The last couple of weeks have been super busy for me! I was down in Los Angeles for a week visiting friends and doing a few things for work. I forget how crazy that place can be sometimes! Lots going on, lots to look at. I've mentioned before that I love the business of cities. I always come back invigorated and inspired. They are so many people who are hustling and grinding for their dreams. That being said, I can also be extremely draining and overwhelming, I came back from LA and went straight to Vancouver for a big health expo. I am definitely feeling the effects of stress from travelling, not eating 100% and not sleeping as much as I should be.
Adrenal fatigue was something that I have been dealing with for the last couple of years. I really started to notice it taking a tole when I was living in Vancouver. I was working at a gym, a wellness clinic and doing my own online nutrition plans and blog posts. I was getting up at 4:30 am and working from 5:30 am to 8 pm some nights. My favourite motto was "I'll sleep when I'm dead". I could not have been more wrong. I couldn't focus on the work that were important to me and I felt lethargic and hungover most of the time, without even having a drink!
When I moved back to the island, I knew I had to make some changes or I was going to make myself sick. I picked a few things to focus on and went from there. I'll share a few things that have been making a huge difference in my energy levels, mood and sleep quality.
I make sure to get enough sleep. I cannot stress how important sleep is. On average I was getting about 5-6 hours per night, sometimes less. Now I try and make sure I get at least 8-9 hours. That's where my body feels the best. Lack of sleep increases your cortisol levels by up to 30%! Cortisol throws off blood sugar levels and can cause your body to hold onto fat. It also throws off two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which are your hunger hormones. Ever notice you want to eat more when you're sleepy?
I cut back on coffee. I was probably averaging about 3-4 coffees per day. I felt like I needed it to get me through the day. Coffee stresses the adrenal glands and again like lack of sleep, causes an increase in cortisol levels. I still have my coffee, but try and stick to 1-2 cups in the morning before 10 am with food. In the afternoon, if I need a boost I try a decaf latte or opt for one of my adaptogenic tonics.
I started taking adaptogens and supplements to support my adrenals. I currently take a few different supplements to help with adrenal fatigue:
Vitamin C: Helps to reduce physical and psychological effects on the body. It helps to lower the level of cortisol in the body. I take 1000 mg after I workout to help bring my cortisol levels down post exercise.
B-Complex: B vitamins help to boost energy levels. They are often burnt up fairly quickly in times of stress. I take this mid morning with my breakfast. I also get a vitamin b12 shot once per month to top up.
Magnesium: This is one of my favourite supplements to take before bed. It helps to calm the nervous system and relax the muscles. It also helps you get into a deeper sleep.
Maca Root: I have been using maca root power periodically throughout the years and love it to help balance hormones. Maca acts as an adaptogenic herb that helps your body deal with stress levels. I usually blend some into my coffee in the morning or add it into my smoothie.
Working out less. This one is super hard. I used to push myself, even if I was feeling tired and drained. I did lots of interval training and running, which can actually be counter productive if you are experiencing adrenal fatigue. I try to incorporate more gently versions of exercise like walking or yoga. If I truly feel like I need a rest day I take it and don't feel guilty about it. I think with social media being so prevalent it gets easy to get into the comparison mode and see other people working out up to two times per day and feeling like you need to do that as well. I had to let that do in order to heal. This also helped with my relationship to working out. It didn't feel like a chore and I moved by body in ways that felt good.
These are just a few things that helped me. We are all so different in our own healing journeys. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to see what works. It also takes a lot of discipline to change your habit and be consistent.
I don't think my health journey will ever really end. Our bodies change as we get older and go through different experiences. We need to nourish them in different ways. If you are on your journey and maybe feeling frustrated, I feel you and am here for you. Keep going and always reach out for help if you need it!
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