthy habits.
First up, lets look at what you need to change about your lifestyle to take charge of your adrenals.
My naturopath (who you can find over here) explained this SO well. She told me that your adrenals are the boring babysitters of the body. They like routine. They prefer to read instead of watch TV. And they love sleep. At a reasonable hour – no funny business! Here are the other “boring” rules;
Go to bed at the same time every night – preferably be asleep before 10pm.
Between 10pm and 2am our body lulls into it’s most deep and regenerative sleep. At 10pm your bodies melatonin levels surge and it is time to repair and restore. These are the golden hours of your metabolic processes.
Turn off all screens by 8:30pm.
That melatonin I just mentioned up there in point 1? Not as much gets produced if you have screens flashing in your face (you can read all about the science-y stuff over here). So to turn on your melatonin, turn off your screens. Or download this awesome bit of software for your PC, laptop or mobile devices which actually automatically dulls the blue light (the wakeful stuff) in your screens in sync with the time of day. Life changing (and it’s free).
Sleep in the dark.
Up until a year or so ago I didn’t sleep with my light off. Seriously, watching Scream when I was a teenager and it caused irreversible damage. Then came The Ring and BOOM, I needed a hallway light forever more. But again – see above point regarding melatonin production. My sleep has been deeper and more restful since becoming a big girl who sleeps in the dark.
Identify your stressors
Our adrenals are not the cause of our sickness per se. These poor little buggers are just caught in the cross-fire of mixed messages and those mixed messages are being fired by stress. Keep a mood diary (I created a free one for you here) and try to identify a pattern of where you are becoming stressed in your day. Then you can work backward to work to resolve it.
RELAX. Every damn day.
I absolutely love this tip from Melissa Ambrosini – she suggests creating a self love menu. Write 10 things down that without doubt make you feel amazing and relaxed. Stick it on your fridge and then do 3 things on that list every day. It doesn’t need to be crazy – a cup of tea on the porch. A 5 minute meditation. A walk on the beach.
Something I enforced at home was that when my husband got in from work he takes my daughter outside to play for half an hour. It just gives me that tiny buffer zone before the night shift starts so that I can breathe. I will either write in my journal, play a stupid game on my iPhone, read or just stare at the ceiling. Bliss.
Don’t overdo it. “No” is not a dirty word.
I know you. I know you care for everyone else other than yourself but I am sorry to burst your ultra-altruistic bubble but it doesn’t work that way. You stop it… you stop it right now. As I say over here you need to fill up your own cup before you fill others. So if people are expecting to much of you, politely let them know. If you have a biz that is working you to the bone – implement new strategies. Outsource. Ask for support. You are allowed.
Not too much exercise.
Finally – some good news! Killing yourself at the gym every day does not a happy adrenal make. Too much cardio (i’m talking to the point where you feel fatigued after it) is an absolute no, no. Try gentle exercises like yoga (not Bikram), walking, resistance training or weights.
Learn stress-management techniques
Whether you learn some deep-breathing, meditation, EFT or yoga you need to learn how to bring yourself down from the precipice.
Special mention goes to meditation
If you can possibly wrangle a few minutes by yourself to meditate every day, get onto it. It is so important for recovery (and just general wellbeing).
Get out into nature.
Walk outside, preferably barefoot for a bit of earthing. Get ten minutes of sun with no sunscreen so you can absorb the vitamin D (don’t go out in the middle of Australian summer to do this obviously – respect the sun!). Be around as much nature as you can whether it’s sitting under the only big tree in your suburb or walking beside the ocean.
How have you helped cure your adrenals? Or is there anything on the list you want to know more about – or are nervous about? I would love to hear in the comments