A few years back I fried my adrenal glands. I ignored all the symptoms until I had no oomph, couldn’t stop gaining weight no matter what I tried, and was generally miserable. I had a new store to make profitable, young kids to raise, and I insisted on making all of our food and cleaning supplies from scratch as well as keeping the house perfectly clean. Too much maybe?
You might also be in danger of the same thing if you’re a workaholic or are under any kind of extra stress for a long period of time. This isn’t something that happens overnight, but takes a long time to develop.
Your cortisol levels run high for so long that eventually your body just gives up and starts shutting things down. Your fight-or-flight response is constantly activated. That response is a smart mechanism that shuttles energy to strengthen your senses and boost your adrenaline so that you can escape a not-safe situation. Trouble is, when that mechanism is always turned on your body becomes so tired that it can’t support basic functions like digestion. That’s when you start to have problems with your adrenals.
Signs your Adrenals need some Love
- belly fat that keeps on coming (adding a spare tire/looking pregnant when you’re not)
- waking up between 2 and 4 a.m.
- deep fatigue
- weak joints
- muscle aches and twitches
- brain fog
- thinning hair and skin
- increased allergies
- consistent body temperature below 98.6°
- low libido
Herbs for Adrenal Support
- passionflower: drink this tea 1- 2 hours before bedtime, but not if you’re pregnant
- maca: this is most effective when encapsulated and taken several times throughout the day
- Head to Heart: when your head is spinning and you can’t settle down, this tea will help ground you
- holy basil: drink this adaptogenic herb as a tea any time throughout the day, on its own or try Tension Tamer for more flavor
- licorice root: a naturally sweet root that is lovely on its own or blended with other calming herbs, can be drunk as much as you’d like
Other Ways to Support your Adrenal Glands
- Get lots of rest. So much rest that your guilt complex steps in. Tell it to be quiet, and then rest some more. That includes restful activities in addition to sleep.
- Eat foods that raise your core body temperature. Think comfort foods. Starch, salty, fatty comfort foods. At this point the last thing you want to do is put on more extra weight, but by giving your body what it needs to raise your body temperature it can then start healing to a point where it feels safe enough to release any excess fat.
- Eat enough. Again, stop worrying about weight gain and nourish your body. Eat what your grandma wants you to eat, and at the frequency she wants. She’s smart, so listen to her.
- Drop the caffeine. See the first bullet point. Plus, caffeine is hard on your adrenals.
- Don’t push. Even when you start feeling better. That’s how you got here in the first place. Take it slow.
- Legs at 90°. Lie down on the floor and put your calves up on the seat of a chair or couch. This creates a 90° bend in your knees. Rest there for 20 – 30 minutes. This position is really beneficial for your adrenals, plus you can use this time to nap, meditate, or read.
What Healed Adrenals looks like for Me
In addition to all of the above herbs, sleeping, resting, and eating, I also found help from taking a supplement made from desiccated adrenal glands. And I re-prioritized my life: kids, healthy food, and business are still important, and I let go of the perfectionism around a clean house and having to do everything myself.
It’s taken me a few years to fully recover, mostly due to stress levels wanting to creep up again. Hello, Life. I feel better, sleep better, have released most of the weight gained, and am a much happier person. Now, I pay attention to my body and when my adrenals start telling me I’m not treating them well I slow down and eat some pasta or popcorn.