Restore Your Energy: the stress connection & how to nourish your adrenals

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Restore Your Energy: the stress connection & how to nourish your adrenals

We’re officially into the fall season.  It finally set in for me here in London when my twins Ben and Elise spent an entire walk home amazed by leaves on the ground.  They were too little last fall to remember them and suddenly there was a bunch of these beautiful multi-colored (and crunchy!) things all over the sidewalk to explore.  Yes, summer is over…but now we’re headed into the cozy time of the year – another really special time.
 
We’re now in part 3 of my ENERGY series, and this new season is actually THE perfect time to begin slowing down and recharging your batteries.
 
In the last newsletter I covered thyroid and how to rev your inner engines naturally.  Today we’re covering its best friend in the hunt for energy – your adrenals. 
 
In a nutshell, your adrenals make your stress hormones.  They were made to help you run away from a lion thousands of years ago, or turn around and fight it if you decided to.  
 
Today thankfully we don’t usually have to run away from lions, but we also don’t have long stretches of time between a stressful life-and-death event like that where we’re relaxing in caves, walking in nature, and singing together around a fire.  

Instead of these little spurts of high-stress, we now have relentless low/medium grade stress everyday.

The crazy thing is, our bodies can’t tell the difference between an actual lion fight and the kind of daily stressors like work deadlines, sleepless nights as a young mom, or an overwhelming to-do list. 
 
Your body responds to stress one way – making and sending out lots of stress hormones. 

If the levels of stress are too high, or go on for too long you can end up with the following issues as examples:

  • PMS
  • High blood sugars
  • Easy weight gain
  • Getting sick more often (and taking longer to heal)
  • Craving stimulants like sugar, caffeine & chocolate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Having a hard time concentrating
  • Exhaustion
  • Inflammation anywhere

If you’re checking off lots on this lists don’t worry!  There ARE solutions and it’s possible to bounce back to your fully relaxed and energetic state with the right support.  
 
Top Tips To Balance Your Stress Response:
 

  1. Build a rhythmic sleep-wake cycle – this means generally going to bed and waking up around the same time.  Yes, weekends or days off work are sometimes different if you have a better social life than I do but just like babies, your body THRIVES on a rhythmic sleep routine.  Doing this will it itself help your body balance it’s stress response!

 

  1. Address insomnia – if you have a hard time falling asleep, or staying asleep through the night a lot of the time it’s linked to stress.  This can be from of a busy mind let loose with thoughts, being hungry without knowing it, or your physical body just not being able to shut down.  Magnesium is a really nice, gentle tool to help your muscles and nervous system relax.  There are also great herbal sedatives to help you wind down as you build in lifestyle tools to address your main stressors. 

 

  1. Eat regularly – I can’t stress this enough, no pun intended ;).  If you go longer than 2-3 hours before a meal your body starts pumping out stress hormones.  What a waste of precious energy!  And, when your body is stressed, the first thing it’s going to do with the meal you finally eat is put it right into storage, just in case it doesn’t get another meal for a while.  This knee-jerk response to a skipped meal is often why people don’t lose weight when they cut down on food or skip meals.   

 

  1. Embrace adaptogenic herbs – this category of herbs is one of my favorites.  They have the magical ability to calm you down when you feel stressed, and help you feel energized when you feel tired.  AMAZING.  They’re also very safe in general, although you should always consult with your licensed healthcare provider before taking them to evaluate interactions and contraindications for your particular case.  Adaptogenic herbs include licorice, ashwagandha, astragalus, rhodiola rosea, eleuthrococcus, ginseng, and others.

 

  1. Ease off the stimulants – If you find yourself reaching for coffee, sugar, or chocolate to boost your energy (or just survive the day) your adrenals could use some nourishing.  One of my mentors once said “if you’re feeling tired and your fuel (aka energy level) is low, why would you step harder on the gas pedal?!”   I had literally never thought of coffee that way.   Instead of using stimulants to burn through precious gas, fuel up your adrenals with nutrients they need like B vitamins, Magnesium and vitamin C. 

 

Take Action Now

  1. Which of the tips I shared seemed the most interesting and doable to you?  That’s a great one to start with.  
  2. Simply put it on your priority list for next week and enlist someone to help keep you accountable to your goal.

 

If you’ve been experiencing a lot of stress, feeling much more tired than usual or any of the symptoms I shared earlier and would like some gentle hands-on support I’m here for you.