Our lives are short so we try to pack as much into them as we can. But it can’t just be vacations to Disney, trips around the world, and relaxing on a beach somewhere with a drink in your hand. You need money for all that.
Money for retirement. Money for food. Money for caffeine because there’s no way you’ll be able to get through work if you don’t have it. And then you bust your butt at the gym because you need to lose weight so you can look better and live longer. If you’ve got kids, you’ve got even less time, so you’re probably more dependent on caffeine.
It’s a lot to do and it doesn’t fit too well in our 24 hour days. (Note: I haven’t even talked about sleeping!)
All this – and more – make be the real reason you’re so tired all the time. It’s called adrenal fatigue and it’s becoming increasingly prevalent.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
We’ve become a lot better at naming diseases. Kind of. It’s almost exactly what it sounds like. Your adrenals are overworked, but your adrenals aren’t tired. Your body is.
You already know that your adrenal glands secrete adrenaline whenever they perceive a threat. It doesn’t have to be a serious threat though.
It can be simple stuff:
- The volume on your alarm clock is set to 11 and scares you into waking up every morning
- You’re terrified your boss is going to fire you
- You’re worried about your kids
- You’re worried because your parents are getting old
- Some guy just cut you off and nearly hit you
- That jerk stole the last piece of cake
- Someone ordered an overly complicated coffee right in front of you
But it’s not just stuff like that. If you’re into HIIT (high intensity interval training) or lifting heavy weights all the time – that can affect your adrenals and your recovery too.
Every time you put your body through a perceived threat, your adrenals tell certain body systems to shut down and puts others on high alert. Everything is prepped and ready for you to get away from that man-eating tiger as quickly as possible. So you get faster, stronger, you can see better…everything you would need to survive in the short term.
However, your long term survival systems get shut down. Your body stops repairing itself. And if you keep stressing your body and mind and keep working out as hard as you can every single day, you’ll never fully recover.
Often the first signs of adrenal fatigue are chronic fatigue, terrible mood, increasing pain, and irritability. It can also be the reason why you’re having trouble losing weight and can be at the root of heart disease, mental health issues, and early memory problems.
So What Should You Do?
The first key to recovering from adrenal fatigue is taking time out to recover. So if you’re doing HIIT, take a rest day the next day. Or, if you really want to exercise, just go for a walk. Your body will love you for it and you’ll see even better results in the gym. Here’s an odd fact: when your body is fully recovered, it’ll be able to do more.
But if you’re chronically stressed, here are some other simple things you can do:
- Talk a walk in nature
- Tai chi
- Garden – My personal favorite
- Keep a journal
I didn’t throw “take a vacation” on here or “weekend getaway” because whatever you decide to do, it should be something you can do every day. You may be able to refresh your body while you’re on a trip, but you’ll soon find yourself exactly where you at before. No matter what you do, just keep at it. It will get better.