What’s meant to be a time of relaxation spent with your nearest and dearest has instead become a stressful reality for most.
Lack of time, lack of money, and mounting pressure to meet obligations (gifting included) takes the relaxation right out of the holiday season. There’s a big chance this article pertains to you and it’s important to find ways to reduce your holiday stress and fight the fatigue that comes along with it.
And, it’s not just the short term impact, the stress and anxiety of the holiday season manifest in symptoms that can affect you for months down the road.
This is a time of year that directly contributes to adrenal burnout, something with not a ton of credibility in the conventional medical community, but has very real symptoms to those who suffer from it. The symptoms of adrenal burnout vary and for many suffering from it, they are told to suck it up, or that they are just going through a phase, they need to rest, or they need to pull themselves out of the funk they’re in.
It’s not quite that easy.
To understand the impact, note that the adrenal glands are vital to your metabolism, regulating your cortisol, preventing inflammation (which leads to cancer and disease), and regulating energy levels. When you hear talk of “fight or flight” responses in the body, your adrenals are directly involved. Your adrenals secrete the hormones that put you in “survival” mode and it’s easy to understand with all we have going on, how these adrenals eventually become fatigued from constant action.
Adrenal fatigue is common this time of year, but you can prevent!
It can take years for adrenal damage to happen and it can take longer time than you may expect to reverse it. Expect 6 months as a general time frame for reversing the affects of adrenal burnout and that is time spend nurturing and caring for yourself first.
Not suffering from full on adrenal burn out, but definitely feeling the stress? That’s okay too, these tools will help you bounce back and prevent it.
Start with an adrenal supportive diet, if you can stick with this plan through the holiday season (making a little room for indulgences) you will be taking a great step to prevent adrenal issues
A diet rich in nutrient dense foods should be your first step. Eliminate the gluten, dairy, refined and added sugars, processed foods, and unhealthy fats.
- Leafy greens and vegetables – Provide essential nutrients that nourish and heal the body
- Start your day with protein – 20 grams before lunch will nourish and fuel the body through out the day
- Eat regularly throughout the day – If you have adrenal fatigue or to prevent, you should eat 4-5 small meals throughout the day. Eat mindfully and slowly.
- Add in healthy fats – grass fed butter, olive oil, avocados, pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed beef, and wild caught salmon are great choices
- Choose foods rich in vitamin C – Bell pepper, kale, citrus fruits, broccoli are all foods you should consume to ensure levels of vitamin C, a vitamin which is stored primarily in the adrenal glands and is used in the production of all of the adrenal hormones.
- Use sea salts like celtic, Himalayan, Hawaiian as these salts contain beneficial trace minerals that will help your adrenals recover. Adrenal fatigue in particular reduces a hormone in the body that is responsible for salt regulation. Therefore, consuming REAL salt helps many people feel better.
Supplements will support your healing and investing in these can greatly benefit you:
Supplements can be a critical part of your healing, in particular to support and provide extra nourishment. You can discuss with your practitioner which options or combinations may be best for you, but I have found all of these recommendations to be helpful for adrenal support and healing.
- Tulsi Tea & chill out on the coffee/caffeine – This adaptogen aka anti-stress herb works to bring the body into balance and is my go-to in the office and at home. I recommend a cup or two daily to treat anxiety, stress, and fatigue. Replacing a cup of coffee with a cup of tulsi can do wonders for your adrenals!
- Pure Encapsulation Magnesium Glycinate or Natural Calm Magnesium Powder – Experts estimate that 95% or more of us are magnesium deficient due to depleted soil levels and increased stress. The body uses extra magnesium during times of stress and especially needs added magnesium during times of adrenal fatigue.
- Pure Encapsulations B Complex – B vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and crucial for adrenal health. They also play an important role in cellular metabolism, improving metabolic pathways that boost your energy levels and reduce fatigue.
- Gaia Adrenal Support – When you’re burning the candle at both this blend helps your body maintain a healthy response to stress, contributing to overall well-being and contains some of my favorite herbs for stress response, including the adaptogen Ashwanganda, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, and Schisandra.
- Pure Encapsulations Ester Vitamin C – As mentioned earlier, the highest concentration of vitamin C is stored in the adrenals and is utilized by the adrenal glands to produce adrenal hormones, in particular cortisol. Therefore during adrenal burnout and times of stress, vitamin C is rapidly depleted. In turn, this depletion can lower immunity. You need a lot of vitamin C 2,000-4,000mg daily.
- Inner Peace Tonic – A cup of inner peace, sounds too good to be true, but this blend with calming Gynostemma tea, central nervous system support from Reishi mushroom, and mood enhancing Cacao powder really does bring a sense of peace for me during times of stress.
- Innate Response Multi-Vitamin One a Day – One daily capsule can support the overall health of your body, ensuring that your defenses to stress are maximized.
Beyond supplements & diet, your lifestyle choices can help you heal
- Get to bed by 10pm – Sleep between 10pm and 2am is restorative sleep and in particular for adrenal fatigue, staying up past 10:30-11pm makes it even more difficult to sleep as we often get a “second wind”. In addition to bed by 10pm, I recommend 8-10 hours per night
- Ease up on high intensity workouts and emphasize walking, meditation, and yoga which are more calming for the central nervous system. High intensity workouts can raise cortisol and can be resumed once you’re adrenals are healed.
- Get a Weekly Reflexology Foot Massage – For most of us, a massage is instantly relaxing and grounding, but on a deeper level, reflexology assists in balanding your hormone levels and endocrine system as well and has a direct impact on adrenal health.
- Yoga and Meditation – Having mindful practices is one of the best things you can do for self-care and stress management. Daily practices will actually increase your ability to regulate your emotions and central nervous system so you are much less affected by the commotion and energy around you. I always recommend that clients dowload the CALM.COM app which guides you through timed or open ended meditations with themes such as gratitude, self-esteem, happiness, and sleep.
- Address your stress – While you may not be able to quit your job or step away from your role as a parent (wink), you must find ways to prioritize yourself in the midst of your obligations. It could be a conversation with your boss, seeking additional support at home, having conversations with those around you to find support in giving yourself a break.
- Take a warm bath with Epsom Salt– A grounding practice like taking a hot soak will bring you back to center and is a natural way to induce sleep. Epsom Salts are naturally occurring pure mineral compounds that are absorbed through the skin and ease stress and relax the body.
If you need additional support or believe you may be suffering from the dreaded adrenal burnout, the good news is, you CAN turn it around and I am here to support you. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.