Psst. Hey you. Yes, you. I see you staggering out of bed in the morning. You have low energy and you catch every cold going around the office. You crave salty foods (potato chips at 10 am, anyone?). Stress—both physical and emotional—puts you over the edge. Low blood sugar, lower back pain, loss of muscle tone, dry skin, dizziness, poor circulation… these complaints make you wonder, “What’s wrong with me?”
There may be a solution, and it’s one that will put the pep back in your step: taking care of your adrenal glands.
These often overlooked bad boys sit above your kidneys, and their diminutive size is misleading because they are responsible for a lot of endocrine functions in the body including the production of important hormones that help regulate blood pressure, electrolytes, metabolism, and the immune system. The adrenals also regulate sex hormones, steroid hormones, and aid the body in responding to stress by secreting adrenaline. A tall order, huh?
Often when we experience stress for an extended amount of time, our adrenal glands can get used to secreting a higher level of hormones which cause the body to think it’s in fight-or-flight mode. This burns the body out and may cause many of the symptoms you are experiencing. On top of stress, if your meals consist of poor dietary choices (a-hem, chicken wings and french fries), then your body has fewer nutrients to recover from the strain of its hormonal overload.
It may sound simple, but nurturing yourself with Ayurvedic and mindfulness techniques could greatly reduce your chance of adrenal burnout. Try some of the following steps to reclaim your body:
- Pranayama—Mindful breathing techniques can calm the nervous and endocrine systems. Consider Alternative Nostril Breathing. This technique is easy, and right under your nose (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
- Restorative Exercise—Try calming yoga, tai chi, or qi gong. A nice walk in the park is also a great restorative practice.
- Sleep—Get those 8 hours. Your adrenals are begging for it. This helps the body realign with its circadian rhythm.
- Food—Minimize or eliminate the 4 troublemakers—coffee, alcohol, sugar, and salt. Try increasing leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and berries.
- Herb—Try Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb that supports stress reduction.
- Abhyanga—Self-massage with Vata Massage Oil can calm nerves and relieve tension, which gives your adrenals a break.
- Mantra—You could write your own mantra or try the Gayatri Mantra, which is thought to cleanse the body:
Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi
Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt
Try any of these strategies to perk up and feel like yourself again. Your adrenals will thank you, and so will everyone else around you.