EXERCISE PLANS FOR EACH STAGE OF ADRENAL BURNOUT.

DRIVEN: One hour vigorous exercise three to five times a week.

DRAGGING: Maximum one hour vigorous exercise three times a week or one to three hours per week of rejuvenating exercise such as yoga, tai chi, dancing, or walking-not jogging.

LOSING IT: One hour rejuvenating exercise such as stretching with deep breathing, walking, yoga, or tai chi two to three hours per week.

HITTING THE WALL: Five to thirty minutes gentle rejuvenating movement such as gentle stretching or leisurely strolling one to three times per week.

BURNED OUT: Exercise is counterproductive at this stage. If you have reached burnout, your energy needs to be conserved. Leisurely strolling or stretching can be done for very brief periods-one to two minutes, never until you feel tired. Honour your limit now and you will enjoy life again as you recover and can add more energy.

MOTIVATION.

Your thoughts and feelings create neurotransmitters that effect your mental and physical well-being. If you think negative thoughts about yourself while you are exercising or if your thoughts are self-critical, you will create neurotransmitters that work against you. If you think I’m to tired to exercise, you will be too tired. If you constantly think What’s the use? exercise probably will not do you much good. You will eventually give up and reconcile yourself to a sedentary lifestyle. Instead of letting that happen, reinforce positive beliefs about exercise. Remind yourself of how good it will make you feel and look. Tell yourself that exercise is fun. And then make it fun.

Join a organized group-is something to think about if you are feeling lonely or bored. And there are many options out there-is one way to find yourself socializing, having fun, and exercising one regular basis./p>

FIGHT OR FLIGHT.

They are mission critical, our adrenal glands. They are such powerhouses and they affect so many different functions in our body that this chronic depletion is felt all over the body. It’s a survival response, remember, so it’s naturally extremely powerful. The continual headaches I had were due to the fight or flight response pulling blood from the brain to the muscles so I could fight or flee. The diminishing sex drive? What animal is thinking about sex when it is in a state of permanent panic? And so on.

Being in a continual state of fight or flight is clearly not good for us,  and the long-term effects on the body can be both catastrophic and cumulative, as you saw in the Seven Stages of Fatigue.

So, what’s the opposite of fight and flight? Because that’s where we want to be, isn’t it? Well, that is called ‘rest and digest’. Funny how we rarely hear or read about this when in fact we are meant to spend the majority of our time in this state! Fight or flight is sexy; rest and digest, not so much.

NERVOUS SYSTEM.

The autonomic (unconscious) nervous system comes with two settings, sympathetic and parasympathetic. Think  of it like a light witch. The light is either ON or OFF. It can’t be both at the same time. It’s exactly the same with the nervous system. Either we are in sympathetic dominance (fight or flight: light switch on) or we are in parasympathetic dominance (rest and digest: light switch off). It can’t be both.

SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM DOMINANCE          PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM DOMINANCE

Fight or flight                                                                        Rest or digest

Light switch ON                                                                   Light switch OFF

I believe that with adrenal fatigue we create disordered and unconscious habits of thought that lead to us remaining in an almost continual state of fight or flight. Or, to put it another way, it’s like our body is stuck with the light switch almost permanently on and it has forgotten how to switch it off. Teaching the body to relearn this skill is at the heart of what I want to share with you.

Here’s the other things to know; the immune system is suppressed while you are in fight or flight. You can’t heal properly when you are in this mode (like the cut on my leg that wouldn’t heal). Recovery depends on you being in rest or digest far more often, so that your adrenals and body can heal and restore your energy levels.

So how do you get your energy back? It’s very simple. By consistently addressing two main principles:

1. Reducing the activity  of your overworked adrenals with clever life-coaching techniques. This will reduce your stress levels and stop you being in a state of fight or flight so often.

2. Increasing your time in a state of rest and digest with some accessible yogic practices and Eastern wisdom that create the perfect environment for energy recovery.

Both these things allow your body and mind to heal from the inside out. Energy restored. Ba-da-bing.

 

 

FOURTEEN DAY MEAL PLAN FOR ADRENAL SUPPORT.

DAY 10.

PRE-BREAKFAST: Protein power drink. (optional)

BREAKFAST: Scrambled eggs with turkey bacon. One slice whole grain low-carbohydrate toast. Cucumber slices.

