The Christmas trees are going up. Everyone is chasing presents and are all about what they will be doing for the holidays. It’s that time of the year again. Christmas and holiday times are traditionally about having fun and spending time with our loved ones, but with this comes many pressures and STRESS! I love the season, I love spending time with my family, and I love all of the festivities, but sometimes I feel we have gotten lost in all the preparations and forget to enjoy the moment.
“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted”
Despite all the golly-jolly goodwill that surrounds Christmas, holidays are almost always synonymous with stress and can send your immune system and adrenal system into overload.
BREATHE!!!! Our breath is the chief regulator of metabolism and adrenal glands. Notice, that when you are stressed or upset, a deep breath and exhalation bring a sense of relief. Too little breathing acidifies the body and stresses the adrenal glands.
On top of each kidney there is an adrenal gland, about the size of a grape. The adrenals produce hormones that help balance our blood sugar and manage our daily flows of energy. The adrenal gland is needed to respond to stress. It was designed to deal with stress in small spurts rather than in periods of days or months (or even years).
Chronic stress will overwork the adrenal gland to the point of exhaustion and eventually they become too fatigued to meet the needs of the body. This is more common, than you can imagine. Quite frankly, it is not a gland that deals well with our modern lifestyle. The daily traffic, attacks of an impatient boss, a rocky relationship, children, an illness…
While our minds know that these issues do not threaten our lives, from the neck down, the adrenal glands and the other organs respond by hearing the same instinctive alarms as they would thousands of years ago, when you were chased by a bear or a lion. Now, let’s be realistic here. Even the fittest athlete could only outrun so many bears and so many lions for so many hours each day….yet we go through this roller coaster day in, day out, for years and decades without fully realizing the health damage this causes us.
Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Bags under the eyes
- Skin Problems/Dull Skin
- Fatigue (difficulty getting out of bed)
- Muscle aches (shakiness relieved with eating)
- Sleep problems (cannot fall asleep; wake up between 1:00-3:00am)
- Decreased cognitive ability or "brain fog"
- Swollen ankles that are worse at night
- Wiped out with exercise (misinterpreted for laziness)
- Sugar or salt cravings
- Food sensitivities
- Light sensitivities
- Hormone imbalances Low blood pressure (dizzy when standing up)
- Decreased libido/ Erectile Dysfunction/Premature Ejaculation
- Thyroid Issues
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Dysglycemia (high & low blood sugar – like a yo-yo)
- Decrease ability to handle stress (feel the need to rest after psychological or emotional distress)
- Allergies (any recurrent disease, infection or illness, usually related a respiratory problem, such as influenza, bronchitis, pneumonia)
- Exposure to toxic chemical and pollutants for a long time
- Too much of the body's stress hormone (cortisol)
Extreme fatigue is one of the primary symptoms of adrenal fatigue, especially early in the morning, just after waking. During the day you may begin to feel better for a while, and improve until mid-afternoon, when you might feel you need to take a nap.
After napping, you may improve until just after dinner before you begin to feel really tired again. If you stay up past 9:00 p.m., you get a second wind, and then it’s hard to fall asleep. If you eat starchy food, a lot of sugar, or if you skip a meal, the fatigue is worse.
A decreased ability to handle stress is also a symptom of adrenal fatigue. What you used to be able to handle or shrug off becomes a huge burden. You may suffer with a lot of colds, and have a harder time recovering when you get them.
How is Adrenal Fatigue Treated?
The holidays are there to be enjoyed, but you also need to be realistic and true to yourself. Keeping up your regular routine is very important during this period. Don’t get caught up in the "holiday cheer" and ignore the things you should be doing. It pays to follow a few basic rules to minimize your stress levels.
One of the best treatments for adrenal fatigue is good old fashioned sleep, though admittedly, it is difficult to sleep once you have reached adrenal exhaustion, due to erratic cortisol levels. Also, adrenal fatigue wide opens the gate for parasites and fungal infections, but we will leave that for another HFC Newsletter.
Taking steps to minimize adrenal stress, relaxing more during the day, moderate exercise:
- Eat as much organic food as possible
- Drink plenty of GOOD QUALITY water
- Do not skip meals
- Drink Bone Broth
- Police your thoughts – avoid negative “stinking thinking”
- Manage your stress levels intelligently – you DO NOT have to be involved in everything that is going on!
- Take a “Worry Break” – for 15 minutes worry yourself away, write your concerns down and then go and LIVE
- Find some time for yourself each day to meditate, go for walk, do a stretching or a yoga session, paint some art, or write a journal
- Laughter is great medicine for adrenal fatigue.
While it may be better to give than to receive, if you’re not giving good health to yourself first, you can’t give to others!
Holidays can be used as an excuse to drink. Holidays can be used as a reason to drop the exercise. Holidays can be used an excuse for not getting enough sleep.
Relax, calm it down a little. Sometimes things can move so fast during the holidays. Do things with the people you feel most comfortable around. LIVE and ENJOY!!!
Niki & the HFC Crew