Adrenal Fatigue - an enormous, all consuming weight that I never could get a grip on has finally revealed itself in such splendour - I can no longer continue on the way I am. My life has to change.
Perhaps you can relate? Maybe you feel exhausted around the clock and wake up thinking about how many hours it will be until you are able to, with a straight face, climb back into your cozy bed, or you can relate to the slight dizziness that occurs when you stand up too quickly or dealing with that foggy brain cloud that is a permanent fixture over you all day, every day? Fatigue has to be mentioned again, because it is so profound and I would say, almost debilitating and is one of the most common symptoms, and by far the most frustrating.
I would safely say that by the time I went to visit my naturopath Dr. Patton, my energy levels were at an all time low. I had done everything I could think of to increase my energy and lift the terrible exhaustion that I was feeling - nothing worked. My energy levels varied throughout the day, I could barely get out of bed in the morning, at 2 pm I could hardly keep my eyes open and then I would have this incredible energy burst around 5-8pm. I told all of this to Dr. Patton as she was looking over my file. To which she kindly replied, it’s not likely you are going to die, but I do suspect there is an iron deficiency and/or adrenal fatigue which would be in an advanced stage from when I originally brought this up 10 years ago…ohhhhhhh right… I nervously laughed,….about that time those many many years ago.
I wont get into the specifics about this conversation, you can listen to that on the podcast, but I would like to offer you a thread of hope if you do find yourself in a similar situation - there are some things you can do immediately to help change energy levels.
1. Obviously, this first point goes without saying that First and foremost - Go and see your Doctor. And if the medical doctor does not understand the components of Adrenal Fatigue, reach out to a naturopath.
2. Rest. Rest. REST! Dr. Patton asked me to take 1 full hour per day to rest my body. It was a tall order. But I was so tired anyways that on my lunch break I would go find a nice quiet place to rest and sleep for 45 min. Making this happen every day is crucial.
3. Balance. This whole chain reaction did not start overnight so taking extreme measures does not do any good. Learning to balance your life to meet the needs of your body is vital. Taking the time to listen to your body and acknowledging the fact that perhaps a lack of boundaries, intense scheduling or not so good eating habits may have contributed to Adrenal imbalance. From my experience, it was all of the above, plus more. This is by far the most important item and one that I began to put in place right away - saying no and being okay with not holding up the whole world on my shoulders. Learning to balance the needs of my body and revisiting my schedule and then shaping it to the needs of my body was paramount in moving forward.
4. Slowly begin to make changes to your diet. I learned this the hard way and thought it would be easier to go cold turkey. My advice. Don’t do that! Follow a workable plan from a naturopath or nutritionist to help make things easier.
5. Now, for this next one, I would say yes, this issue was obvious but not as extreme as the others; inability to handle stress. Okay... Yes, I run my own company and have 4 children from the age 9 to 20, which is not stressful to me…Well thats what I tell myself anyway.
And here comes the Big Daddy of them all.
6. Reduce caffeine…the very thought of reducing coffee….I can't even. I love it sooo much. Dr. Patton assured me that while it would be painful for me to reduce coffee and I would most likely go into withdrawal, it was really important step because even though coffee give you the energy I thought I needed, in reality, the energy was not real. Coffee was propping up my energy levels. To be totally honest, I knew this was the case. I could literally put 4 cups of coffee into a IV drip bag and take it in the form of intravenous and it still would not budge the level of exhaustion. But, I was so far gone with the habit and belief that it was doing something for me, I continued to keep going. And I reeeeaallly like it!
Please join with me for a moment of silence as I grieve the death of my friend and lover... coffee.
Dr. Patton recommended a few more things which you can listen to in the podcast. Along with other remedies which will have to wait for another time! Till then, begin to think about balance, amount of rest you are getting during the day and what habits, people or lifestyle choices maybe adding stress to your life and your adrenals!