SNACK: 1/4 Spicy Mixed Nuts.

LUNCH: Classic Chicken Salad. 3/4 cup sliced strawberries with unsweetened whipped cream or sweetened with a small amount stevia.

DINNER: Stir-fry made with tofu, snow peas, diced onion, broccoli, fresh ginger, sweet red pepper. 1/3 cup brown rice with butter. Mixed green salad with salad greens, sprouts shredded carrot, scallions and cilantro with Basic dressing.

GRANDMOTHER’S SNACK FOR INSOMNIACS: 1 cracker made without hydrogenated fats with 1 Tsp almond butter. 1/2 cup warmed raw milk.

COCONUT ALMOND POWER DRINK.
4 oz water and 1/2 cup crushed ice 1 scoop protein powder
4 oz coconut milk 1 scoop super green food
10 almonds 1 scoop stabilized rice bran powder
1 Tsp essential fatty acid blend almond extract to taste

SPICY MIXED NUTS.

3 Tsp olive oil                                                    2 minced garlic cloves

1/2 tsp ground cumin                                        1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp soy sauce                                                 dash red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp chilli powder                                          1 cup raw almonds

1 cup whole raw cashews                                 1 cup whole raw peanuts

sea salt, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add garlic and saute’ until softened, about 10 seconds. Add cumin, curry powder, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and chilli powder. Stir well. Add mixed nuts and stir until thoroughly coated with spices.
  • Transfer nut mix to a baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently to bake evenly. Remove from oven and cool. Add salt to taste. Store in an airtight container.   

Makes about 4 cups.

 

HOW LONG DO I EXERCISE AND HOW OFTEN?

How much you need to exercise is an individual matter. Grace commented. “The worst message we have gotten over the last ten to twenty years is ‘exercise at your working heart rate, for thirty to forty-five minutes three to four times a week.’ In my opinion that is way too much to ask of most people and deflates their initiative to exercise before they even begin. Back in the seventies, Jack Lanne-who was the true pioneer of physical fitness said that all a person had to do was ‘break a sweat’ once a day. A lot of people, especially women, don’t sweat very much even after an hour of vigorous exercise. His point was to exercise for ten to fifteen minutes a day. I encourage people to disregard any preconceived notions of what is optimal. You will only feel defeated. Instead, do some kind of fun exercise every day for a few minutes because it will make you feel good, make you look good, make you a happier person-and make you live longer.

Whether you are a Diehard, a Couch Potato, or anywhere in between, the goal of exercise is to come away with a sense of accomplishment and excitement and not the negativity like feeling achy, tired, angry, stupid, and fat. Exercise can clear your mind completely of worry and concerns. Often you can feel the thrill of physical activity as you engage in activities you love-gardening, beach walking, bicycling, playing with your children. Especially when recovering from adrenal burnout, it is important to exercise only to the point of exhilaration and never to exhaustion.

If you have been overexercising, you are the best judge of how much you can do without feeling sick, tired, and achy. If you exercise for two hours a day and you feel exhausted, cut back to one hour. Continue reducing your exercise time until you can come away from it feeling contented. If you are a Diehard and have not reached the sick, tired, and achy point yet, consider cutting back on your extreme sport. Alternate with a milder, gentler form of exercise that you can do for longer periods of time without as much stress on your adrenals.

Many people get up early in the morning to exercise, thinking that they are doing the right thing. In fact, when you are stressed or pushing the envelope too hard, vigorous exercise at any time of the day will hurt, not help you. If you are exhausted or sick, your health would benefit much more from a few hours of sleep.

If you are fatigued, or have been sedentary for a long period of time, any type of exercise that takes more than you already have is defeating. Very little exercise is needed to generate muscle repair. Five minutes of exercise is a good start. For example, if you choose weight training, you can begin with the tiniest amount of weight, something a little more strenuous than waving your arm. Begin with one pound or two pounds and work your way up gently. Even this small amount of stimulus will strengthen your muscles.

Exercising to exhilaration means that instead of feeling more tired you come away energized. If that means you can exercise for three minutes, then three minutes is great. If that means you can go on a fifteen minute gentle stroll, wonderful. Allow your body the pleasure and the benefit of that recharging experience. Your body is your ultimate teacher-if you listen to it.

