Figuratively Speaking, Many of Us Are!
Chronic stress is the equivalent of being chased by a lion day in and day out. Why? Because our bodies’ hormonal system does not distinguish between one type of threat or another. Threats activate our adrenal glands, which sit on top of our kidneys. They are not designed to manage chronic stress. Cortisol, evolutionarily speaking, was released to deal with extreme but short-term threats like being chased by a predator.
In modern times, daily stresses have replaced serious threats:
- being cut off in traffic,
- having a fight with a friend or partner,
- getting bad news at work,
- forgetting our keys, or in my case recently,
- selling and buying a house
- moving to a new city, etc.
In each of these scenarios, Cortisol is released. Unfortunately, Cortisol is one of those hormones that stick around in our blood stream for up to eight hours. This scenario is repeated day in and day out, year after year. To add insult to injury–
- we eat on the run
- do not sleep long enough hours
- prop ourselves up with caffeine and
- relax with alchohol.
In many cases, the result is Adrenal Fatigue.
Too Much Cortisol can do Nasty Things to Our Bodies!
This is an oversimplication, but it helps illustrate why it is so important to control the daily release of cortisol through tools I am sharing below. In the short-term, cortisol will increase our energy by driving sugar to our brains and to our limbs. It also increases our heart rates. It can wreak havoc on our digestive systems either by speeding them up or shutting them down. Over time, it can cause our reproductive systems to stop functioning because our bodies don’t feel it is safe to reproduce. If you are still pre-menopausal, it can result in irregular periods, infertility and a host of other hormonal complaints.
Constantly releasing cortisol has been shown to negatively affect our brain, gut, sexual hormones and can cause autophogy, death of cells. “If you have too much cortisol circulating out in your system and you are not fighting a lion, then it can break down your muscles, your joints, your bones and your connective tissues,” according to Dr. Keesha Ewers, an Adrenal Health Expert.
Which Stage of Adrenal Fatigue are you in?
A blood test will not show you. You would need to do a spit test or a urine test (most of which are not covered by insurance) But there are less costly, albeit, less scientific ways to figure this out.
3 Stages of adrenal fatigue
Stage 1 usually goes unnoticed by most of us. It might feel like you are wired and tired. You are getting so much done, but you are starting to have more trouble sleeping, digestive problems are sneaking into you life and you might be experiencing some spaciness. That is where I have been in the past month due to all that is going on in my life. (If you missed it, please read the story here)
Stage 2 is much more noticeable. You can’t get up in the morning even if you feel like you had a full night’s sleep. You stop having a period if you are still menstruating. Both men and women begin to lose interest in sex in this stage. If you are a post menopausal woman, you feel like you have lost interest in many things. Bone-dead tiredness settles in as you experience more aches and pains. This was the stage I was in on and off during the healing journey.
Stage 3 is when your adrenals are no longer working. It can be in this stage that autoimmune disease, cancer or other serious illnesses are diagnosed. Some times people in Stage 3 can no longer do any of their normal activities. I was going down this path ten plus years ago when I left the classroom, gave up tennis and other social activities, and focused on healing.
There is Hope! I know and I can help you!
I have been a medical detective for more than a decade, studying and certifying in many healing modalities to help myself and you. This is some of what I learned and do when I experience Adrenal Fatigue and to avoid the more serious effects of this medical condition.
Add in adrenal support supplements like Ashwaganda, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, American Ginseng or Licorice Root * (only if you do not have blood pressure issues).
Reduce your intake of sugar, coffee and alcohol. (This may be difficult due to cravings, which is another sign of adrenal dysfunction.)
Reduce your intake of simple carbs like breads, rice and pasta. Add in dense vegetables that process more slowly in your body.
Temporarily curtail all high intensity activities and replace them with gentle yoga and meditation practices to shift your nervous system out of flight and fight to rest and digest.
Get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night.
Use essential oils topically and aromatically. I love Neroli and Adaptive from doTerra. I am no longer a rep for them, but there are many places to get these lovely, relaxing oils.
Work with a certified health coach such as myself and a certified Gentle Somatic Yoga teacher. I provide all of these services to you recover from adrenal fatigue in both group and private settings. Check out my services on my website and of course, feel free to schedule a 20 minute FREE consult with me to see if I am the right person to get you feeling like yourself again.
Most importantly pay attention to your body’s messages! If you ignore them, they will only shout louder at you.
Reach out and together we will get you back on the road to health.