Come on, Body!!
We push our precious bodies so far and they work so hard for us! I don’t know about you, but I will push my body until it collapses (12-15 hour days sometimes). I am a typical overachiever– I was pregnant in grad school and had a 2 year old, and still pushed myself to finish early. It is no surprise after giving everything else in my life 100% of my energy that at some point, my body screamed out….STOP!
It is funny how it happens. We are going along, everything is fine, working hard and pushing ourselves. 4-6 hours of sleep is enough, right?
Your body will figure out a way to knock you off your feet, if you are not listening to it. Unfortunately, for some people, that means their body stops working properly. That’s what happened to me.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- You feel slightly more tired than usual and no amount of sleep seems to help you catch up.
- You’e exhausted instead of exhilarated after a workout.
- You’re cranky for no apparent reason.
- You wake up feeling more tired than you were when you went to bed the night before.
- You’re tired and cranky all day, then around 6-7pm, you get an enormous surge of energy, and all of a sudden you could clean your whole house and do all your food prep. Everyone else is sleeping and you have been tired all day long (wishing you were in bed), yet now you couldn’t go to bed no matter how hard you try.
All of these symptoms and more are signs of adrenal fatigue. Adrenal Glands are tiny organs that live on top of your kidneys and help to regulate the HPA (Hypothalamus – Pituitary-Axis). They regulate hormones and are responsible for cortisol and adrenaline production. When you push your body too hard and don’t give it proper food and rest, these tiny organs can start misbehaving, producing only tiny bits of cortisol in the morning, leaving you sluggish and tired, and higher amounts in the evening, giving you that much needed surge of motivation at the WRONG time of day! Exercise will push these glands to produce adrenaline which will further tax them, leaving you more tired than when you started.
Boy, oh boy, what a complicated mess!!
So what do we do when we find it nearly impossible to get our heavy body out of bed every morning? How do we heal these precious organs and get out of our incredible bodies way so it can heal itself?
1. Make sleep your #1 priority!
(Side note: I was diagnosed with stage 4 adrenal fatigue a few years ago. When my doctor told me this, I literally laughed in her face. I told her, “You know I have 2 children under 3 years old, and you want me to sleep 8-9 hours a night??”).
This is the most important thing you can do for your body. Our bodies heal when they are at rest, if you are not sleeping, you are not healing. In my new book coming out in December, , I talk about sleep training yourself. That’s right–sleep training is not just for babies. As adults, we fall into bad sleep habits and we need to train ourselves to get a healthy amount of sleep.
2. Stop any physical exertion that you can.
Yeah, you read that right. You need to take a hiatus from the gym, and whatever high-impact exercise you’re doing. No HIIT, no CrossFit. You still need to move a little though, so walking is a great thing, as long as you’re not powerwalking or tackling huge hills. Around the neighborhood or your local rail trail will suffice– nothing too hard and do not push yourself! If at any point you feel yourself getting that adrenaline surge, you are further taxing those tiny organs, your adrenal glands.
When you skip meals, your blood sugar tanks. When your blood sugar gets too low, your body overcompensates by producing adrenaline. You are not running on your “stored fat”; you are running on adrenaline. Excess adrenaline will get stored in your fat cells as toxins. You are not doing yourself any favors by skipping meals. Eat regular meals and keep your body running on glucose and fat, not adrenaline! Give those adrenal glands a rest. Be sure to eat high quality foods in amounts enough to keep you satisfied all day. (Check out my Whole30 program–it’s the perfect way to hit that target.)
4. Practice some self love!
You have pushed your body to it’s breaking point. Now, it is time to give it some grace, and for goodness sake, #loveyourself. Self love looks different for everyone. It could be spa pampering. It could be having someone take your kids off your hands so you can curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. It could be having your partner take the night shift you can go to bed early. Whatever it is, make time for it. Make time for YOU.
5. Get a coach.
Find someone (if it isn’t me, of course) that can help you through this process. It is a long road but one worth taking, especially if you have someone leading you every step of the way!
If this sounds like you, please reach out. I would love to help you heal! You can book a free 15 minute call with me right HERE.
Be well, my friends.
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