Adrenal Fatigue - How to Beat the Burnout and Combat Stress

Alli Kelly

Do you ever get the feeling that something is just “off” with your mind and body? A couple of weeks ago, I woke up feeling physically exhausted and mentally wired at the same time. My body was ready to sleep for days, but my mind was racing and felt ready to flee at any moment. The feeling was somewhat alarming and had me really off balance, so I took five minutes to meditate and calm myself a bit. During that time, I reflected on my recent life events and realized I had been living in a constant state of stress for days. What I was experiencing was adrenal fatigue. 

Why should I care about adrenals? 

Your adrenal glands are located at the top of your kidneys. According to Johns Hopkins, “adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions.” One of the hormones your adrenal glands produce is cortisol. You may recognize this is the big, bad stress hormone. So, if you are experiencing chronic stress, your adrenal glands are working overtime to produce cortisol, and you will eventually fatigue them, leading to burnout. 

Should I see a doctor? 

It’s definitely an option. If you are experiencing the symptoms below, it could be wise to see your physician. Problems can be diagnosed through blood work and special testing to see if your adrenals produce abnormal hormones. Adrenal fatigue could also be a sign of an underlying health issue.

Common signs of adrenal burnout

  • Having trouble sleeping at night/waking up in the morning
  • Feeling anxious all the time
  • Craving salt or craving sugar
  • Feeling exhausted and alert at the same time
  • Weight loss or hair loss

Now let’s recover:

Exercise — It is important to move your body regularly. You don’t need to go to the gym and squat 200 pounds. A walk outside, yoga, or a bike ride is perfect for a reset. 

Intentionally relax — Don’t sit on the couch watching Netflix, having a conversation, and scrolling on Instagram at the same time. This is about active rest, where you truly put your mind on pause, allowing it to simply just be. Meditation, hot baths or showers, yoga, and deep breathing exercises are all great options to relax intentionally.

Supplements — Sometimes, you need a little extra something. Especially if you are experiencing burnout, you may need to utilize these along with the other methods listed to jumpstart your body’s healing. Here are a few supplements that help adrenal fatigue and can combat it in the future

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • B5 Complex
  • Omega-3
  • Ashwagandha
  • Rhodiola

Diet changes — You can make a few small tweaks to your diet to help with adrenal fatigue. 

  1. Don’t skip meals. Our bodies are built for rhythms and routines. Skipping meals will only throw off your body’s natural rhythm more. 
  2. Avoid sugary foods.
  3. Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Things like leafy greens, fish, berries, sweet potatoes, and ginger will keep inflammation—which only adds to adrenal burnout—at bay.

Express gratitude — Starting your day with a list of things you are grateful for can significantly change your mindset. Even a simple reminder to go back and read that list throughout the day will keep you focused on the positives in life and the things that bring you joy and peace.

Sleep — It’s something we’ve been told since we were young: your body needs rest. It’s why as children we were forced to nap multiple times throughout the day. During sleep, our minds and bodies are working overtime to reset, repair, and heal from things like adrenal fatigue. Give your body the space to do this. 

Routine — As I mentioned earlier, our bodies and our minds were designed to find peace in routine and rhythms. If you’re feeling out of sorts, you may need to take a beat and restructure your day in a way that is sustainable long term. Making sure you’re waking up and going to sleep at about the same time every day, along with having meals at the same time will help. 

While taking time to reflect on what “burned” me out, it all came down to not putting myself first. I regularly struggle with it, but experiencing the physical effects of this was the last straw for me. I’ve since been prioritizing myself, spending time alone in the quiet, and utilizing many of the techniques I’ve listed above. I can confidently say they are working, and I’ll be keeping them in my back pocket for a rainy day.

Alli Kelly

"Feminism is for everyone. We all need to take an active part in deconstructing the way the patriarchy has shaped us as women. Get educated, get out there, and make a difference for yourself and your sisters."
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