Stress!! Can it it lead to adrenal fatigue?
Did you know that your fatigue issues may be connected to stress?
Does this sound like you? You are stressed and cannot sleep. You are constantly tired and crave sweets and even salty foods?
Stress is a physical and emotional reaction to danger either real or not. Even the day to day demands on our time cause the same stress response in our bodies as real danger.
Since your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, adrenal fatigue is a common subject matter these days.
Your adrenal glands look like walnuts that live on top of both of your kidneys. These important glands produce many hormones, including stress hormones.
But what happens when they become “overworked?”
The fight or flight response to physical danger causes an increase in the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This is your body's normal reaction to stress.
Stress can sometimes be positive when it helps us avoid dangerous situations like crashing into a vehicle in traffic. Our heart rate increases and we are given the strength to respond on demand.
After a short time, the fight or flight response dissipates and your body goes back to normal.
But what would happen if you felt constant stress? Like all day, every day? This is called “chronic” stress.
Too many women like you are living in chronic stress. Why do you think that is? Maybe there is just too much to do in a given day.
What do you think happens to your poor adrenal glands when they’re constantly working? Have you ever felt this rush of “false energy”? This is another reason you may feel “wired but tired”.
Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue?
When your adrenal glands start getting tired of secreting stress hormones day in and out, you can start getting other symptoms:
- difficulty sleeping,
- mood swings,
- weight loss or gain,
- joint pain,
- sugar cravings,
And even frequent infections like colds and the flu are signs that your adrenals are probably overworked.
There are no medically accepted blood tests for adrenal fatigue. In fact, it's not recognized by most medical professionals until the point when your adrenals are so fatigued they almost stop working. At that point, the official diagnosis of "Adrenal Insufficiency" or "Addison's Disease" may apply.
However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions. He or she can give you some wellness strategies that can help to reduce your stress (and symptoms).
What To Do If You Have These Symptoms?
There are many actions you can take to reduce your stress and improve your health and energy levels.
Stress reduction is key to overcoming fatigue issues. There are tons of ideas how you can reduce your stress. My favorites are:
- scheduling your day ahead of time so you you don’t have to think about it. I just look at my day planner and see exactly what I am to being doing and where I am to be.
- Practicing quiet time (even for just 20 minutes is so important.)
- Deep breathing
- Walking in nature,
- Go to bed earlier and sleep longer (7-8 hours)
- taking a bath.
- spend time with friends
- Plan a fun activity
Of course, I also recommend reducing sugar and processed food intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. Better nutrition can only help your body. So make sure to prioritize this in your life.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. Adrenaline is released for only a few seconds. After that cortisol is the main hormone released in a stress response.
After long-term daily stress, your adrenals may get tired. It is sustained high cortisol that is the problem. Normal levels are fine since it is what wakes you up in the morning.
Adrenal fatigue is a controversial disease that doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific evidential symptoms.
The most important thing you can do is to get tested to rule out other potential conditions. You can also try stress reduction techniques like meditation, walks in nature, light exercise, more sleep, or even a calming bath.
Recipe (Stress-reducing bath salt):
Lavender Bath Salts
2 cups Epsom salts
10 drops lavender essential oil
As you're running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub. Mix until dissolved
Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!
Tip: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.