Part II - 3 Ways to Heal Adrenal Fatigue Naturally: Stress Management
by Dr. Alaina Gair, ND
Stress management is usually part of what’s missing for people who develop adrenal fatigue, so it should make sense that it is a critical part of recovery. While stress management can look different for different people, there are some things I recommend to each of my patients.
Here are the top 5!
1. Sleep and adequate rest is paramount. Aim for 8-10 hours a night for one month. Stay on a regular sleep cycle (even on weekends) and get to bed before 11pm whenever possible. Bonus points if you can get to bed before 10pm! Your adrenals will thank you. This means you are going to sleep while melatonin production levels are at their highest – ensuring you are sleep cycling properly, and reaping the restorative benefits.
2. Exercise – cool it on the cardio! This is usually a surprise to patients, especially because stubborn weight is often a symptom of adrenal fatigue. But high intensity cardio puts additional strain on the adrenal glands and for that reason, I recommend taking a break. Replace cardio with weight bearing exercise, yoga and low intensity cardiovascular exercise like walking. These will help increase relaxation and circulation, and reduce stress. For my patients, I recommend 4-8 weeks away from higher intensity cardio – depending on the severity of their adrenal fatigue.
3. Do something you enjoy every day. It is easy to get wrapped up in the "daily grind” and fill your time with things you have to do. This absence of things you want to do can contribute to burn out. Schedule in activities that bring you joy and a sense of peace. Go for a regular massage, take a walk at lunch to get away from your desk or curl up with a guilty pleasure book. What the activities should be are up to you - the important thing is to make time for them! This boosts your serotonin levels (the happy neurotransmitter) and helps bring a sense of renewal.
4. Start practicing mindfulness. There are so many ways to make this part of your day. My favourite is an app called Buddhify. It was created for busy people – so the practices are shorter and categorized based on activity. This tool helps to teach you that mindfulness can become a part of many different aspects in your day. Mindfulness helps to calm adrenal function, lowering elevated cortisol levels and allowing the body to feel soothed.
5. Get comfortable with saying no. Lack of boundaries is another common trend I see in people with adrenal fatigue. This may take shape in developing a healthier work-life balance or setting limitations on social activities or family commitments. For example, setting an “off time” for your work phone/email or limiting your weekends away from home to once a month.
The first step is identifying where you tend to overextend yourself and then set up boundaries to protect against that habit. If you are in the Guelph area and would like help recovering from adrenal fatigue, book an appointment so I can help you feel like yourself again!