Normally the highest level of cortisol is in the morning, so that is naturally a great time to exercise. Cortisol levels slowly come down throughout the day just like the setting sun to allow our bodies to shift into night-time rhythms. People who have trouble sleeping benefit most from exercising before 2pm. 

THESCIENCE BIT.

Right, so this is where I briefly explain the science bit behind fatigue. There are many places where you can read all the details, and if that’s your bag, please do go for it.(Start with Dr Wilson’s excellent resource http://www.adrenalfatigue.org and take it from there.)

This is a different kind of programme. While it is light on the science, it is heavy on actionable tools to move you towards energy and vitality. You’re busy and you are tired. I don’t want this programme to be the one that you never actually read and use because it’s too daunting. I want this programme to be your Energy Bible, your constant companion as you regain your vitality one step at a time. Okay. The Science Bit. We are going in!

ADRENAL FATIGUE.

You have two adrenal glands. They are about the size of a big juicy grape and they sit on top of your kidneys, one on the left side of the body, one on the right. The adrenal glands are powerhouses of endocrine (glandular) system. They are responsible for dozens of complex reactions in the body, such as playing a part in the regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure. Pretty important stuff. Below is a table that illustrates the function of the hormones of the adrenal glands.

HORMONE                                                     WHAT DOES IT DO FOR US?

Adrenaline (epinephrine);                                Responds to real or perceived threats with the flight

noradrenaline                                                   or fight response

(norepinephrine)

DHEA; Pregnenolone;                                      Antioxidant; tissue repair; sex hormone; balance of

Progesterone;                                                   cortisol; anti-aging function

estrogens; testosterones;

androstenedione

Cortisol                                                             Blood-sugar regulation; anti-inflammatory actions;

                                                                         immune response modification; heart and blood

                                                                         vessel toning; central nervous system stimulation;    

                                                                         stress reaction normalisation

Aldosterone                                                      Regulation of sodium, potassium and fluid volume

Source page 259 of Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr James Wilson.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT.

Your adrenal glands are primarily responsible for releasing various hormones in response, involves the production of a cocktail of corticosteroids, such as cortisol, and catecholamines, such as adrenaline for (or epinephrine for those of you Stateside) and noradrenaline (or norepineohrine). You’ve heard of those, right?

Okay, so as animals, as mammals, we are programmed to respond to stress with the fight or flight response. This potent chemical cocktail gets released into our body within nanoseconds of a perceived threat. Read that again. In a response to a perceived threat. The threat does not need to be real. It can be real, or it can be imagined. Our adrenal glands don’t know the difference.

Lion crashing through the                        =                   Adrenal response to stress

undergrowth about to eat you                                       (real threat)

Email popping into your inbox                 =                   Adrenal response to stress

from your boss, that you haven’t                                  (perceived  threat)

even read yet, but you think

might be commenting negatively

on the report you just delivered

Note: whether it’s a lion or an email, the adrenal glands respond the same way.

Now, when life was more full of lions than emails, this was an excellent survival adaptation of the body. It kept us safe. It made us run to the cave. It only got triggered a couple of times a week. And we ran to the cave. That physical activity burned off the adrenal hormone cocktail in the body. It’s not called ‘fight or flight’ for nothing; that physical response is very important. Our cavewoman forebears did not get adrenal fatigue.

Fast forward to now. We receive bazillions of texts and emails every day. We have the world news ( invariably horror-filled) in our faces at all times. We have people getting very wound up at us over a meeting time or a client approval like it’s a matter of life or death. Our lives are crammed full with potentially (or imaginary) threatening events. We are also so much more sedentary. We do not run a lap of the office to burn off the adrenaline every time we get a shifty email (or what we might be a shifty email) from a client. So the hormones stay circulating in our system and do not get quickly broken down by the body as they are designed to be.

That fight or flight button is getting pressed dozens, maybe hundreds, of times a day. And it’s just not built to do that. Go back to the image of your adrenals sitting like juicy grapes, one on top of each kidney. Well, due to this chronic over-stimulation, now visualise your adrenals more like a pair of shrivelled-up raisins. They have worked so much harder than they were ever built to do that they have become completely run down and depleted.              

THE SEVEN STAGES OF FATIGUE.

