Running on Empty? A Holistic Guide to Adrenal Fatigue
by Tegan Wallis - Holistic Health Practitioner at Veda Wellness
Are you tired all the time? Do you wake up from sleep unrefreshed and have difficulty getting out of bed? If yes, then maybe you're suffering from adrenal fatigue.
The adrenal glands are a pair of endocrine organs that rest atop of your kidneys. They have a very big effect on our physiology, affecting literally every tissue, cell, organ, as well as impacting our mind and emotions. These organs are responsible for the secretion, famously the hormones associated with the body's stress response.
Adrenal glands help us cope and deal with stress in its many forms affecting literally every tissue, cell, organ, as well as impacting our mind and emotion.
When we are under stress, it's these little guys that work hard to make enough stress hormones to sustain the stressful event. In a 'healthy' stressful situation, our nervous system would shift back to the parasympathetic state - our relaxed state, when the stressful event has passed.
The issue is that this modern world is perceived as being filled with one stress after another, which results in us being constantly on the go. Constantly being in this state exerts extra strain on the adrenal glands and eventually they become run down to the point of fatigue. You've run out of juice to sustain the correct vital functions that your body needs for health and vitality. You're running on empty.
Learn about the 4 key requirements to restore adrenal function:
1. SLOW DOWN
As a faced paced lifestyle is the cause, slowing down is the answer. You can start by recognizing and removing known stressors in your life. Learn to say 'no' to events and situations that don't serve you. Spend more time in nature, slow down to its rhythms. Start to go to bed earlier at night, leave work at the office and give yourself permission to do 'nothing', and simply 'be'.
2. QUIET THE MIND AND BUILD RESILIENCE TO STRESS
Meditation is essential for adrenal fatigue treatment. The immediate benefits are that this practice powerfully calms the nervous system, dissolves accumulated tension built up in our physiology and releases mental toxins. It activates the body self-healing processes and removes cortisol and other damaging stress hormones from our system. Over time, meditation literally re-wires the brain which enables us to build resilience to stress and change our initial reaction to non- life threatening events.
Pranayama, using the yogic breathing in an intentional way can help balance the state of our nervous system. If you are feeling stressed and struggling with adrenal fatigue it is likely that you are breathing in a very shallow way which further stimulates this ‘fight and flight’ response.This simple relaxation breathing technique can tilt your nervous system towards a calm state.
Yoga practice is great for providing recovery and can also help you deal with stressful circumstances without having such a strong negative reaction. Certain yoga poses help to work on specific endocrine organs, enhancing nutrient and oxygen rich blood flow to the area to support its functioning. To help turn off the adrenal glands and calm the mind, practice restorative yoga postures daily in a warm, dark, quiet environment.
It's best to follow a diet that suits your dosha as this encourages harmony within your unique physiology. In addition, the following are keys points:
- Avoid refined sugar consumption.
- Avoid/ decrease the intake of common allergens.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Eat mainly a whole food plant based diet.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin C and B vitamins are these nourish the adrenals.
4. HERBAL SUPPORT
Herbs have been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years, and are now verified by modern science and research. Ashwangandha is considered an adaptogen herb and the key herb in adrenal fatigue. An adaptogen is an herb that supports the body's ability to deal with stress - be it physical, mental or emotional in nature. It's acts like a big support network for the body. Ashwangandha reduces the effects of stress, enhances memory and cognitive function that often becomes impaired when you experience adrenal fatigue and burnout.
Addressing all these aspects together, holistically, is the way to assure full recovery and abundant energy.
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