If you’ve ever been under stress for a while and found yourself feeling tired and weak all the time for seemingly no good reason, there actually was a reason. Your body’s production of hormones is responsible for a large part of how you feel from day to day, and adrenal glands are responsible for mobilizing the hormones that help you cope with stress. When your system is over-taxed by too much pressure, it becomes less effective at producing these hormones. Although adrenal fatigue isn’t something that can be fixed with a prescription, there are proactive ways to take control of the biological processes that result in stress-related symptoms.
As implied by its name, chronic fatigue is a common symptom, but it’s not the only one. When you’re experiencing too much stress for your body to handle, you may also notice a few of these health effects:
- Fluctuating weight. Either you’ll experience a drastically reduced appetite and sudden weight loss, or you’ll find yourself craving certain foods (often salt and sugar). When the body detects stress, it thinks it needs to either conserve or replenish its energy stores, which is why this happens.
- Difficulty recovering from illness. Severe stress can weaken your immune system, making your body vulnerable to illness and slower to bounce back from it.
- Trouble concentrating or thinking clearly. It feels a lot like sleep deprivation, but can happen even if you’re technically getting enough rest.
Some people also report joint pain, dizziness, dry skin, low blood pressure, or other symptoms.
One of the main ways to deal with adrenal fatigue is through diet. Certain foods promote healthy hormone regulation, while others inhibit proper adrenal function. Some foods to include in your diet are:
- Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts
- Cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts (cruciferous vegetables)
- Fruits with Vitamin C
Basically, you’re looking for nutrient-dense foods with healthy fats, fiber, and protein. But the foods you don’t eat can be equally important, so here are a few to avoid.
- Caffeine (It may feel like you have to drink an entire pot of coffee to be ready for the day, but this works against your recovery in the long run.)
- Sugar (or artificial sweeteners)
- Trans fats (hydrogenated oils)
- Processed foods
Finally, don’t make the mistake of keeping your body healthy but neglecting your mind. Taking steps to mitigate stress is the most obvious way to prevent adrenal fatigue, and this may require a few lifestyle adjustments. If you find yourself feeling constantly overcommitted, learn to say no. If you’re surrounded by toxic or negative people, make some new friends. If you’re constantly on the go, intentionally set aside some time to relax. Doing too much and burning out won’t help anyone.
Healing is a process, and recovering from adrenal fatigue won’t happen overnight – but commit to a healthy lifestyle and you should find yourself feeling like your normal self again in a month or two.