Tired of being Tired?

Written by MjauJune 4, 2018

Adrenal fatigue.. Have you heard of it? After my intense ending in Cape Town (read about it here) I found myself running on empty fumes. As a good solider, I kept pushing on, drinking several cups of coffee and taking my regular supplement regime thinking that my tiredness would pass.

During a session with my energy healer, she told me I was running on adrenaline and needed to watch out for adrenal fatigue. Wow. I looked into the symptoms and suddenly it all made sense, I checked several of the boxes..

Adrenal fatigue check list:

  • Tired when waking up, dragging myself thru the day and finishing exhausted in the evening.
  • Salt or sugar cravings
  • Food allergies
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Weight gain that you cannot get rid of, and reduced exercise capacity.
  • PMS
  • Irritability and anxiousness
  • Insomnia
  • Hart palpitations
  • Un-ability to handle stress
  • Low libido
  • Irregular menses
  • Low thyroid function despite medications.

I was intrigued and scared. After doing a little research I found that:

  • Over 11% of the adult population currently has severe fatigue, extreme tiredness, or exhaustion that lasts for more than a month.
  • Over 4% have identifiable symptoms that exceed six months.

I slowly started to realize that what I thought was just a little slump in my life actually was important warning-signs that I needed to listen to if I ever wanted to gain my vitality back. Fatigue can come on slowly, creeping up gradually without notice and that’s why so many people (yours truly included) consider this lack of energy a normal part of their aging process or current life situation. It is vital to understand, right here and now, that excessive fatigue is not normal.

Let me briefly describe the process of it all;

The adrenal glands, located above each kidney, are the stress control centers of the body. They are responsible for directing over 50 chemical messengers (hormones) that help us deal with emotional or physical stress. Stress comes in many forms, such as loss of a loved one, car accident, over exercise, relationship difficulties, relocation, or illness. The more stress you have, the harder the adrenals must work. Overworked adrenal glands become burned out, or tired. Your body wants rest to recuperate and it tries to conserve energy. This leads to your organ systems slowing down and fatigue and lethargy increases.

There are four stages of Adrenal Fatigue, ranging from mild to severe. In advanced stages, you can be bedridden and totally incapacitated. This is really that serious! You may have heard of people “crashing” after a late night out, excessive exercise, long airplane trip, or stressful event. Think of Adrenal Fatigue as a continuous crash. It is like a car running out of gasoline, except its its not a car but your very own body!

How to get back on track!

Follow the adrenal diet.

This means getting rid of foods that you are sensitive to (I recommend everyone to do a food allergy test) and foods that cause inflammation. Eat a lot of fruit, vegetables and whole grain gluten-free carbs.

Worth noting; A strict no-carb diet can stress the body even more, worsening adrenal burnout. Of course, dont go all cookie monster, but rather eat grains like quinoa, lentils and buckwheat.

Go to bed early.

Getting to bed before 11pm is a must in any stage of adrenal fatigue. Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11pm, which further disrupts sleep patterns.

Flood the adrenals with B vitamins.

B vitamins (B5 and B6 in particular) are food for the adrenals and can be low in a high-fat, low-carb diet. B12 and folate also help with energy production.

Cool inflammation.

Using omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, botswalia and vitamin C supplements you lower your inflammation levels and by doing so you are allowing the adrenals to recover.

Replace important nutrients.

Vitamin D, selenium, magnesium and zinc are all important for proper thyroid function and adrenal function.

Focus on hydration.

Drink water and herbal teas and start your day with a big cup of hot water with lemon. Try adding a little bit of salt to your water for better absorption.

Use adaptogenic herbs.

Try licorice root, ashwagandha and rehmannia to mention a few. Go speak to a naturopath for a protocol more tailored to your needs.

Build rest into the day.

I love HIIT workouts. But during the recovery phase, replace high intensity activities with slow yoga, nature walks or swimming. Also consider a little 30 min nap (YEEES) in the afternoon. Meditation, earthing and breath work (pranayama) is also very beneficial.

Change your perspective.

You don’t have to be perfect or do everything. Learn to say no and to listen to your body. Tired? Rest. Not feeling like throwing that dinner party? Cancel and jump in the bath instead. Take care of yourself and your body, because like it or not it’s going to be with you til the end.