Post Holiday Adrenal Fatigue
Now that the holidays have come to an end and the stress of rushing around, Christmas shopping, social and family commitments, and of course over- consumption of food and alcohol have finally let up, many of us are feeling the effects of December catching up with us. This, unfortunately, might mean that we’re suffering from adrenal fatigue.
The body copes with stress by releasing stress hormones from our adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and are our body’s main stress responders. Typically the body is very good at dealing with stress, however, during periods of chronic stress (possibly like the holidays), the adrenal glands cannot keep up with the increased demand and can become less efficient at doing their job. Many people will find themselves suffering from what is called Adrenal Fatigue.
What are the signs and symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue? Well, the first symptom is EXTREME fatigue, especially in the morning. My patients will often tell me that they feel un-refreshed first thing in the morning even if they have slept 10-12 hours. During the day, they may begin to feel better for a while, and improve until mid-afternoon when they feel like they need to take a nap.
A decreased ability to handle stress is another symptom of adrenal fatigue. What some people may have shrugged off previously becomes a huge burden. Some of my patients will even suffer from panic attacks or anxiety (something that they have never experienced before).
Many people with depressed adrenals will also experience a lowered immune system, especially around cold and flu season. They will catch many colds and have a harder time recovering.
Oh, and let’s not forget the weight gain… often chronic stress will cause weight gain and that’s because if your body is in “fight or flight” mode and believes that there is an emergency or trauma, it likes to conserve the fat rather than burn it. And where does that fat go, you ask? Right in the middle: belly fat!
Some other common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue are:
- Dizziness upon standing
- Moodiness, snxiety, depression
- Hormonal imbalances (Thyroid)
- Poor concentration and memory
- Cravings: sugar, salt, coffee or other stimulants
Check out my Adrenal Stress Questionnaire to find out if you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue. And stay tuned for future blogs, which will discuss how you can nourish and repair those exhausted adrenals!