5 Keys to Keeping Your Adrenal Glands Healthy: #2- Lifestyle

by lydia on February 15, 2012

One of the first principles in healing is to remove the cause and the aggravating factors of the illness. For example, a wound must be cleaned and disinfected before applying the dressing otherwise the remaining debris and germs will aggravate it and prevent complete healing. The same is true in healing from adrenal fatigue. In most instances, there are lifestyle components that either caused or contributed to the adrenal fatigue and that often continue as aggravating factors. Therefore, it is essential to remove the health limiting factors if the adrenals are to recover and heal properly. ~ James L. Wilson, from his book; ‘Adrenal Fatigue. The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.’

A Lifestyle Leading to Adrenal Fatigue

(Read here where I share my story of recovery from adrenal fatigue.) There were so many factors in my own life that led to Adrenal Exhaustion. Lack of sleep for at least 5 years due to having babies close in age. 3 kids in 5 years and one miscarriage in between kid #2 and #3. Poor food choices, namely lots of starchy carbs, sweets, and coffee with WAY too much sugar added. Living in a situation of powerlessness, feeling trapped and oppressed, both in my marriage and the church culture I was a part of. Constantly depriving myself of things that were meaningful to me, things that would have fueled my passion for life overall. Essentially raising my kids alone. I lived in unrelieved stress for too many years. Relocated 3-4 times in less than 3 years. And on, and on.

Repeated stresses such as these can add up. Yours may look different than mine, but whatever the stressors, it’s the accumulation of them that takes a huge toll on your adrenal health. Whether they be emotional, physical or chemical they all affect the body the same way. If stressors keep piling one on top of the other, your body will eventually end up with nothing left to give.

Obviously, stress will creep into your life at some point, there simply is no avoiding it. However, you can control your stress to the stressful situations that come your way. And you can reduce the stressors that you CAN control. First, figure out what in your life is contributing to your stress, what things are detracting FROM your health. Finding out what you can control that is detracting from your overall health can go a long way in stressful situations not having as much of a physical effect on you.

How I Learned to Revamp My Lifestyle

I realized that I was not powerless and could change some situations in my life. For example, I did not need to stay committed to a church that was ultimately robbing me of joy and vitality, and the same with my marriage. I tried in some cases to change myself to adapt to these two situations, but that did not work. There are times when that can be an option, but was not the case for me. I had to leave both situations. My life depended on it. Sometimes people need to leave an environment that is toxic to their overall well-being. Whether it be a religious affiliation, marriage or job. It is not a cop out either, so no guilt. Just know that if something is literally sucking the life out of you, you’ve tried to change the situation or adapt and it’s just not working and you are only spiraling, you have permission to get out.

Once I got two of the biggest harmful stressors out of my life, I was able to tackle smaller issues, that were just as important to my overall health. First, I learned how to get adequate sleep, which I covered last week here; ‘5 Keys to Keeping Your Adrenal Glands Healthy: #1 – Sleep‘. Then I tackled diet which I will cover next week, but suffice it to say if you’ve followed my site you likely understand the diet portion. I was also able to add exercise, slowly and consistently over time. (and I will cover exercise as point #4 in an upcoming post). Additionally, I started to remove other obstacles that were burdening to my own lifestyle at the time. I stopped homeschooling and put my kids in school, which was a huge burden relief. I had to be honest with myself and realize it was too idealic and not realistic for my situtation. I ditched coffee, a huge burden on my adrenals. I used it as a whip to keep me going, when really I needed to not stimulate, but rest and really recover. I took toxic cleaning products out of my home, and switched our personal care products. The more pressures I could remove from myself the better. I had been bearing far too much for far too long and it was time to put down my load and rest. Ultimately, if your lifestyle does not allow you any adequate rest and relaxation, something has GOT to give. Consider lightening your load and giving yourself the gift of R&R.

Take a look at all the energy robbers in your life, all the negative forces that surround you. Whether they are people, environmental, your diet, your job, your home life  and consider just how they are draining you. Start to replace them one by one. Instead of those detriments, put things in their place that will contribute to your health.

Learn to Love Yourself & Let Go

In his book, ‘Adrenal Fatigue’, James L. Wilson says that, ‘Healing from adrenal fatigue requires a combination of things; first and foremost, your recovery depends on your lifestyle. How you spend your energy, how you conserve your energy, and how you create energy are all extremely important. Your recovery is also contingent on what you eat and drink, as well as on the thoughts you feed your mind and the beliefs you base your life on.’

This all bore true for me. However, one of the most key things may have been getting freed in my own mind of many thoughts I had believed wrongly. Thoughts about how I viewed myself, thoughts about my own value. I go into all of this much more deeply in my post, ‘Healing From Adrenal Fatigue: Renewing Your Mind‘. Suffice it to say, if you don’t have a healthy view of yourself, figure out why. Learn to love yourself instead. Once I learned how to do that, I began to live life in color again! It was like all of a sudden I was a kid again and life was just a big playground! Talk about seeing life through rose colored glasses!

Letting go is also a concept that most of us don’t have under wraps. Too many of us worry, worry, worry ourselves sick. But who of you by worrying adds one single second to his life? If you want to enjoy the benefits of living with a sense of peace, learn to let go. Relax. Try getting counseling or taking up yoga. Write in a journal daily and express your deepest thoughts and cares and then shut the journal and enjoy your day! Think on the positive good things in your life, not the stresses. Make lists to help you stay organized and from keeping too many tasks in your mind. Think on lovely things, be grateful for the beauty in your life. You really can control your worry, it’s ultimately a choice you can make!

What things in your life need to be replaced? Is there anything robbing you of joy and sucking the life out of you? What do you do to retreat/relax and rejuvenate?

This post contributed to Monday Mania.




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Carmen February 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Wow, thank you for your honesty in this post! You could almost be telling my story, right down to the details about the church,etc. I also had four kids in 6 years, then went on ten years later to have two more little ones in 19 months. In order to save myself from an early death,I had to let go of so many things, including the church affiliation, my marriage, and homeschooling. My youngest kids are now 14 and 16 and I am a single Mom. We are all in a healing mode together. It was very hard at first to convince them that it is not punishment to go without caffeine and sugar and that healing is a great goal to work toward. We are eating traditional foods and have seen big changes all around. We are living in greater peace and serenity and learning to express our spiritual selves without religion. It is a journey, with days in which we make strides, and days in which we seem to go backward a bit. It is worth it on both kinds of days, though.
Thank you for a wonderful post!

lydia February 16, 2012 at 7:36 am

You’re welcome Carmen! Thanks for taking the time to comment and share!

‘We are living in greater peace and serenity and learning to express our spiritual selves without religion. It is a journey, with days in which we make strides, and days in which we seem to go backward a bit. It is worth it on both kinds of days, though.’

I couldn’t agree more! Blessings to you and yours!

Laurie February 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I think I may have forgotten how to relax…

In all seriousness, I’ve changed my diet, and exercise regularly, but changing my worldview and self-expectations is WAY harder than either of those things. I’ve just started feeling around the edges of that “beast”, but haven’t figured out how to tackle it yet. Thanks you for sharing your story and your advice.

susie April 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm

thanks for the info! when i click around your site, i keep getting directed to another website – the yard dog or something like that! not sure what is happening! thanks for sharing your story.

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