Adrenal Exhaustion and Recovery

Adrenal fatigue or exhaustion is a physical state where the body is not relieved by rest.  It is a condition that can go on for years.  It is also extremely common in today’s modern world where the demands of daily life can tempt us to place nutrition, adequate rest and hydration at the bottom of the list.  However, doing so will take its toll on our bodies and ultimately cause us to “crash and burn.”  I know this because it has happened to me.

As a 43 year old mother of three children ages 21, 8, and 2, I am often pulled in many directions between raising family, owning a small business and living on 400 acres as a land manager for a budding off grid community.  All of this, coupled with hours of weekly commuting was the perfect storm to wear myself down.   In August, when I realized something was “off” with my health, I was forced to reevaluate how I was living and literally driving myself into the ground.  And now, a little over 3 months after my crash I have taken a big step back to rest and rejuvenate and change some of the habits that got me here.

Because I work in the wellness field, I took it for granted that I was healthy.  I have access to endless herbal remedies and use many regularly, as well as I maintain an organic diet free of GMO’s, and eating locally and seasonally when it is available.  However, in early August of this year, one evening after a before bed yoga session in my living room, I crawled into bed and as I was dozing off I was met with a crippling anxiety attack.  Suddenly, my heart started to race, my chest tightened, my stomach churned and I became very dizzy.  Unsure about what it was that was afflicting me  I called my husband in to nurse me through these very uncomfortable sensations.  Finally falling asleep at 2 a.m., I woke the next morning only to be met with more of these symptoms that were both frightening and unnerving.  Suddenly, I was being hit with dizzy spells throughout the day, over the top stress, chronic anxiety, brain fog, shortness of breath and constant chest tightness, rapid weight loss from stomach upset, cold intolerance, extreme muscle tightness, which was leading to impinged nerves causing numbness in my arms and legs and jaw and a sort of shutting down and sinking into depression.

In the months leading up to this experience my digestion had been extremely sluggish and although I was using herbal remedies like digestive bitters and strong ginger decoctions, as well as eliminating flour, wheat, and sugars, and using digestive enzymes, things were not improving.  Frustrated, weakened and exhausted, I visited my family osteopath who had the wisdom to note that I was likely dealing with adrenal exhaustion.  Relieved, I sighed a breath of “of course, how could I have missed this?”  I was so wrapped up in my symptoms that I missed what seemed so obvious after the fact and spent weeks terrified that I was losing my mind and feeling like death was at my doorstep.

Fast forward 3 months…coming back to center, re balancing and re grounding.  The path to recovery has been somewhat swift because I was maintaining a fairly balanced diet of food and herbs beforehand, but not good enough.  Here’s where I went wrong in the time leading up to my crash…and my hope is that you, dear reader can gain some insights to your own healing and make the shifts necessary to lead a life of vibrant and radiant health! Not only for you, but for your whole family!

The first thing I did was to become diligent about tincture taking.  This was something that had become inconsistent and I recognized the need to build a daily rhythm for myself,  just as I had for my children, and feeling how imperative this was for myself.   Putting everyone else first was doing me a great disservice as I am unable to care for others to my greatest capacity if I am tapped.  Just like we’re told on airplanes to place the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then assist children….a great metaphor for life.  You can’t drink from an empty well!  Integrating daily doses of astragalus/ashwahgandha and extract were keystone in rebuilding some strength as I started to make some habit changes.  After just a few days I started to feel the effects of this powerful herbs.

