By Leila El Krekshi
Loss of vitality is such a common feature as we grow older, have a busy, stressful lifestyle and unhealthy food. Tell me, how often do you say or do you hear a friend, a colleague say: “i just don't have the energy i used to” , “ i have a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings” , “ i could really have a nap in the afternoon” “ after being out, or drinking alcohol, i feel completely wiped out, cant do anything the next day”, “I don't sleep as well as i use to” and the list continues ….
As many of us have experienced fatigue, pain or chronic stress, we fight this stress, by giving ourselves more sugar,caffeine to make it through our day. Often the only way to deal with pain is surgery or pills. We start accepting exhaustion, stress as part of life and set ourselves to work our way around it to make it through.
But if you wish to have more mental clarity , more joy in your life, a balance in life that is still possible.
There are different healthy lifestyle strategies, that help us have more energy, and enable us to better cope with the unexpected curve balls life throws at us. Some of the strategies, vary from stabilizing blood sugar levels, improving the better functioning of our digestive system, immune systems, clearing the physical emotional toxins and brain fog.
Adrenals and thyroid are two important glands that are particularly responsible for our energy, vitality, and our ability to manage stressful situations. So how to beat that fatigue, reduce the toxic load and support the liver in processing toxins that bombard us on a daily basis?
There are two relevant hormones when it comes to stress, and adrenal fatigue, cortisol and DHEA. Cortisol gets you out of the bed in the morning, giving you the drive and support to cope with your daily stressful situations, while DHEA , counteracts any negative side effects of excess in cortisol. Although the latter is important for managing and getting us through stressful periods, high level of cortisol can hamper the body’s normal repair.
When your adrenals are working well, you ll feel well. Unfortunately with today’s lifestyle, the stress and anxiety can cause disruption in the normal functioning of these hormones affecting our whole well being.
How does adrenal fatigue develop?
Picture this scenario: you have a nice stable job, life and relationship. Then all of a sudden you get a job promotion, which means more responsibilities, more challenges... The workload may not be what you expected, and you find yourself working very hard, long hours, skipping meals, in order to keep up with the workload and the expectations from your management.
It becomes hard for you to disconnect, switch off in the evening after work or during weekends, and this makes it hard fro you to sleep and to be fully present with your loved ones. Increasingly you find yourself relying on coffee, starchy and sugar food/ snacks to keep you going and alcohol to help you relax.
Although these may help you relax and give you some comfort, you find yourself waking up early hours, thinking about pending work, having difficulty falling back to sleep.
What is happening here? Just as much as you are working overtime, your adrenal glands are also doing the same to keep pumping out high levels of cortisol and DHEA. Your cortisol stays wired all day, and at night it does not allow the relaxing melatonin to kick in, and you cant settle nor go to sleep.
Consuming alcohol, coffee, starchy food, and sugary snacks make the situation worse, because they disrupt the sugar levels of your bloodstream. This keeps you awake, and wired, and then enters the cycle of anxiety, and overly active mind (brain fog).
With time, if your lifestyle patterns do not change, your overworked adrenal glands become exhausted, less able to produce enough cortisol and DHEA to sustain your lifestyle and excessive needs. This leads you to feeling sluggish and unable to get out of the bed. You increasingly become reliant on coffee, and tea… You are less present, your mood is low, you don't seem to be interested in anything, and your mind is full of anxiety. You become emotionally sensitive finding that even small problems leave you overwhelmed and tearful.
What s more , if your long term stress shifts towards adrenal fatigue, you are at increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other autoimmune inflammatory diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression etc.
the liver your cleansing powerhouse:
One of the very best ways to increase your energy and vitality is to reduce exposure and intake of toxic load. Before you make the assumption that you are relatively toxin free, just consider the phenomenal amount of toxicity you are exposed to, and with which you are bombarded every minute of the day. Here are just few examples of toxins (heavy metals, PoPs, chemicals etc) we are exposed to:
What we eat and drink: Many foods can contain pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, and antibiotics, additives, artificial colours and sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol etc.
Toxins through the skin: Products we use on a daily basis can contain toxic material such as petrochemicals, parabens in shampoo, lotions as well as chemicals in our water supply like chlorine.
Environmental pollutants: toxic metals, traffic pollution, soil contamination, bacteria, , cleaning chemicals, cigarette smoke, and electronic products to name but a few.
Medications and addictive chemicals
how to reclaim your zest of life?
The good news is that the right nutritional and lifestyle interventions can often get your adrenals and your detox systems functioning well again and getting your vitality back.
Become aware of your environment and the stressors
The first and most obvious action is to take a long , hard look at all the different sources, of stress in your life (mental, emotional, and psychological stress) and come up with a plan to remove or reduce them. Try taking a good look over your life history, to identify some of your earlier stressors. If needed, dont hesitate to ask for help in this process from a qualified psychotherapist/ counsellor or doctor.
Introduce meditation, relaxing breathing techniques and gentle yoga practice to your daily life.
If you are feeling particularly low in energy and vitality, a fast paced exercise routine may do you more harm than good. Gentle yoga and meditation are great ways to calm the body and mind. They help slow down shifting the body from the sympathetic “fight or flight” mode to the parasympathetic “rest and digest” mode. They cultivate more energy than they expend, leaving you with enough vitality to stimulate and strengthen your own healing processes. The combination of slow mindful movements with proper breathing, will help clear your brain fog, boosting your digestive fire, and reaping your energy by gently eliminating toxins.
Stay clear of toxins where you can
Reducing your exposure to toxins will relieve the burden on your detoxification systems not only in the liver but in the gut, and adrenals. For instance:
- Avoid use of pesticides, herbicides.
- Choose hair and skin products without petrochemicals, alcohol,
- Keep cooking in low temperature as frying, and grilling trigger carcinogenic chemicals
- Avoid food additives
- Dont use plastics in microwave, and avoid sipping your take away drink through the plastic lid
- Reduce your exposure to low level electro-magnetic fields
Introduce a healthy balanced diet
- Introducing nourishing components, more plant based diet and optimize nutrients that stabilize your blood sugar
- Keep good levels of vitamin A, B,C, selenium, zinc, iodine, and magnesium
- Consider trying stress busting plants at recommended doses ie: maca, ginseng, awshwaghanda etc.
- Eat food that helps your detoxification system to work better ie: berries, pomegranate juice, green tea, onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, beetroot and cruciferous vegtables (rocket, cauliflower, broccoli, kale)
- Reduce your alcohol and coffee intake
- Avoid trans-fat and processed food
If you wish to get started why not Join our stress and burn out prevention retreat to help you introduce simple practices into your daily life! Click Here for more information