Stressed, tired, feeling worn down, or burnt out? With our heavy work schedules, kids sports and extracurricular activities, basic household chores and projects, the holidays can be a stressful time. Add in-laws, shopping, cooking, and cleaning and you may be feeling frazzled, tired, and fatigued. Maybe you find yourself hitting the snooze button repeatedly or turning to that extra cup of coffee or energy drink to get you through the day?
Why Stress and Adrenal Fatigue Matters
Let’s be honest, stress sucks away your inner peace, well-being, and over all sense of happiness. It can mess with your mood, immune system, ability to think clearly, sleep, energy, and even impact your blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight. YES- stress does have a physical impact on our bodies and cells.
It can become so easy in our busy lives to forget to take care of ourselves. Often to the point of adrenal fatigue.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Your adrenal glands are part of your endocrine system and are responsible for producing a variety of hormones. One of the purposes of these hormones is the “fight or flight” response. Originally this response was designed so when we saw a bear (or any acute stressor), our bodies would physiologically adapt so we could fight off the bear or run away as fast as we could. After the threat was gone, our bodies returned to their natural and originals states (homeostasis).
However, in today’s society, we are constantly being bombarded with “threats” and for many, our bodies are not returning to homeostasis. This chronic stress means our adrenal glands are working over time and being taxed. Eventually, this leads to them not being able to adapt and produces hormones as well. Ultimately, we end up feeling the effects in our daily lives.
Can Adrenal Fatigue Be Reversed?
Thankfully, our adrenal glands are very forgiving, and with proper support and TLC, you can help nourish them back to health. Beyond removing the stressors and triggers in our lives, there are herbs, known as adaptogens, that can help your body adapt to stress and give your adrenal glands the love and support they need. They work to help regulate the effects of stress and bring the body back into balance.
Adaptogens to Support Adrenal Glands
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha helps to naturally modulate cortisol levels within the body. Normally, our highest levels of cortisol are released in the morning. In turn, Ashwaganda can help you feel more refreshed upon waking and restful at night. Balancing your natural sleep cycles can help restore your mood, energy levels, and help you thrive in your busy life. In addition, balanced cortisol levels can help decrease stress, anxiety, and even abdominal belly fat.
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Holy Basil is wonderful for soothing the nervous system, normalizing the adrenal glands, and balancing cortisol levels in the body. If you are experiencing chronic stress, this is great for pulling your mental, physical, and emotional self back into balance. In addition, its strong anti-inflammatory properties help combat the inflammatory effects of stress. By doing so, this helps calm ailments such as anxiety, evaluated blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Siberian Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
Rhodiola grows in cold, mountainous regions and has been used throughout time to help with the stress related to high altitudes and cold temperatures. It helps to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of our red blood cells. In doing so, energy, mental clarity, and physical performance improves. The rosavins in it are particularly helpful for reducing stress. In conjunction, it is very beneficial to our serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters which are responsible for making us joyful and happy.
Wild Oat Milky Seed (Avena sativa)
For those who continue to burn the candle at both ends, Milky Oat helps strengthen the nervous systems. It contains calcium and magnesium which are wonderful nutrients for the nervous tissue. It is particularly good for those who are feeling burnout due to anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Without it, continued nervous exhaustion can lead to impaired sleep, anxiety, and even a weakened libido.
Schisandra Berry (Schisandra chinensis)
Schisandra, also known as the Five Flavor Fruit, is wonderful at strengthening the adrenals without having a stimulating effect. It acts as a harmonizing tonic to enhance the bodies natural resistance, promote overall metabolic efficiency, adapt to stressful influences, and enhance mental clarity. It has also been found to have a positive effect on libido.