The Rise of the Modern-Day Burnout

March 22, 2018

 

Understanding the Rise of the Modern-Day Burnout

& A Guide to Managing Stress More Holistically.

 

 

What Are Your Adrenal Glands?

The adrenals sit on top of the kidneys, right under the rib cage, on the posterior (back) side. Your adrenal glands are each no bigger than a walnut, and weigh less than a grape, yet are responsible for one of the most important functions in your body; managing your stress. The adrenals are responsible for both short-term and long-term stress responses in the body - processes which regulate if the body is in a state of rest and digest; or fight and/or flight.

 

What is Adrenal Fatigue? 

When your adrenal glands are overtaxed for an extended period of time, a condition known as adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion sets in, which in turn, can set a cascade of disease processes into motion. One tell-tale sign of adrenal burnout is feeling chronically, and unexplainably fatigued. Other tell-tale signs can also include, but are not limited to: anxiety/depression, inability to cope in times of adversity and stress, emotional upsets causing complete exhaustion, unusual cravings for salt, more than usual shoulder tension, joint pain and soreness, extreme fatigue, perfectionism, mood swings, a tendency to cry easily… and so on.

 

How Stress Affects the Body:

When a person is stressed, the body reacts by initiating a stress response through the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. This is also called the “fight or flight” response, as the body arms itself to face what it perceives as danger. When this happens, the short-term stress hormone adrenaline is secreted from the adrenal system, which helps deal with acute stressors. If the body is chronically put under stress, it causes the adrenal cortex to increase the production and release of the long-term stress hormone called cortisol - which can have very adverse effects on health over an extended period of time.

 

Primary Components of Lifestyle Leading to Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Irregular sleeping patterns 

  • Poor food choices 

  • Constant travel and shift of time zones, and inconsistent eating and sleeping patterns

  • Using substances as stimulants when you’re tired, such as: alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and so on 

  • Being in chronically stressful situations, whether that be at work, at home, in your relationship and so on 

  • Having a type-A personality 

  • Not listening to your body when it’s asking for rest 

  • Lack of investing time and energy into enjoyable and rejuvenating activities 

  • Lack of investing time and energy on self-care and self-love practices 

  • Maladaptive stress management skills 

 

Common Signs & Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Tendency to gain weight with an inability or difficulty in losing it, especially in the waist region 

  • High frequency of getting the flu, and other respiratory conditions 

  • Reduced libido and sex drive 

  • Light-headedness/dizziness

  • Forgetfulness 

  • Clouded thinking 

  • Overall lack of energy 

  • Unexplainable body aches and pains 

  • A dependency on stimulants like coffee to stay awake during the day 

  • Pain in shoulders, upper back and neck 

  • Mild depression 

  • Anxiety and racing thoughts 

  • Lethargy 

  • Heart palpitations 

  • Shakiness 

  • Hypoglycemia 

  • Decreased ability to cope with and handle stress 

  • Increased PMS symptoms 

 Adaptogenic Herbs & Their Benefits for Adrenal Fatigue:

 

 

 

Maca

  • Maca has been used medicinally for centuries in South America 

  • Offers overall stress protection

  • Aids in sleep

  • Improves stamina, endurance and strength 

  • Aids hormonal balance 

  • Offers mental clarity 

  • Offers strong adrenal support 

 

 Rhodiola

  • Normalizes the production of certain hormones within the nervous system to invigorate a sluggish system, or calm an agitated one 

  • Offers adrenal support 

  • Promotes healthy physical responses to the body, such increased metabolism (which is often compromised with stress) and strengthens nervous system function and mental well-being 

  • Offers emotional and mental clarity 

  • Is calming and soothing for anxiety and depression

  • Acts like a hormone thermostat, especially as it pertains to coristol. Rhodiola literally helps balance the cortisol levels in your body, raising and lowering it as detected and needed 

 

 Ashwagandha

  • Has been used for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic medicine 

  • It helps increase vitality, energy, endurance and stamina 

  • Promotes longevity 

  • Tonifies and strengthens the immune system 

  • Modern herbalists have recommended its use for cases of insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and impotence associated with anxiety or exhaustion 

  • It enhances and supports endocrine function (the endocrine system that houses our hormones - hormones that regulate things like mood, sleep and alertness for example) 

  • Ayurvedic practitioners have long recommended the herb to treat exhaustion brought on by physical and mental strains 

  • Ashwagandha has an anti-anxiety effect, and has appeared to ease symptoms of depression 

 

 Holy Basil

 

Holy Basil functions as an adaptogen, enhancing the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress 

  • The compound Ocimum sanctum found in Holy Basil decreases stress hormone levels, corticosterone in particular 

  • Lower levels of corticosterone are associated with improved mental clarity and memory, and long-term, can reduce the risk of age-related mental disorders 

  • Holy Basil is a powerful antioxidant with demonstrated antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties (stress directly causes inflammation in the body, as well as an acidic environment within and throughout the body) 

*can be taken as homeopathic tinctures and/or powders

*source organic if possible and available to you 

*should rotate with different herbs to not build up a tolerance to their individual benefits 

*work with them for a few months, and then discontinue use for a few, and so on and so forth 

 A General To-Do List to Manage Adrenal Fatigue:

 

  • Go to bed no later than 10:30 PM, and wake up any time after 7:30-8:30 A

  • Regulate your eating schedule: always eat breakfast before 10:00 AM, even if it’s just a smoothie, have lunch around 1:00 PM and dinner no later than 6:00-7:00 PM. Feel free to eat some nutrient-dense snacks throughout the day to maintain your blood sugar levels (adrenal fatigue can cause hypoglycemic episodes throughout the day)

  • Use salt liberally (a high-quality sea salt) when eating: people with adrenal fatigue report low blood pressure, because high-stress reduces fluid content in the body, and since water goes where sodium is, this actively works to drain sodium storage in the body as well. For these reasons, you may feel unusual cravings for salt, listen to your body!

  • Be sure to get enough physical activity during the day, incorporating more low-impact movement with activities like swimming, yoga, Pilates, Barre, biking, fast-walking and so on 

  • Support liver function and detoxification to decrease stress load of those processes: look into working with things like activated charcoal, milk thistle, dandelion root, eating foods that are rich in sulfur, eating foods/drinking things that are rich in chlorophyll 

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages all across the board - as these act like stimulants and drain your adrenals and disrupt your natural sleep cycles and rhythms 

  • Avoid alcohol

  • Avoid processed foods, refined sugars, and deep-fried foods 

  • Avoid smoking

  • Avoid blue-spectrum lights after the sun has gone down (phones, televisions, screens) - there are settings available on smartphones to switch your screen to an orange light spectrum 

  • Incorporate a mindfulness and meditation practice into your daily life

  • Take more time for self-Love and self-care practices

  • Eat therapeutic and functional foods that will provide you with natural and sustainable energy, and that will support your adrenals for optimal function 

  • Incorporate more energetic and vibrant foods on your diet 

  • Introduce use of adaptogenic herbs in your diet to support your adrenal function, and to give your body more resources to better cope in times of stress and adversity 

  • Incorporate reframing exercises in your journaling practice, by paying attention to your internal dialogue, so that you can adopt more positive self-talk patterns and practices.

 

 

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