Are you stressed, tired and overwhelmed?
Are you helping everyone else around you so no one, even you, takes care of you?
In the past few weeks, I am seeing both athletes and busy professionals who are stressed, tired and overwhelmed and want to find a way out of this hole they find themselves…..so they can be whole again and start living life more fully.
Having had adrenal exhaustion in February of 2000, I learned the hard way that pushing, pushing and going like the Energizer bunny eventually puts you into a state of stress, being tired all the time even after sleeping and overwhelm.
Knowing how to work with each situation and each person differently is something I learned from having these issues myself.
Here are my 6 steps to regaining balance, and get your life back with YOU are the priority. NOTE: If you don’t start taking care of yourself, you may find yourself in a state of adrenal exhaustion not just adrenal fatigue. Trust me, it is not fun.
- Write down what stresses you have
There are emotional, physical, mental, chemical and environmental stresses. They are all stress. The body doesn’t differentiate between the stresses and keeps the body in fight or flight mode. Over extended periods of stress, the body starts to deteriorate slowly.
Make a list of the stresses and stressors. This s a list of adrenal stressors you may find helpful.
This can include work, relationships, worry, fears, work load, social load, exercise/ training for a race, finances, etc. They include emotional, mental, physical and environmental (foods you eat, air/pollutants you breath, etc).
The adrenals don’t differentiate between the stresses, it is all just stress.
Eventually they can only work at max output until they have no output at all.
But before they get to that point, you are so tired, you can hardly think straight, stay awake or get much of anything done. Then your sleep starts to be poor and inadequate, which creates more stress.
- Take that list from 1. and identify what you can delegate, move or alter.
This is probably where you can now make it a ‘I have to’ vs “I want to” do list. Re-categorize those items above and first identify what is the biggest stressor or which is the smallest stressor. Can you eliminated it? Can you delegate it to someone else? Can you break it up into smaller pieces to get through it easier? Or can you change the way you look at it so it is less stressful? Can you alter the perception of that item? Often a Path To Heal session can also alleviate the underlying issue resulting in overwhelm.
- What are you eating?
One of my first awakenings was looking at what I was eating. This was when I was the patient, and I was working with a nutritionist. I laugh at it now, but back then, I just ate Clif bars and drank coffee so I could get energy enough to get through my workouts. I was not eating that much in terms of real food – I mean, who has time to cook? I have things to do!
I had to learn how to balance the blood sugar, change how I was eating and what I was eating. I had to slow down long enough to learn how to actually nourish myself eating real food, not packaged food disguised as food. Yes, Clif Bars have supplements added, and included organic ingredients, but all it really was is a glorified cookie.
That didn’t mean I had to just eat salads all day. It meant I had to learn what my body needed with the help of a professional to help my body heal. Eating real food was a big part of that. Real food your body knows how to digest….although when in a state of stress, digestion is compromised. Which leads to the next point.
- Work on improving digestion!
This is not as easy as “just add a digestive enzyme” although many time, you DO have to add a digestive enzyme as the body is too stressed to produce enough. I use the Nutrition Response Testing (NRT) to help identify which digestive enzyme may be best for you and after several months, you probably only need it when you are stressed, but not with every meal.
Usually when stressed, slowing down to eat is an issue. We are in a hurry – remember, we have things to do! We don’t have time to stop , sit and eat! And please don’t ask me to chew my food, too!
But that IS what you need to do.
Stop drinking liquids with your meals. The excess water dilutes the digestive enzymes and the stomach has to work harder and longer.When we are in a hurry, typically we take a big bite, chew 3 times, then use the liquids to swallow the food. But the body was not designed to digest chunks of food. It was designed for pureed food.
Focus on chewing the food into a puree so the body can actually break down and absorb the foods better in the digestive tract. I call this the Chew Like A Baby protocol we need to follow. Heck, we probably need to do this even if we are not stressed! You may also find with this approach, that you eat less in a meal as you feel more satisfied with less food.
- Balance your meals to balance blood sugar.
This is something I work on with every client. It sounds so simple, and honestly it is. But when we are stressed and overwhelmed, we are typically tired, and reaching for quick energy foods. These usually include bagels, cookies, candy and other sugary or high carb foods. This spikes the blood sugar, and a couple hours later, it plummets and we are tired, cranky and irritable, and craving those darn carbs again! This is also a huge stress on the adrenals!
First step is to add more protein, fat and greens to the meals, and less carbohydrates and grains. It is part of the Metabolic Efficiency programs I do but it is incorporated into all my programs. If you have heard me speak, I mention this in just about every talk I do. That balance of meals includes some protein, some carbs, some fat and lots of green vegetables. This should be in the main meals, and meals should be about 3-4 hours apart.
Now, this is another aspect that seems easier said than done. I know it takes some work, and I work with clients to help them find the right combinations that work for them. Not everyone responds to the same suggestions. Balancing blood sugar is individual although similar principles apply. If you just start with increasing protein, greens and healthy fats, you will inevitably consume less carbohydrates.
- Add probiotics to balance the gut.
When you are stressed, the balance in the microbiome is affected. It is usually unbalanced, and many develop IBS, constipation, diarrhea or other digestive issues. This can be corrected with some of the things we already mentioned including balancing the blood sugar and improving digestion. But you will also need to add probiotics to rebalance the intestinal tract so it returns to its optimal function.
Many notice that when there is more stress, the IBS issues get worse. But this can also be a result of eating the wrong foods and eating them the wrong way, so then undigested food ferments in the digestive tract. This can lead to other imbalances and typically, the higher carb foods ‘feed’ the imbalance.
Usually 1-2 months with the right probiotic, along with the other suggestions helps to rebalance the intestinal tract to its optimal function. Then the symptoms subside. To choose he right one, I use Nutrition Response Testing to confirm which probiotic would be best suited for you. I primarily suggest UltraFlora Balance or UltraFlora Restore or UltraFlora Intensive Care by Metagenics, but there are others as well to choose from.
- Get your sleep!
This seems obvious. But sleeping is a key part to taking care of oneself. The more stressed and overwhelmed you are, the less sleep and less quality sleep you get. This just makes you more tired…which makes your more stressed and overwhelmed.
One of the first things to do is to choose a regular sleep pattern where you go to bed at the same time, and wake up generally the same time. In the evening, when you start to get tired, go back to that list in number 1. and if you still have items you want to do, but they don’t need to be done, then go to bed. Delegate the other things to someone else for the next 2 weeks. But for 2 weeks, go to sleep when you are tired.
Do not let that second wind kick in. If you do, you will be up until 11 PM finishing whatever it is and be tossing and turning all night long. You will not get the quality sleep you want or need, and the next day will start with being exhausted, choosing the quick energy foods and the cycle continues. And you just won’t want to get out of bed.
Try this for 2 weeks. This in combination with the others will rejuvenate you like nothing else. Then moving forward, take the time to make these suggestions a part of your every day life. Finding balance in life will help keep the body functioning at its best without the stress, overwhelmed and tired symptoms.
If you want to go from overwhelm to “I love my life” and “I have found a new level of balancing my life while working with you. You have been so helpful!”, maybe it is time to schedule your 15 minute chat so we can discuss your situation and get you to feeling whole again…without the stress, fatigue or overwhelm for good.
- Write down what stresses you have