Ever felt absolutely exhausted for days on end despite getting enough sleep? You may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is literally when we have depleted the supply of stress hormones in our body leading us to run on empty. Our adrenal glands are responsible for making stress hormones like cortisol, adrenalin, and noradrenalin. These hormones are responsible for keeping us motivated, maximising our energy levels, and allowing us to stay alert and active. What can happen over time however is that by constantly running on a state of high stress levels we deplete these hormones.
So what are the symptoms of depleted stress hormones and therefore adrenal fatigue?
- Constant fatigue
- Feeling of weakness
- Poor concentration
- Looking tired
- Irritability, depression and/or anxiety
- Stomach pains
- Joint and/or muscle pains
- Inability to loose weight and/or weight gain
- Sugar cravings
These symptoms can be subtle or can be severe and constant. So how do we reverse this process and return our stress hormone levels back to normal?
- Realise that it will take time. It takes about 6-18months to deplete our stress hormone levels and so it may take about this long to replenish them.
- Recognise our own limits when it comes to work and social activities
- Make time to truly rest and recover (see blog post Simple Habit to Better Health #3 – Rest & Recover)
- Clean up your diet by avoiding sugar, salt, and fatty foods and eating mainly fresh, unprocessed foods
- Reduce caffeine intake which will only deplete stress hormones further
- Avoid overtraining with exercise which can worsen the situation. Learn to listen to your body when it comes to exercise. Gentle exercise can be just as effective including yoga, pilates, and walking.
- Seek professional help when things aren’t improving.
To sum up, we can all experience adrenal fatigue if we don’t look out for early warning signs and learn to recognise our own limits when it comes to fatigue, stress, and overwork. With the above simple tips we will all be able to avoid this debilitating state.