A Common Pattern for Adrenal Exhaustion
Adrenal exhaustion is more common in women than men. For millennia, being a mom and homemaker was recognized as being a demanding, full-time job. Unfortunately, at the same time the movement for women’s equality was shattering glass ceilings, it had the unexpected consequence of socially devaluing the role of mother and homemaker. Now, many women juggle excessive responsibilities, often including the role of wife, mother, and working at a demanding job. You are stressed out by doing everything from running kids to soccer practice, to running the household, to running a business, to meeting tight deadlines, and pleasing clients or your boss.
For many with adrenal exhaustion, everything seems to be a crisis. If this continues to go untreated, to the point where people develop severe insomnia, brain fog, exhaustion, and widespread achiness, adrenal exhaustion has often progressed to become chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. It’s much better to address this problem early.
Treating Adrenal Exhaustion
Fortunately, adrenal exhaustion can be fairly easy to treat. It works best to combine lifestyle, diet, and nutritional/herbal support. The good news? You can start to feel better in just a few days.
Let’s start with some lifestyle changes:
Eliminate excess sugars and sweets, especially sodas and fruit juices. Both of these have 3/4 teaspoon of sugar per ounce. If the first, second, or third ingredient in a food is sugar (glucose, sucrose, or anything ending in “ose,” or if it has high fructose corn syrup), don’t eat it. My book, Beat Sugar Addiction Now, can teach you how to cut back sugar while keeping the enjoyment. One quick tip? Avoid sugar, except for chocolate! Dark chocolate is actually a healthy food when enjoyed in moderation.
Eat frequent small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones (called “grazing”).
Avoid excess caffeine, which aggravates the symptoms of low blood sugar. It’s okay to have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, but then switch to decaf, like decaf green tea. Green tea also has theanine, which helps you stay calm and focused. Especially helpful is one cup of licorice tea a day (not more), which is naturally sweet and helps improve your adrenal function.
Enjoy your salt—unless you have high blood pressure or heart failure. Salt-restricting somebody with adrenal exhaustion is a good way to make them feel worse.
Stay well hydrated. Don’t count how many glasses of water you drink a day. That’s a lousy way to spend the rest of your life. Instead, every so often check your mouth and lips. If they are dry, you’re dehydrated, and drink some water.
Eat a high-protein low carbohydrate diet. Protein will raise your blood sugar slowly and keep it stable over hours, without putting you on the “sugar roller coaster.”
It’s also important to examine your attitudes when it comes to stress. With your adrenal glands being the body’s stress handlers, continually viewing life as a crisis aggravates the adrenal exhaustion. Instead of treating life like an ongoing crisis, start choosing to look for and pay attention to those things that feel good. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Begin with a simple reality check. When you are feeling stressed, ask yourself, “Am I in imminent danger?” If you aren’t (which is usually the case), take a deep breath or two and look at the situation again. You’ll feel much more relaxed.
By choosing to focus on the things in your life that feel good, you’ll find that your adrenals will heal and you will feel much better. You’ll then have the energy to take care of problems that need handling, and will be amazed when most of the other problems seem to resolve themselves. It’s a only short jump from where you are to feeling great!