Recently, we talked about the main symptoms of adrenal fatigue — and they’re not pretty. From irritability to grogginess to digestive distress, adrenal fatigue can affect many aspects on your health, as well as your emotional state.
Since no one wants to feel that way, let’s discuss how to tackle adrenal fatigue and start feeling better. Below, we’ll talk about a few basics steps you can take. One caveat: Healing from adrenal fatigue can be a lengthy process, so don’t expect instant relief from symptoms — but recovery is doable.
(Also, please note that everyone’s body and case is unique, so the specific recommendations may vary. That’s why we also recommend you consult a medical practitioner, such as a functional medicine doctor or naturopath to discuss a personalized treatment plan.)
1. Slow down and assess your stress.
The best thing you can do to start addressing adrenal fatigue is to remove as many sources of stress from your life as possible. Of course, if your job is causing you stress, we don’t mean to quit! Instead, we suggest taking a step back and looking at what factors in your life may be contributing to your stress — and what you may be able to control.
We suggest taking an assessment of various areas of your life by asking yourself questions such as below. Then, try to make changes you can to reduce stressors moving forward.
- Are you overworked or overwhelmed by your job? What could you take off your plate? Could you have a chat with your boss about your responsibilities?
- Do you have toxic relationships in your life with a romantic partner, friends, or family? Perhaps you can take a break from the people who may be draining you. In the holiday season especially, it’s important to create boundaries — and remember it’s okay to say “no.”
- Are you stressing out your body with inflammatory foods such as alcohol or sugar? Take stock of your diet — and be honest.
- Are you getting enough sleep? While simply “getting more sleep” isn’t always the answer, it is an important part of the puzzle. Aim to get 8 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Certain supplements, like magnesium, can help — more on that below.
- Are you making time for self-care and activities you enjoy? Make sure you’re making time to do what you love to, whether it’s hiking, knitting, reading, meditating, or dancing.
2. Clean up your diet.
You knew this was coming. Unfortunately, many delicious drinks and foods aren’t doing your body any favors. Binto’s founder, Nurse Suzie, and other experts recommend cutting out caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten and sugars if you're experiencing adrenal fatigue, since all these are inflammatory foods. Plus, sugars and grains are difficult for your body to digest, which adds extra stress to the adrenals.
And it’s true: Food is medicine. Focus on eating a Paleo-Mediterranean style diet, with lots of low-glycemic, whole foods. This doesn’t mean your meals have to be boring or bland. You can still eat lots of fruits, veggies, fish, lean proteins, and healthy fats — just as little sugar and empty carbs as possible.
3. Cut back on intense exercise.
You probably don’t hear this health advice all too often, but here we are: Work out less! Bouts of extreme cardio and intense workouts can exhaust you even more, and may even cause you gain weight when you’re chronically stressed.
We’re not saying that cardio will make you fat, but when your already elevated cortisol levels due to chronic stress combine the cortisol spikes from daily cardio sessions (especially long, steady-state cardio), you’re essentially creating a “fat trap.” Your body thinks you’re in fight-or-flight mode, holding on to extra calories as body fat (especially around your midsection)—a good thing when you’re trying to survive in the desert; not so good when you live in modern-day America.
If you’re recovering from adrenal fatigue, skip the spin classes and bootcamps. Instead, take long walks, do moderate strength training, and practice plenty of yoga. Yoga in particular has the added benefit of reducing stress and promoting mindfulness, which can also help your body begin to heal.
4. Add vitamins to your routine.
Certain vitamins and minerals to your routine can help your body recover and regain energy. These include iron, B vitamins, magnesium, DHA, and probiotics — all of which are available in Binto packs. Certain adaptogens, such as ashwaganda, may also help you feel calmer and less stressed, although more research is needed to determine their benefits.
These days, there’s a ton of talk about self-care in the wellness world. Sure, your Instagram feed might be filled with crystals, bubble baths, and cozy socks all in the name of “self-care” — but don’t let that make you think you need to buy more stuff in order to truly practice self-care.
Self-care means simply listening to your mind and body and giving yourself what you truly want. This could mean slowing down, eating well, skipping that party, or simply vegging out on the couch all day with Netflix.
Self-care not pushing yourself when your body is telling you to stop. Self-care is not doing things someone else wants you to do. And remember: Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s essential for your health so you can be the best version of you.
Locke Hughes is a freelance journalist and Emory-certified health coach based in Park City. Her approach to health and wellness is all about balance. In other words, she believes long hikes, hot yoga, and white wine all play an important role in a happy, healthy life.