STRESS AND ADRENAL FATIGUE
SHERBORNE TIMES – JULY EDITION p.96
Have you ever been really looking forward to a day off or a holiday and then come down with a cold on the first day? It just doesn’t seem fair. However this is our body, or more specifically our adrenal glands, waving a red flag.
Our adrenal glands sit on top of our kidneys and help the body react to stress alongside regulating cortisol, adrenaline and hormones. They are involved in the fight or flight syndrome releasing the stress management cortisol and action-stations adrenaline to flood through our bodies ready for battle. Unfortunately, they cannot tell if it is a true emergency or just another deadline at work.
As someone who suffered with glandular fever and then M.E. for over 8 years, I’ve spent a fair amount of time unconsciously using and depleting my adrenals. I often picture them as a hamster in a wheel, desperately peddling away but not really going anywhere. When it comes to the end of the current stress they collapse with fatigue and our true energy state is revealed.
Adrenal problems show in two ways: exhausted and burnt out, or hyper stressed and running on adrenaline. They can even be a mixture of both, for example running on adrenaline all week and then feeling burnt out and exhausted at the weekend. Stress is a very moden word but the symptoms are wide ranging including fatigue, lowered immune function, digestive discomfort, anxiety or depression, blood sugar problems, sleep difficulties, memory problems, hormone disruption and weight gain.
We see children and teenagers struggling with stress and can see the mental exhaustion it brings but just witnessing their behaviour at the beginning of summer holidays: lots of outpouring of emotion and need for sleep. Their minds and bodies are overtired and need to switch off and recuperate.
So, what can we do to help?
I’m not going to suggest we all quit our jobs and live on a beach, but I am going to suggest we become aware of how we feel and allow ourselves to take charge of our thoughts and actions. If you feel like you’re juggling too many things, find a prioritisation technique that works for you. If you find negative thoughts take over, try Bach Flower remedies which are marvellous at allowing us to think our usual thoughts but stop the emotions flooding our body with hormones. Useful supplements including B vitamins, essential for energy production and vitamin C for our immune system. Create time for yourself to relax. Write down those pesky items that remain on the to do list. Curl up with a frivolous book or have a gossip with some friends. Enjoy a relaxing wind down routine to help you enter a deep sleep to recharge.
What’s the biggest challenge? Letting go of being a perfectionist. We can’t control everything, we can only control our reactions. Changing our thought patterns and behaviour takes time but techniques like Neuro Linguistic Programming, Emotional Freedom Technique and hypnotherapy can be helpful.
Over the summer, I would love for you to take a moment to check in to see how you are truly feeling. Whether you are a child, stressed employee, busy parent or active retiree, take a moment to breathe and tune into your body. Allow yourself some down time, mix up the routine and let your mind and body recharge. We can only ever do our best and that is good enough.