Burnout | 9 Steps to Recovery from Adrenal fatigue
Adrenal burnout or adrenal fatigue has seen many a brilliant person be brought to halt. I see many patients with adrenal fatigue or burnout in my practice. Below is a protocol that many people have benefited from.
1. Remove your stressors
This is the most important of all the steps. Integrative medicine is not satisfied with only masking the symptoms of the problem or disease. It strives to find the cause of that problem or disease and allow the body to heal from that.
Normalizing emotional stressors such as financial problems, marital, family and relationship issues does not help adrenal burnout or to recover from the slow-burning effects they present.
Almost alongside the removal of stressors is the importance of getting enough sleep. There is wisdom in following a set sleeping pattern, which includes going to bed by 22:00 every night.
Why? The adrenals kick in for a second round of energy after 23:00 to keep one going until 01:00 if we are awake. This puts tremendous stress on them which is then carried forward into the next day.
The adrenals work hard between 22:00 and 01:00 to repair the body.
Between 06:00 and 08:00 we find a rise in cortisol levels that is intended to wake us up and get us going for the day. Waking up after 08:00 is best if we want to follow the natural rhythms of the body.
3. Avoid caffeine if you have adrenal fatigue
Coffee and tea are stimulants and can interrupt our sleep patterns. There are several alternatives such as Rooibos or herbal teas that one can consider.
Try the following tea mix to help you relax before bed.
Saintly sleep tea
This tea is a potent stress fighter and will help your body to let go of tension easily. St. Johns Wort can negate the pill, so be careful of that one if you are on it.
- 25 ml Spearmint
- 12.5 ml St. John’s Wort
- 12.5 ml Chamomile
- 5 ml Valerian Root
- 12.5 ml Passionflower
- 2.5 ml Himalayan salt
- 12.5 ml Rosebud
Mix all of these ingredients well and keep in an airtight container
To make the tea, add a teaspoon into a defuser and add 200 ml water. Let steep for 3 - 4 minutes, pour and enjoy.
4. Avoid blue light
All artificial light can affect the body and the natural rhythms thereof. Blue light, in particular, is a culprit when it comes to disruption. As the sun sets, less blue light is perceived through the eyes. This triggers the release of the hormone of sleep, melatonin.
When we watch television, computer screens or cellphones, the blue light retards the natural release of melatonin which then disrupts our sleeping patterns.
A good idea is to install a blue-light filter on your phone and to invest in a pair of blue-light filter glasses if you have to use screen time after the sun has set.
5. Exercise as a Treatment for Adrenal Fatigue & Burnout
Yeah, exertion actually has beneficial effects on the adrenals. It is a good way of oxygenating the body and to deal with stress.
Even simple exercises can have a big impact on the health of the adrenals and on health overall.
A good idea is aiming to cover three broad categories when exercising:
- Aerobics - such as fast walking, stairs climbing, Nordic track, swimming, and treadmill.
- Anaerobics - such as weight lifting, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups
- Flexibility - such as stretching, yoga, and tai chi.
6. Adrenal Fatigue Supplementation
Here are 10 of our favourite supplements that can assist sluggish and burnt out adrenals recover and deal with chronic stress better:
10 supplements for adrenal burnout and fatigue.
- Vitamin C
- Licorice root
- B Vitamins
- Valerian Root
- Omega 3
7. Eating pattern
Eating breakfast truly is important. The adrenals secrete cortisol in order to increase blood sugar levels for the body to function if you are low on sugar. By having even just a small snack at breakfast, you can stop your body from trying to play energetic catch-up during the day.
Sometimes insulin secretion becomes dysfunctional if cortisol levels remain high constantly. This can put the body in a hypoglycemic state in the middle of the night. This is characterised by anxiety, night sweats and nightmares.
Poor diet has been marked as one of the leading causes of adrenal fatigue. The adrenals cannot fully recover if one does not put the correct nutrients into the body to affect the recovery. It’s much like putting watered-down petrol into your car.
There are a myriad diet programmes and ideas available today. Finding one that works for you is important. There is no one-size solution. Some of the general guidelines would be:
10 dietary tips for adrenal burnout and fatigue
- Always eat breakfast - before 10:00
- Combine a small amount of whole grains with a generous portion of protein and fat at every meal except for bedtime
- A healthy breakdown of food is: 20-25% whole grain, 30-40% vegetables, 10-15% beans, nuts and seeds, 10-20% animal food, 10-15% good fat, and 5-10% whole fruits
- Whole fruits are permitted in lunch and dinner except for banana, figs and fruits in the melon family
- Sprinkle sea salt or Himalayan rock salt over food if blood pressure is normal
- Avoid food that is high in potassium such as bananas and dried figs
- Start each morning with a full glass of water and half a teaspoon to one teaspoon of sea salt or Himalayan rock salt
- Eat 5 to 6 frequent small meals instead of 3 large meals
- Take a small healthy snack high in protein and fat such as cottage cheese or nuts before sleep if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night
- Take a small snack of carbohydrate such as whole grain bread before sleep if you have difficulty in falling asleep
9. Emotional hygiene
Making sure that the mind is on board with the healing and revival of the adrenals is very important.
Try and introduce a level of mindfulness in your day where you take time out to rest and to be.
Our adrenals work hard to keep us going. Keeping them healthy is one of the biggest investments that you can make in your life.