Rev up your engine.
How are you doing? How many times do we hear “Busy” or “Exhausted”. With 1,000 things to do per day while checking Instagram, no wonder we are tired. Our modern lifestyles are born of busyness but there are some simple steps to reload and relax.
One of the culprits of fatigue is stress. Stress causes our bodies to operate in a sustained level of high cortisol, or “fight or flight” mode. Over time this wears out our adrenals that are in charge of our emergency source of energy. When this happens, an experience of chronic low energy will be the norm. This is commonly referred to as adrenal fatigue.
There is a range of tired from having a normal busy day, stayed up late one night to needing to catch up on some sleep. A more serious exhaustion can be found from a chronic state of fatigue or adrenal fatigue or scientifically named HPA Axis Dysregulation. If this fatigue has been going on for awhile, symptoms may include:
- Poor Memory
- Abdominal Fat
- Tiredness upon waking
- Low body temperature
- Need for coffee or other stimulants
- Craving for salt
- Get colds frequently
- Easily stressed
- Feel dizzy when standing
1. Catch the Zzz’s
Regardless of the severity of your symptoms the place to start is with a good night’s sleep. We spend a third of our lives asleep so getting into a routine can help get the 8 hours that is ideal for most people. During sleep, your body is busy cleaning up shop and getting ready for a new day. An epsom salt bath with lavender can help up your magnesium, relax your muscles and the lavender will stimulate your limbic system and bliss you out.
Some of sleep hygiene routines to get into are turning off electronics at least an hour before bed, making sure there are no laptops, televisions or desks with a piles of paperwork on them in your bedroom. Keep a consistent bedtime like 10pm, lights out. The bedroom should be a relaxing environment, a comfy bed, a good book, dim lighting and a fluffy pillow to get cozy with. Draw the curtains, lower your eye mask and off you go in dreamland.
2. Low Carb
Adrenal fatigue and blood sugar dysregulation go hand in hand. Keeping your blood sugar steady will help calm the body so maintaining a low carb, low sugar, and low caffeine diet of all kinds really helps fatigue…sorry chocolate. Eat a high protein breakfast and every few hours if you are hypoglycemic. Just say no to refined flours, vegetable oils and sugars.
Regulating your blood sugar alone can help tremendously with exhaustion and even help with getting more sleep. When we are trying to forcibly raise our blood sugar to keep up with our hectic schedules, it is usually caffeine, processed carbs and the ruler of the quick fix, sugar. Although it is tempting, it will make the problem worse in the long run. Avoiding added sugars is critical to keeping your insulin and cortisol low and even throughout the day. You will avoid the sugar crash after that machiatto and scone at 10am.
Focusing of low glycemic foods like green leafy veggies and all vegetables, will give you the enzymes, vitamins and minerals to give you sustained carb power with proteins and healthy fats on on the side. Try a superfood smoothy for a burst of dense nutrition. As always, keep the added fruit on the lower side.
3. Pump it up
Exercise is so important for health overall. Moving is one thing that we do less and less of since we are chained to our electronic devices. Standing up every 20 minutes has been found to avoid the effects of sedentary work. Moderate exercise is best a few times a week along with the simple act of walking every day.
Many are caught in an extreme sport mode. Watch to make sure that is not draining your energy. Overtraining causes stress to the body. This can aggravate and tip the scales over to adrenal fatigue. For those hard core fitness fanatics, you will have to slow it down and get into some restorative movements like yoga or walking or just take a break altogether.
4. Extra Help
If you are feeling completely at a standstill, it may be time to reach out for help. Finding counsel and working with your healthcare professional can be helpful in putting all of the pieces together with fresh eyes. Sometimes when we really are fatigued, it is hard to get the energy to get off of the couch. If that is where you are, pull that phone close and let your fingers do the walking.
These are a group of herbs, roots and fungi that are great normalizers and work to bring the body back in balance. As the name says, they help the body adapt, cause no harm or stress. These unique healers magically increase energy or decrease it depending on what your body needs. It helps the body in supporting all of the major systems; great for soothing the stress response, increasing immunity, brain health, etc.
If you are just getting started or have been doing all of the right things but haven’t completely improved with increasing energy and lowering stress, try working with adaptogens. There are some great companies like Sunhorse Energy that create high quality and well studied blends of adaptogenic herbal formulas. They have separate formula’s for men and women as well as a new scientifically produced liposomal formula that can penetrate the blood cells in 30 seconds.
Some powerful adaptogens:
- Ginseng – most potent for antistress, antioxidant, antidepressant, lower blood pressure.
- Holy Basil – fight fatigue and stress, boost immune system, regulate blood sugar.
- Ashwagandha – Ayurvedic medicine, regulates immune system and lowers cortisol.
- Astragalus – Immune booster, reduce cortisol and heal and repair body from stress.
- Licorice root – increase endurance, protects thymus, help depression and leaky gut.
- Jiaogulan – antioxidant, regulates cholesterol, enhances cardiovascular and immunity.
- Rhodiola – relieves anxiety, protects from oxidative stress, increase oxygen and memory.
- Reishi mushrooms – slow aging, improve cognition, detoxifier, and immune booster.
The thing that we always put last should be brought to the front of the list. The value of relaxation and happiness is effective in refilling the tank. People that struggle with low energy are likely overworked and severely fatigued and need some TLC.
- Call a friend that is upbeat.
- Say grace or be grateful for your food can be a mini self care moment.
- Make an appointment to get a massage.
- Reserve a weekend at the beach.
- Find a club that has open karaoke night.
- Volunteer at the food bank or volunteer for Meals on Wheels.
- Take up journaling or a Gratitude Journal.
- Sit in the sun for a minute and breathe deeply will lower your cortisol.
- Take a walk at the park or hike in the forest.
- Go to the library and get a new book from an author that you love.
- Treat yourself to a superfood smoothy or a dinner out on the town.
- Go to the movies with a friend.
- Play with your dog or find a dog park and make some furry friends.
7. All you need is love
A 75 year old Harvard study called the “Grant Study” followed the lives of a select group of men from childhood in 1938 to adulthood. They had a detailed yearly check up to see how they were doing. It turns out that people that have strong connections to family and friends lead longer, healthier lives. The men that were most satisfied in their relationships in their 50’s were healthier well into their 80’s. The study goes on to show the negative effects of loneliness so reach out to someone you love or smile at the person next to you at the convenience store. Chances are they are needing connection as much as you are.
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