Next, I addressed my diet. This is tricky because there is SO much information out there that can lead us astray…raw, vegan , vegetarian, paleo, gluten free….and so on. What is the right course of action for a balanced and healthy body?  This varies from person to person of course, but there are some basic hallmarks from which we can all build to most importantly REMINERALIZE the body.  For myself, as stated earlier my diet was not bad, but it needed to be better.  Bottom line, I was not eating nearly enough veggies.  In today’s food climate we are faced with produce that is often depleted of vital nutrients and minerals and it is 100% contributing to the declining health of the citizens of this nation.  Years of industrial agriculture have literally strip mined critical minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and about 25 others from the soil leaving the food supply vacant of deeply nourishing components.  In the past 4 weeks I have switched not only my diet, but my whole families diet to about 70% cooked vegetables. and animal protein most days.  This includes locally raised lamb, locally raised grass fed beef no more than 2 times a week, organic poultry and no pork as it can be infested with parasites.  Also, locally sourced free range eggs and raw milk.  We are trying to stay away from most fruit as it is still very sugary.  I am very fortunate to be tied in with many of our local farmers and am able to source these high quality foods, but what is more important is that you are dialing in the diet to attain as many minerals as possible.  Do not fret too much on the source, but I do suggest organic and non-gmo whenever possible.

Some lifestyle shifts that are also imperative are ample sleep, 9-10 hours every night.  Preferably going to sleep no later than 9 p.m. The hours before midnight are very powerful for healing and regenerating the body.  A great deal of healing occurs during sleep.  I LOVE sleep! It’s a wonderful time to not have to worry about the hustle and bustle of life!  It’s my favorite “me” time! haha!

Additionally,  adequate hydration is a must! Many if not most people are dehydrated.  We are made of mostly water so its importance is paramount in all functions of the body!  Try to drink 3 quarts of spring water daily.  I start my day with a quart of warm water and a tiny splash of lemon to get the organs moving and to start the day of right.  It is a peaceful time of day and knowing that I am starting my day with this life giving practice sets a good tone for the day.  If you are fortunate enough to live near any natural springs, as we are here in Manitou Springs, please drink of them!

Lastly is the importance of detoxification.  When we are nutrient deficient our bodies often have an impaired ability to eliminate toxins from the body further weakening the system.  Some would argue that our bodies are already designed to detoxify for us through the kidneys and liver.  However, the presence of toxic metals such as nickle, cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury, copper, aluminum and others have the ability to deeply embed themselves into the organs as well as they leech minerals from our bones.  When the body is fully nourished with all of the minerals it needs, its ability to eliminate heavy metals is greatly increased and the bodies ability to reject those metals is also heightened.  There are two very powerful detoxification protocols that I both use daily and recommend highly. This is the use of daily coffee enemas and daily near infrared sauna sessions to eliminate powerfully through the skin. Inferred saunas can be assembled easily and inexpensively with a few items from the hardware store.

While this is a tremendous amount of information, it is doable. And it is critical in these changing and often challenging times.  Our health and wellness is often very much within our ability to maintain and is truly empowering.  It often times takes the discipline to not partake in the spoils of modern life.  The convenience of fast food, the quick high of sugar or caffeine which offer placidity and comfort for a moment, but at what cost? The often numbing effects of prescription and over the counter remedies are tempting as we seek an easy fix, but these often merely suppress the symptoms without addressing the root cause.  Although there is a time and a place for these often life saving drugs.

You will note that I have linked several articles from a web site titled Dr. balancing science.  I am a believer, practicer and follower of this lifestyle and have spent the past 5 years poring over this website that is 45+ years of information for free!  I wish everyone in the world could follow a nutritional balancing program!  It is powerful and life giving and I cannot recommend it enough!  If you have the means, I would highly suggest doing a full hair mineral analysis test to reveal deficiencies, imbalances and hidden heavy metals in the body.  There is also a free program to follow should you feel compelled.

Here also is a link to the home page. I would encourage looking over and studying its contents…it has information on just about everything that can ail us!

Alrighty, if you’ve made it this far, I thank you for taking the time to read.  The process of rebuilding the adrenals is not a fast one, it takes diligence and dedication and likely years,  but can also prove a blessing if it is the catalyst to a healthy lifestyle and healing process beyond measure.  I wish each of you radiant health and a long life. While I would like to go on and on as there is so much information to share, I need to get back to duties in the shop.  But, I would invite you to reach out should you like some more information on this topic and I will do my best to answer and guide.  Until next time….many blessings and we hope to see you soon! ~Sara