Dear Women of the Natural Healing for Women Community,
It’s when everything gets stirred up – physically, emotionally and in our daily routine as well.
Autumn is the time that we need to begin increasing our self-care to ward off the circulating viruses of the upcoming cold and flu season. Have you noticed how the wine and dessert that was casually enjoyed in the summer months, now has your joints aching and post-nasal drip returning? Autumn is a time when our underlying health weaknesses become more prominent and chronic fatigue can set in.
When I first moved up to Northampton, almost two years ago now, it was January and the dead of Winter. I found myself going to bed at 8:30 every night, and sleeping like a log. I was taking mid-day naps as well. It was very clear to me that this was the medicine that my body needed. I’d been under chronic stress for many years running, and it was time for my adrenal glands to rest and heal.
When we feel chronically fatigued, it’s crucial to address our Adrenal Health, as well as look for underlying physical causes such as infectious disease or thyroid issues, and observe the areas of our life that rob us of energy.
I like to think of the adrenal glands as King of Hormonal System, occupying a throne that sits at the base of Endocrine, Immuneand Nervous System, having wide-ranging influence over them all. And that’s why it’s so vital to learn about what they need for health.
Among other things, the adrenal glands help mediate the stress response via the hormone cortisol. Under normal circumstances, we have stressful periods when the cortisol is high, and then it naturally normalizes.
However, if we’re under chronic stress and the adrenals are continually pumping out cortisol and never get a chance to rest, they can become less efficient at doing their job, and “burn-out”.This is sometimes referred to as Adrenal Fatigue or Adrenal Insufficiency.
How do we help the adrenals to recover from periods of prolonged stress? Along with whole food, moderate exercise, and all of those healthy habits that you could recite in your sleep, let’s look a little deeper.
With Adrenal Fatigue, I’m always look for an energy leak somewhere in the system. It’s important to figure out where the energy leak may be for you. It could be due to a chronic infectious disease like Lyme’s or an autoimmune issue like Hashimoto’s. Or it can lie in an abusive or servile relationship with someone at work, or at home. Or, it can lie in old, stuck, re-circulating emotional states such chronic grief, rage or fear. If you recognize any of the above as part of your story, I highly encourage you to get support for making crucial changes in your life.
But no matter the cause, healing the adrenals is NOT a quick fix. It happens over time with lots of intention, providing the body with adequate rest, whole foods, healthy movement, adaptogenic herbs and supplements.
And most importantly, the adrenals heal through balance and regularity. This means eating at approximately the same time everyday, sleeping the same amount of hours every night, and keeping a fairly regular schedule.
6 Simple Prescriptions for Adrenal Health
Sleep – Ideally, we would be giving our body as much rest as it wanted. Vacations and weekends are great for this. Otherwise, try to figure out ways to give your body the rest that it needs. If you’re having trouble sleeping or waking in the middle of the night, it’s imperative to find the appropriate herbs, supplements or daily habits to help with this.
Sun-downing –This means that you put away all technological devices and screens by the time that the sun goes down. This enables your body to get back into sync with the natural rhythm of the sun’s cycle of light and dark.
Whole Foods & Regular meals – This means eating meals at approximately the same time daily. Think about the 3 square meals that you probably grew up with, making sure to eat before becoming famished, which will disturb the blood sugar as well as adrenal balance.
Daily Movement (exercise) – Sometimes we’re so fatigued that vigorous exercise becomes too strenuous. What’s important about daily movement is that it gets the lymph flowing and moves oxygen into the lungs and bloodstream. Think about a brisk 20-minute walk daily, if nothing else.
Adaptogenic Herbs – These are the super-foods for the adrenal glands! They need to be taken for a good amount of time, no less than 3 months, but will build your adrenal health in a steady and solid fashion. Think about herbs such as Ashwaganda, Rhodiola, American Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Eleutherococcus, Nettle leaf and more.
Trauma work: As I spoke of in my last newsletter, if you have unresolved trauma that keeps your nervous system in a perpetual state of fear and the fight-or-flight response, this will wear away the health of the adrenal glands. Seek out the assistance of a somatically trained therapist such as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner or Flower Essence Practitioner that has experience with moving trauma out of the system.
Bringing health and healing to the adrenal glands takes commitment and intention, but is well worth the effort. Healthy adrenals enable us to live life with the passion and vitality that we desire to bring to our work, our families and connection with the world around us.