I want you to assess where you are at right now. Maybe you are just a little tired now and then, maybe you are s exhausted that every single day is a grind you struggle though. Tiredness is a normal thing to feel,. In a response to activity the body gets tired to prompt us to rest. It’s just one of those essential body regulation systems, like if we are not well hydrated the body  will get thirsty to prompt us to drink. That’s all normal. Tiredness is not normal however, when it relentless.

So, let’s set a benchmark for you for later comparison.

ENERGY LEVELS.

What is your energy level in general at the moment? Rate it out of 10 (10 being full of energy and 1 being low energy most of the time).

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

When was the last time you felt full of energy?…………..

What were you doing?…………….

Now, let’s rate where you are on the fatigue scale. This isn’t an exact science- are all different and, as I have said, I am neither a scientist nor a doctor. However, through my experience I have observed a definite pattern, a very clear set of stages from tiredness through to severe fatigue. Have a good read through. Where do you currently sit on this scale?

THE SEVEN STAGES OF FATIGUE.

STAGE 0: Situation normal.

You feel great. Don’t even think about your energy levels. Doing lots of stuff. Tired by the evening, some nights more than others depending on what you’ve been doing. Go to bed. Wake up feeling refreshed. Energy levels are just not an issue or a concern.

Is this you? YES/NO.

STAGE 1: Inspired.

Interestingly, this stage still feels pretty good!  You are coasting on the adrenaline rush of the job or life in general. Busy, busy, social, work, events, things. Buzzing from one thing to the next with lots of energy and enthusiasm. However, you find it harder to wind down afterwards, and are aware that there is very little downtime built into life. But it’s not a problem-life is there to be lived!

Is this you? YES/NO.

STAGE 2: Wired.

Life is still busy, of course, and may even still be pretty fabulous. However, you are starting to use wee extras to prop up the old energy levels as you are feeling quite tired now and again, and maybe not sleeping well. You might be describing this as feeling a little ‘run down’. Might be craving energy drinks, wine, coffee, ciggies, carbs (bread, bagels, sweet stuff, crackers, salty things) to prop up energy levels. Coffee. More coffee. Life is becoming a rollercoaster of good energy days and bad energy days.

Is this you? YES/NO.

STAGE 3: Pushing through, Bouncing back.

Hmmm…well, this really is pushing the daily grind. Everything is more bad energy day s than good and it is an effort to stay focused on work. Social stuff seems never-ending but is still fun. Stage 3 is the real ‘yo-yo’ stage. After a long weekend chilling, or a couple of nights in, you feel better and bounce right back. You might be starting to experience intermittent sickness, headaches, nausea, and so on. You have a niggling feeling something is wrong. You have probably consulted the doctor to check it out.

Is this you? YES/NO.

 

 

STAGE 4: Hauling ass.
Everything is a &%$@# effort, from going to work to meeting a friend for a drink. Personally, I literally felt like I was hauling ass around from the time I woke up, fantasising about when I could go to bed at the end of the day. You are constantly pushing yourself to get things done. The To Do List seems like a nemesis. You may have headaches, nausea, fuzzy thinking and feel dizzy. Life is one never-ending effort and chore-athon. If it wasn’t for coffee nothing would happen. You are really pushing the doctor now-something is surely? He/she still says that the tests show nothing is wrong. Little things far more irritating than normal, and you are trying your hardest not to be crabby with pretty much everyone.
Is this you? YES/NO.

STAGE 5: Breaking down.
You go to bed at night and wake up feeling like you have just done an 18-hour day. Sleep doesn’t relieve the tiredness. You are suffering from dizziness, cuts not healing, reduced sex drive, increased PMS, continual fatigue, headaches, nausea…your body is just shutting down. All the blood tests say that you have no problem. How can that be? Even more coffee isn’t kick-starting you any more. You don’t want to go to work, go out, have sex, have fun. You just want to hide from the world until you feel better.
Is this you? YES/NO.

STAGE 6: Bedridden.
You are bedridden or couchridden. Maybe you are on leave from work. Maybe you quit. Maybe, like me, you collapsed and never went back. Either way your body has made the decision and you can’t push through any more. You are just exhausted beyond measure. But you may, weirdly, look perfectly okay, which makes it very hard for others to support you or sympathise. You are giving a koala a run for its money and sleeping or snoozing all night and almost all day. Things look, frankly, pretty grim.
Is the you? YES/NO.