Are you tired, run down, gaining weight and feeling less than optimal? Have you read our post The 4 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue and recognised a cluster of symptoms that you are experiencing? Or have you just been diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue? Well if you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions then you have come to the right place!
This post is about what methods and techniques you can use to help recover from the 4 different stages of Adrenal Fatigue. We tend to focus on Stage 1 and Stage 2 recovery techniques as these are the ones you are most likely able to recover from with minimal help from Nutritional Doctors and Adrenal Fatigue Specialists.
Stage 1 – The Alarm Phase
This is the first stage of AF and generally occurs without being noticed. Recovery from this phase of AF is often quick and can come from a good night’s sleep and reducing the amount of activity undertaken.
Examples of techniques you could use to reduce the amount of stress you face in everyday life might include:
- Writing in a journal – there are 2 options here (1) each morning when you wake up, write down what it is you want to achieve, breaking each task down into measurable, quantifiable goals so you know exactly what it is you ‘need’ to get done and (2) each night when you get home or before you go to bed, write down how your day went, use this time to write about what has been stressing you out and how you can do something to remove or reduce that stress (for example you are stressed you can’t cook a healthy dinner for your family when you get home from a long day at work – take some time on the weekend for meal prep, that way when you get home everything is ready to go).
- Meditation – practicing mindful meditation throughout the day can help you manage stress levels. Take 5 mins in the morning, during your lunch break or at night to sit calmly in a quite spot and focus on deep breathing. We also like to use guided meditation to help calm our minds.
- Reduce the amount of exercise you are doing – whilst we recommend getting in 10,000 steps a day, pushing yourself to the limit through long, intense workouts at the gym is not necessary.
- Refresh your diet – there is no place in your diet for sugary drinks and processed foods. If you are eating these types of foods it is time to re-evaluate your diet and focus on fresh, wholesome foods.
- Listening to your body – tired at 8.30pm, go to bed. Believe it or not, our bodies are pretty good at telling us what we need…we just have to listen!
Stage 2 – Resistance Response
Once Stage 1 AF has progressed to Stage 2 it is going to take longer to recover. During this phase it is important to put into action the stress-reducing techniques we talk about in Stage 1. It is also important to really focus on “constructive rest”.
“Constructive rest” is taking time out for yourself to rest and recoup. This might be taking more time to focus on meditation and breathing exercises, taking a nap during the day and going to bed earlier.
During this stage of AF it is important to reduce the amount of exercise you are doing and substitute intense workouts for more adrenally restorative exercises such as yoga and tai chi. As a rule of thumb, the more adrenally fatigued a person is, the more gentle the exercise needs to be. Exercising too much can push someone further down the AF spectrum. The timing of your workout also plays a part in your recovery – working out after 6pm can impact the production of epinephrine and norepinephrine, messing with your ability to wind down and fall asleep.
We also highly recommend seeing an Adrenal Fatigue specialist when you are trying to recover from Stage 2 (or Stage 3 and Stage 4) AF. They will be able to provide you with recovery advice tailored to your specific symptoms and requirements.
Stage 3 – Adrenal Exhaustion
Recovery from Stage 3 needs to be taken extremely seriously. During this stage the body is beginning to shut down. Rest and lots of it is in order.
Holistic medical advice should be sought and generally supplementation needs to be used to provide the body with the nutrients and hormones it needs to recover.
Throughout Stage 3 of AF, exercise should really only consist of tai chi and walking. Any exercise that requires more energy than walking is using up energy that could be used for recovery.
Generally in Stage 3 AF our bodies can hardly function so it is unlikely you would be able to get out of bed to go to work anyway, but it would be recommended to take some time off work during this stage.
As with all stages of AF recovery, we should be giving our bodies less to do and giving it more time to rest and restore.
Stage 4 – Adrenal Failure
Go to hospital immediately.
When recovering from AF it is important to remember that it will take some time – we didn’t get to this stage overnight. It is common for AF recovery to take 3 – 6 months, and even longer for those in the later stages of the illness (or for those suffering from other illnesses). Be patient – and if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, just think, these months of recovery is time for you to focus on yourself and put yourself first.