A little bit of stress is normal and pretty hard to escape. If, however, you’re experiencing insomnia, chronic headaches, suffering from digestive issues, struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mood-related changes then stress might be the cause.
The Causes Of Adrenal Stress
Some people thrive on stress, and to a certain degree, a little may not be such a bad thing. Two psychiatrists, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, developed a method of rating stress levels called the Social Readjustment Rating Scale which shows how even seemingly positive events can produce an increase in stress levels.
Stress of any kind produces a biological response in the body, and prolonged stress places a burden on many of the body’s systems, especially the heart, blood vessels, adrenal glands, and immune system.
Negative coping mechanisms are a common way of dealing with stress. Some people turn to:
Other excessive behaviours
The problem with all of these strategies is that while they may feel good in the moment they are all actually increasing stress in the body. Alcohol increases adrenal hormone output producing chemical stress on the body, and also interferes with healthy sleep. Refined carbohydrates cause blood sugar control issues, which can lead to hypoglycaemia, and hypoglycaemia has been linked with depression, anxiety and increased stress. I think you get the picture.
Better coping mechanisms would include:
Relaxation techniques (breathing exercises, restorative yoga)
Self-care (massage, time out alone or with friends, a bath, etc)
Use of specific nutrients to support + nourish the adrenal glands
6 Ways To Support Your Adrenal Fatigue
Here are 6 things you can start doing today to support your adrenal glands and manage your stress:
Stop trying to be a supermom + reduce some of the chaos.
For many people, the sheer act of having better time management can make a big difference – prioritize, organize, delegate and stop procrastinating.
But more importantly, take some pressure off yourself!
Dinner can be eggs, and things don’t need to be perfect. Your kids won’t remember their Pinterest-worthy birthday, but they will remember all the time spent having fun with you.
Seriously. I know it sounds ridiculous, but taking 3-5 minutes to just breathe in through your nose all the way down to fill up your belly, and back out can really relax you. Even if all you can manage is 1 minute, you’ll notice a difference.
Eat a healthy diet.
You didn’t think I’d leave that out did you?
- Focus on whole foods, avoid packaged and processed as they are often devoid of nutrients and high in sodium
- Include more fresh, raw foods in your diet to increase nutrient intake (vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and enzymes that are often destroyed by heat and light)
- Address food intolerances and allergies
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine, sugar, nicotine and alcohol
- Focus on foods high in Vitamin C, Pantothenic Acid (B5), B6, Zinc, and Magnesium
- Supplement with a multivitamin, Vitamin C in divided doses, B Complex (50 or 100mg), and additional Magnesium
Move your body!
Exercise produces endorphins, and endorphins make us feel good. It’s as simple as that! Ride your bike, do yoga, lift weights, run, take a ballet class, or just go for a walk. It really doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you’re moving.
Do things that bring you joy.
We are so busy being busy that we are sacrificing good times with friends, classes for ourselves, reading, and other hobbies. Make a list of things that make you happy, and then DO some of those things on a regular basis.
Do you like cut flowers? Stop waiting for someone to buy them for you and buy them for yourself, just because. It’s such a little thing, but if it gives you pleasure than do it!
Make more time for joy and happiness, whatever that looks like for you.
This can look like a lot of things – asking friends or family for help when you’re feeling burned out, reading books to help you relax/organize/take charge of your wellness, or seeking help from a health practitioner to figure out what you can do to get your body back into balance.
Who is on your team?
Other than my family and friends, my team also includes a massage therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, psychotherapist, naturopath, and of course, my own knowledge of holistic nutrition!
Put your team together and don’t hesitate to get help when you feel things shift.
If you feel like your stress levels are threatening to overtake your ability to cope and function, you probably need a break.
Whether you go away somewhere for the night or weekend, or just take an evening to watch a movie and relax you will probably feel infinitely better for having done so.
Don’t be afraid to say no and make more space in your life. You will be more focused, more productive, and so much happier if you keep your stress under control.