There’s exhaustion and then there’s extreme exhaustion which can not be fixed by a coffee or an early night. This is often diagnosed as Adrenal Fatigue!

To be correctly diagnosed, you should complete a 24 hour urine test which will give you an accurate look at what your cortisol levels are doing throughout a 24 hour period. After taking this test myself, I discovered that my body had stopped producing normal levels of cortisol and was already in conversation mode. My adrenal glands produced just enough cortisol each day to basically keep me alive but they were completely overworked. Since being diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue, I’ve had to implement a few lifestyle changes to bounce back. I already eat well, exercise 6 days per week and try my best to practice meditation daily – what I realised though, is that once adrenal fatigue has set in, it’s a real uphill battle to recover from and this just wasn’t enough.

I have a very A type personality – I’m constantly on the go and I love my job so I work a lot at night. I have so many goals and things I want to achieve but with this, comes the risk of burnout. In January, I started seeing a Naturopath and a Nutritionist, who both agreed that I was going to have to let a few things go temporarily to get on top of this. In this post, I’m going to give you a run down on the changes that I made to help me bounce back from Adrenal Fatigue –

RE-THINK YOUR DIET

I was a three-shots-per-day kind of girl for more than 6 years so being told to remove caffeine from my diet for a few weeks was torture. Nonetheless, I knew I had to make some big, uncomfortable changes and coffee was the most important and probably the one thing that contributed the most to me being able to bounce back as quickly as I did. I removed caffeine from my diet for 3 weeks and replaced my usual flat white with a protein smoothie to curb any cravings.

As for my diet, prior to Adrenal Fatigue, I followed a paleo-based diet which limited whole grains and as a result, kept my daily calories on the lower side for me. After being diagnosed, I included more gluten-free carbohydrates into my diet such as Quinoa, Teff, Sorghum, Buckwheat and Kamut. When we don’t consume enough calories throughout the day, this can force our body to increase cortisol so you want to ensure that you aren’t putting yourself into a calorie deficit unnecessarily.

RE-EVALUATE EXERCISE

I’ve heard that some people can successfully get back on their feet simply by taking 2-3 rest days between workouts but I had to stop my usual workouts for a minimum of two weeks. For some, this can extend out to a few months just depending on how severe the fatigue is. As someone who has consistently exercised for the past 3 years, stopping altogether was a little daunting because I mainly exercise to keep my mental health in check. What I did instead was turn to YouTube where I stumbled across @SarahBethYoga. Sarah has an incredible restorative yoga playlist dedicated to targeting stress & anxiety. I did the same guided 30min practice every day for the first week and I can’t begin to explain how euphoric I felt after each session. After this, I made my way through her 7 day yoga challenge and haven’t looked back since – I still turn to Sarah’s channel regularly!

It took a good month of consistent restorative yoga before I felt like I could attempt HIIT style workouts and when I did, I started very slowly by doing 20secs work and 40secs rest and improving on this ever so slowly each week. Exercise is brilliant for your mind & body but sometimes, more intense forms of exercise can stress the body even more which is not ideal in this situation.

PRIORITISE SLEEP

When life gets busy, the time we go to bed usually gets pushed back which creates a real knock-on effect. I had to make a conscious effort to go to bed before 10pm and switch of all devices at least 1 hour before shut eye. Studies have shown that we tend to get a second wind after 10pm so making sure you are asleep by this time is key to getting enough good quality sleep.

INTRODUCE ADAPTOGENIC HERBS

My Naturopath suggested a monthly dose of liquid herbs to help support my adrenals which worked like a charm. If you are unable to work 1-ON-1 with a Naturopath to formulate a specific blend for you, Cort RX by ATP Science is an incredible product which contains adaptogenic herbs to help combat our stress response in a very similar way.

INCLUDE MORE SELF-CARE

On top of my daily meditation, I also incorporated weekly acupuncture sessions for 1 month. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that is said to work very effectively to reduce chronic stress plus it forces you to lie in a meditative state for a significant amount of time which has huge benefits of its own.

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