Do you feel exhausted most times, even though you are getting adequate amounts of sleep? Adrenal fatigue is a very common condition experienced when one is under chronic stress. It typically affects women more so than men, and although it is a treatable condition, it directly affects energy levels and the body’s ability to heal.
Adrenal glands, are small, triangular glands located on top of both kidneys. An adrenal gland is made of two parts: the outer region is called the adrenal cortex and the inner region is called the adrenal medulla. In response to stress, the hypothalamus of the brain stimulates the adrenal glands to produce and release adrenaline and corticosteroid hormones into the blood such as cortisol. Over the course of chronic stress, the adrenal glands can become overused and tired from the constant production which causes adrenal fatigue.
The number one cause of adrenal fatigue is chronic stress and stressors: When one is under chronic mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical stress. One of the most overlooked types of stressors are spiritual stressors, such as: not loving yourself fully, being critical of yourself, allowing thoughts to ruminate, and the pursuit of perfection, all cause chronic long-term stress. Unresolved emotional pain such as anger, grief, shame or loneliness, also take a toll.
With constant levels of stress, cortisol levels in the body will remain elevated for extended periods of time, making it difficult for the body to return to a state of rest. When the body is in a restful state is when energy is restored and the body can heal. With adrenal fatigue, no matter how much one sleeps and rests, it feels as if there is no recovery. Your body doesn’t have the energy it needs to function and heal efficiently.
“In the early stages of adrenal fatigue, consistently high levels of cortisol suppresses the immune response and leaves one vulnerable to infection. In the later stages of adrenal fatigue, low levels of cortisol can lead to chronic inflammation, allergies and autoimmune diseases.” (Lam). When the adrenals become unable to produce enough of the hormones that are needed is when fatigue/insufficiency comes in.
Common Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
• Chronic fatigue or sleepiness that is not relieved by rest.
• Sleep disturbances such as insomnia, or trouble falling or staying asleep.
• Memory or cognition issues like brain fog, feeling spacey, or trouble concentrating.
• Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, feelings of overwhelm or crying more easily.
• Hormonal imbalances or changes such as worsening PMS, changes in menstruation or irregular cycles.
• Thyroid disorders or symptoms like hypothyroidism, cold or heat intolerance, or dry skin and hair.
• Metabolic disorders or weight issues like excess belly fat, and high or low blood sugar issues.
• Craving salt, sugar or caffeine to help “boost” your energy throughout the day.
• Low blood pressure symptoms like feeling dizzy or woozy if you stand up too quickly.
• Asthma, allergies or respiratory complaints.
• Dark circles under the eyes.
• Frequent urination.
• Joint pain.
• Lines in your fingertips.
• Loss of muscle tone.
• Low blood pressure.
• Low sex drive.
• Lower back pain.
• Numbness in your fingers / Poor circulation.
• Sore/aching muscles or muscle weakness.
• Impaired decision-making and judgement.
• Impaired hand-to-eye coordination.
• Appetite loss.
• Reduced immune system function.
• Blurry vision.
Take time to R E S T
cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
Some of you may be struggling in areas of your life because you’ve depleted your e[nergy]motional tank doing something. For example: work, with other people, thinking, errands etc, and have nothing left for those you love the most.
The most helpful option, is to first get the body into a restful state. When the nervous system is calm, is when the body heals. We can practice breathing techniques to get the body into its restful state.
When you are emotionally depleted, it is wise to know specifically what refills your emotional tank. For some, it’s time with people. Perhaps, engaging in conversation, gaining energy the whole time. For others, it’s time alone. You might refill listening, thinking, or journaling. If you don’t know what refuels you emotionally, you may often find yourself emotionally depleted.
What rejuvenates you?