You’re tired and irritable, you feel overwhelmed, and you can’t stop eating those salted caramel cookies. But hey, that’s just normal for this time of year, right? Maybe so. The stress of holiday shopping, all the extra errands and a busy social calendar that interferes with your usual eight hours of zzzs could be the problem. But it could be something more serious. Around 80 percent of adults will experience adrenal fatigue at some point during their lives. Sadly, many people suffer for years without the right diagnosis. One at a time, the early symptoms of adrenal fatigue are easy to mistake for chronic daily stress, flu or simply a lack of sleep. The most common symptoms are:
- Body aches
- Trouble concentrating
- Decreased libido
- Weight gain
- Feeling stressed and overwhelmed
- Mood swings
- Food cravings, especially sugar
- Low energy
- General fatigue or feeling “down”
When It's Not Just Stress
Adrenal fatigue can be caused by many things including emotional or physical trauma. Exposure to toxins, prolonged stress or a poor diet might also have an effect. The adrenal glands have the big job of producing more than 50 hormones. When those hormones aren't released in the right amount or at the right times, the result can be a host of symptoms that don't seem to be connected but are.
Fortunately, for most people recovery from adrenal fatigue is easy as one, two, three.
- Eliminate pesticides and other toxins from your diet. Eat organically grown foods as much as possible. Caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed and microwaved foods should be avoided. Also, avoid any foods that are hard to digest. Use small amounts of raw honey or organic coconut nectar syrup those times when you must have something sweet. Replace hydrogenated oils with good fats like organic extra virgin coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, and nuts. Other foods to add to your diet include fatty fish, cruciferous vegetables, seeds and sea vegetables like kelp.
- Herbal and vitamin supplements are an important part of healing the adrenal glands. To improve adrenal function consider taking a B-complex vitamin, vitamin C and vitamin D3 as well as zinc, magnesium, fish oil and ashwagandha.
- Rest! Diet and supplements will not heal the adrenal system if you are still stressed out and be lacking sleep. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule and allow yourself 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Practice habits that help you deal with stress such as exercise, positive thinking, yoga, meditation or counseling.
If you feel exhausted than usual this season and don’t know why adrenal fatigue may be the Grinch who’s trying to steal your holiday fun. All the steps necessary to heal the adrenals are healthy habits anyway, so why not give them a try?