To recover from Adrenal Fatigue requires focus and time
It takes a mental refocus of your lifestyle and dietary habits, and a long term commitment to your health to recover from adrenal fatigue. If you already suffer with adrenal fatigue (find out in my Adrenal Fatigue Quiz) recovery is certainly possible, but it does require dedication and time to succeed. The rewards are nothing short of amazing though! It is as if the lights finally go from dim to full brightness in your world. Your quality of life steadily climbs during recovery. Keep in mind that once your adrenals have been fatigued, they are easily fatigued again during this process if you return to old damaging habits.
Below you’ll find 13 Lifestyle Tips and 17 Nutrition Tips to recover from adrenal fatigue. Practice these simple steps to revive your adrenals and begin to enjoy life again.
13 LIFESTYLE TIPS
- It can take one to two years to fully recover from adrenal fatigue, depending on the degree of dysfunction. Be patient with your body as it is coaxed back to health by applying as many of the following tips as you can, consistently and long term.
- Identify and remove as many stressors as possible – this is the most important step. Emotional stressors, such as rocky relationships or financial problems, need to be dealt with and normalized. It might require a change in work hours, changing who you spend time with, or even choosing a new career path or job. Make the necessary changes to restore your health and recover from adrenal fatigue.
- Go to sleep by by 10pm. You may need to set an alarm and begin getting ready for bed by 9pm. Eventually this new time will become a comfortable habit and your body will be grateful for the extra rest.
- Whenever possible get rest in the morning from 7-9am, the optimal hours to restore adrenal function. This does not mean you have to be sleeping then, but it does mean you would best benefit from relaxing activities during this time period.
- Every day, include something you enjoy doing, such as a relaxing walk, reading a great book, a weekly acupuncture treatment, and so on. Schedule these necessities into your calendar so that you are sure to carve out time for self-care. They will add up to benefit your body.
- Incorporate humor into your day – laugh at a tv show, watch a funny video or just belly laugh about something funny with your spouse or friend. Laughter is great medicine.
- Avoid becoming over-tired by ensuring you regularly go to bed at a decent hour and avoid activities that cut into your time for restful restorative sleep. Keep your phone out of the bedroom, and avoid computer screens, iPads or stimulating blue light during most of the evening.
- Consider a melatonin supplement 3-6mg at bedtime to help regulate cortisol levels before bed. Often with adrenal fatigue cortisol levels at night are heightened which inhibits sleep. This is not an ideal option for everyone, so discuss the use of melatonin with your health care provider.
- Exercise gently at least 3 days per week, preferably morning and not late in the day. Try swimming, gentle bike rides, walking, yoga, stretching, or any restorative activity that incorporates focusing on breathing. Avoid high adrenaline activities like competitive sports, running, cross fit or high intensity training until you are well on your way to healing as they can further deplete challenged adrenals.
- Drink high quality, purified water with added minerals (such as sea salt).
- Avoid negative people who drain your energy and instead make time for friends and family who lift you up, support you and encourage you. Remember – who you give your attention to is all your choice.
- Consider taking specific supportive nutrients for adrenals, but discuss them with your health provider before combining them. Some favorites are Vitamins C, D and E, Vitamin B complex, phosphatidylserine, and magnesium.
- Consider adaptogenic herbs, like ashwaganda, rhodiola, ginseng, and licorice. But again, discuss their use with your health care provider so you are taking the correct dosage and combination for your particular issues.
17 NUTRITION TIPS
- A long term, unhealthy diet is a key cause of adrenal fatigue, so revamp your diet. Adopt a whole food, organic diet, remove refined grains and all processed food, such as breads, pastas, rice cakes and crackers and you will go a long way to recover from adrenal fatigue.
- Always eat breakfast. The body’s glycogen (sugar) supply needs to be replenished after going through the night – breakfast is about breaking the fast. Then try to eat your lunch before noon and the evening meal before 6 p.m. This will help regulate your cortisol levels.
- Eat within one hour of waking. Fasting is hard on the adrenal glands so minimize time overnight fasting. Never skip breakfast and be sure your first meal contains high quality protein and no refined carbohydrates or sugar. Eat your starches in the evening and never in the morning.
- Avoid coffee or other caffeinated beverages. Caffeinated coffee and tea act as stimulants and interrupt sleep patterns. Herbal tea is acceptable because it does not contain caffeine.
- Drink a large glass of water in the morning immediately upon waking with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/2 squeezed lemon. This will start your day with electrolytes and help prevent dehydration.
- Sprinkle sea salt on food or in water, to taste, provided your blood pressure is normal. Again, this gives the body needed electrolytes.
- High potassium foods, such as banana can sometimes worsen the adrenal fatigue and should be avoided while you’re healing.
- Consider food sensitivity testing from a functional medicine practitioner, such as myself, and eliminate the foods you are immunologically most sensitive to.
- Eat mostly organic veggies, throughout the day, with a little organic protein, fats and fruit.
- Combine protein and fat at every meal and snack as this will ensure sustained energy is available during and between meals. Avoid eating only fruit or carbohydrates alone as this may destabilize blood sugar. Increasing your total fat intake with olive oil, coconut, and avocado may also be helpful.
- Whole fruits may be eaten later in the day at lunch and dinner except banana, fig, melons, or dried fruits. Berries and apples are wonderful low-glycemic options.
- Take small amounts of protein and fat such as nuts, cheese (unless intolerant of dairy) or nut butter before bed if you have difficulty falling asleep or awaken frequently between 2-3am.
- Avoid high starchy foods, such as white rice and white potatoes. Some people do better with a serving of complex starch, like brown rice, quinoa or sweet potato in the evening to lower cortisol and help them sleep.
- Avoid high sugar fruits and all juices, especially at breakfast.
- Eliminate trans fats like margarine.
- Eat wild-caught seafood and fish a few times a week and/or take a high quality mercury-free fish oil supplement.
- Eat foods rich in adrenal-supportive nutrients, such as leafy greens, nuts, pumpkin seeds, flax, chia, and organic grass-fed animal proteins.
Take a hard look at your dietary and lifestyle habits to determine where you can start making some improvements. As you practice and become comfortable with each change, your adrenal health will improve, giving you better and better overall health. To recover from adrenal fatigue is a lengthy process, but one that is worth all the effort. To learn if you have adrenal dysfunction, take the Adrenal Fatigue Quiz.