Can't shake the winter blues? Maybe Adrenal Fatigue is to blame.
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
Spring has sprung, but you're feeling down, or more tired and foggy than usual. Maybe you're frustrated that everyone else is enjoying the beautiful change of season, but you're still struggling with the winter blues or feeling a lot of anxiety. Sometimes our depression and anxiety, and their symptoms like a lack of motivation, not feeling happiness, insomnia or sleeping too much, changes in appetite or weight changes can be connected to what we call adrenal fatigue.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Our adrenal glands, often referred to as our “fight or flight” glands, sit on top of our kidneys. They help our body cope with stress - physical, emotional, environmental, physiological and/or infectious. Healthy adrenals help with stress by balancing our hormones, cortisol, DHEA and epinephrine (adrenaline).
In the past, when a cave man had to run from a bear in the woods to survive, his hypothalamus sent a message to his adrenal glands to produce more cortisol and adrenaline, so he had the energy to run faster. Physically the heart pumps faster to send more nutrients to your arms and legs. At the same time your eyes dilate to see better. Your digestion, sexual desire and immune function shut down, so as to not waste energy and make you lighter on your feet so you can out run that tiger.
Dial it forward to modern times. When we are constantly stressed (the modern version of running from bears), we are calling on our adrenals to keep us balanced and give us more energy to keep going even when we need to rest. When this happens, the adrenals are constantly in the “on” position, producing cortisol all the time. If the stress is not addressed the adrenals will eventually reach exhaustion and cease to produce any cortisol. This damage leads to many health issues and conditions.
Many traditional western medicine doctors still don’t recognize adrenal fatigue as an actual diagnosed condition. However, Dr. James Wilson, an endocrine specialist, says it’s “estimated up to 80% of adults experience adrenal fatigue during their lifetime.”
Part of the reason is that our adrenals also help our bodies balance blood sugar, thyroid, sex hormones and neurotransmitters. They do so much for our bodies that fatiguing them can be hard to avoid.
So, how do you know if you have adrenal fatigue? Here are some of the more common symptoms:
low energy throughout the day
trouble getting out of bed
dark circles under the eyes
irregular menstrual cycles
inability to lose weight
reduced immunity, beginning/worsening allergies
brain fog, mental exhaustion
being exhausted after workouts
low or no libido
low blood pressure
dizziness when standing up
cravings for salt and/or sugar
anxiety, mood swings, depression
low thyroid function (hypothyroid)
Often these symptoms are missed or even dismissed by medical doctors. It may make you doubt yourself when you know something is wrong, but no one seems to have an answer.
Just know you are not alone. There are a lot of things you can do to help yourself.
Here at Trilogy, we offer Holistic Health Coaching with Lesley Loftis, our certified holistic health coach and psychotherapist. Lesley can help you identify if adrenal fatigue could be an issue for you. She uses nutrition, coaching on lifestyle practices to reduce stress and improve your health. Healing our adrenals can be as simple as changing our diet and reducing our stress. Once you make a diet and lifestyle change, you should notice a dramatic change, including better moods, improved sleep, less cravings and more energy.
During the month of May, you can receive 50% off your first intake session with Lesley. Are you ready to thrive?