Here’s the scenario:
You’re tired, gaining weight (you see it around your middle), you’ve developed a bad attitude towards your husband and you seem to have very little energy (or patience) to do anything about it.
You spend your weekends recovering and doing chores that you should have done during the week. But after work, all you can do is sit in front of the TV and Netflix with a glass of wine in hand to take the edge off.
You feel like the weight of your life is crushing you and there’s very little you can do about it.
Wow, that’s no way to live! However, this is a story that’s so common for many women. And if you’ve been feeling like this for some time, you may have adrenal fatigue.
The Effect Of Stress
Adrenal fatigue is caused when you grapple with layers of stress for a period of time without the opportunity or ability to recover.
The human body is capable of handling stress. However, the buildup of different types of stress (and our reaction to this buildup) is why we struggle.
Yes, there are different types of stress! It’s a problem when obvious situational stressors are the only ones on our radar, like year-end at work or a loved one’s passing.
Why? Because in reality there are many different areas in our life that need to be addressed in order for us to heal.
In fact, failure to acknowledge the layers of stress is one of the reasons that women progress through the stages of adrenal fatigue. Stress remains and the symptoms get worse.
A Messy Room
You can approach healing adrenal fatigue like you’d approach cleaning house.
Many things contribute to the overall chaos in the space. You need to dust, vacuum, and put items back in their place. You might even need to do laundry, wash windows and replace light bulbs for your room to truly feel fresh and welcoming again.
Like a messy room, there’s no one thing that you can clean to make your adrenal fatigue better. You must address it all.
In this article you will get clear on the types of stress you face. Once you’re aware, you’ll equip yourself with a strategy to ditch the stress that’s holding you back so you can start to feel like yourself again. Phew!
Different Types Of Stress
So what’s causing your fatigue? Maybe you can easily recall the stressful situations that precipitated your burn out.
That’s a great start! However, you may not be aware of all the different types of stress that affect you now.
Typically, layers of stress build up and you enter into ‘survival mode’. Your eyes turn to the ground and you live day to day like a wild animal. Read the definitions below and try to identify the cause of that type of stress in your life right now.
Everyday Stress- we go through these stressful situations on a daily basis. It could be anything that stresses you out: your computer crashed, the car is having issues, your kids are giving you a run for your money. The causes cortisol to increase and if cortisol is elevated over time it may start to become too low causing fatigue and other issues.
Low Grade Stress- this type of stress can be unconscious and we may believe that we just have to put up with them. However, they still have an effect on our system. Think bad weather for an extended period of time, traffic to and from work, or chronic pain. Or the stress caused by a traumatic childhood. If stress was your ‘normal’ early in life, then you may feel this as low-grade stress now.
Inflammation- when your body struggles with inflammation, it causes stress on the mind! The cause is typically food. If you are eating rancid oils from fast foods, ingesting pesticides or eating foods that you are intolerant to, your body will respond with inflammation. Inflammation disrupts communication between your hypothalamus and your adrenals causing an imbalance in cortisol.
Nutritional Stress- are you eating a balanced meal at around the same time every day? If not, your body doesn’t know the difference between skipping a meal and a famine. When you ask your body to wait for food, or suppress your appetite with coffee, it adds another layer of stress.
Toxicity & Viruses- are the buildings you’re in brand new? You may be exposed to VOCs and dust. If your living space is very old, you may be in the presence of black mold. These are two examples of toxic environmental conditions. Alternately, you may have a virus that you aren’t aware of, and your body is constantly fighting to keep you alive. Again, this disrupts communication between your hypothalamus and adrenals which causes fatigue.
Dysregulated Circadian Rhythm- have you turned into a night owl? If you wish you could sleep until noon and stay up all night, your circadian rhythm has been disrupted. Your body naturally wants to rise with the sun and wind down when it’s dark outside. If you’re at odds with nature’s rhythm, your body will feel the effects. Even looking at your phone before bed can impact your circadian rhythm and disrupt your cortisol and melatonin levels.
Exposure to EMFs- electromagnetic radiation imbalance calcium in our brain and cause oxidation damage. People vary in sensitivity to EMFs so you may feel the effect of your electronic devices or you may not… but it’s something to consider.
Your Stress Reduction Plan
First, identify what layers of stress you’re under right now. This will help to make it obvious which types of stress you can knock off right now so you can begin to heal.
That being said, you might be able to identify your stressors but it can be hard to say ‘goodbye’ to your commitments or other things you deem important.
However, if you don’t get rid of some of your stress, your symptoms will get worse and you won’t remember the last time you felt like yourself. Are these stressors really more important than you feeling like yourself again and regaining your health? I didn’t think so!
When you eliminate the stress that you have control over, you are taking back much-needed mental space. I can not stress enough (ha ha) how important this is for your adrenal fatigue recovery process. You need mental space in order to get out of survival mode and regain your chill. Your body wants you to heal, and one of the best things you can do is to give it some breathing room.