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Since I began to open up about my Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis, I've been getting a lot of emails of support (thank you!) and questions asking how I've managed my symptoms.
Just last week, I received this email, from a friend,
"I've been wrestling with the balance of my own needs vs. the needs of others lately. I have been working through PTSD and adrenal fatigue as well. I would love to know how you got through your A.F. Besides taking ashwaganda and cutting out caffeine, what else helped you?"
But to answer her question, I felt it was important to tackle the real reasons more and more women are feeling like shit, and that is the belief that we must be everything to everyone and do everything for everybody. I call this, Super Woman Syndrome, and it is not flattering.
Just because we can do it all does not mean we should. It's time to loosen the grips, accept our limitations and start taking better care of ourselves in the process!
But how do you do this? I take a Mind-Body-Soul approach to healing with a health team that has my holistic goals in mind. Your thoughts influence your choices, which influences your ability to find meaning which influences your thoughts, etc etc... So being aware of the interconnectedness of all the areas of your life is important in your healing process.
So, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is a stress-related condition. When you are trying to do it all for extended periods of time, you tax your endocrine system, depleting the hormones that help your body respond to stress.
With AFS, you feel exhausted, but you can't sleep. You feel fatigued, no energy or weird energy spikes and dips throughout the day. You wake up exhausted but catch a second wind in the late afternoon. You are more emotional than usual, you have fog-brain, you might experience weird cravings...
Sometimes healing looks like RADICAL SELF CARE
1) Surround yourself with a health care team that has your holistic goals in mind. A traditional doctor, a naturopath, acupressure/ acupuncture, Chinese herbalist, mental health counselor...what ever you feel is the best option. Be honest with them and tell them you are trying these different areas of health care...
2) Eliminate stress in your life. This includes saying no to anything that is not a priority, physical exercise, toxic relationships, etc... When you use the power of "NO," you fortify your energetic boundaries and create buffer around you. Physical exercise does actually stress your adrenals further. Instead, try meditation and trips to the sauna until you have restored your energy. Toxic relationships are very stressful and this is probably not a good time to engage in them. If you can, explain to these people that you are trying to recover from adrenal fatigue and will become a hermit for a few months.
3) Conduct a diet audit. Eliminate processed foods and replace them with whole foods. Cut out caffeine, alcohol and sugar. It can be hard to do, but you will notice a positive difference in your body after about a week.
Start using a probiotic -- believe it or not, the bacteria in your gut can influence your thought process and make you choose to cave to your sugar/carb/alcohol cravings...which keeps you in a perpetual cycle of burn out.
I did not mention it in the podcast, but my body felt amazing after I started using Pink Himalayan Salt. Try ditching your table salt in favor of a good quality salt and see how you feel!
Finally, using quality oils is vital, too. Stop using canola and vegetable oils, margarine and fake butter because they are likely to contain endocrine disruptors which wreak havoc on your body's ability to produce the right balance of hormones. Instead, coconut oil, avocado oil, pastured butters all help regulate the adrenals.
One thing I discovered by accident is the fact that my kale consumption was making me feel like crap. I ate a lot of raw kale last year -- like, a kale salad every day for lunch. But kale contains oxalates, which can produce kidney stones. If you have AFS, your kidneys are not in optimal shape, so it is wise to either eliminate kale from your diet or cook your kale to remove the oxalates.
4) Herbal supplements are amazing. Adaptogens are miraculous, as they can help your body to correct imbalances. For instance, if your adrenals are making too much cortisol, ashwaganda can help balance it out. If it is not making enough, the adaptogen can help kick it into gear.
Over the course of 12 months, I experimented with schizandra berries, ashwaganda and rhodiola. I also use maca powder, collagen, progest cream and DIM (because I was estrogen dominant. You may not be, so check this with your health team before using these products.)
5) Practice good sleep habits. Follow as best you can the natural light cycles where you live. Rise with the sun, go to bed no longer than two hours after sunset.
Avoid screen time (tech devices) two hours before bedtime, and dim the lights in your home to help facilitate the natural release of melatonin.
Use comfortable sheets and bedding and make your bedroom a calm sanctuary that promotes restful sleep. Keeping the temperatures on the cooler side (between 69 -75*) also helps facilitate restful sleep.
I understand everyone must walk their own path on the healing journey, but I do hope these tips were insightful. If you have any others, please share in the comments below!
My name is Dawn Champine and I am the Creatrix of The Goddess Diaries. I am very passionate about helping women remember their REAL GODDESS selves.