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What’s Adrenal Fatigue And Do I Have It? (Yes, The Answer Is “Yes”)

Written By Annie Goodman | Apr 13, 2022

You know that feeling that you get at 3pm on a weekday? The one where it feels like sheet metal and cement are being poured down your body, where you’re not even tired, but the thought of standing up and moving feels impossible? That feeling when you’ve slept for 10 hours, but you’re still exhausted? The feeling of looking like you’ve aged 100 years even though you’re supposed to be in your “prime,” according to your acupuncturist?? Yes, that one. Wait, you don’t know it? No, you definitely know it because it’s adrenal fatigue and you have it.

But I’ve never heard of adrenal fatigue.

Yeah, you and a million other people, doctors included. Adrenal fatigue is not technically recognized as a medical condition, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening AND it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter. Think of adrenal fatigue like ashwagandha. It’s been around for f***ing ever, but people didn’t start talking about it until it got, like, supes trendy over the past five-ish years. “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s adrenal fatigue!”

So wtf is adrenal fatigue?

Okay, let’s break it down.

You have these things called adrenal glands in your body that have a multitude of functions, which are essential to your everyday health — hormone production, fat and protein distribution, sugar and inflammation regulation, cardiovascular function, and managing your body’s ability to adapt to stress.

When your life is in balance, your adrenal system is in balance, which likely means you feel in balance. However, if you’re suffering from chronic stress — which, if you’ve lived through the past two-ish years, how can you not be — then your adrenal glands are probably at their max capacity. TL;DR: You have adrenal fatigue when your adrenals can’t produce enough hormones — para ejemplo, cortisol.

Pouring one out for your adrenals!!

So, like, what do I feel if I have this adrenal fatigue?

Sad. (No, not you, me! But maybe you too!)

Adrenal fatigue shows up with maaaaaajor fatigue, the inability to get to sleep, followed by the inability to wake up, intense sugar and salt cravings, and an overwhelming lack of motivation. Basically like you’re dead, but still alive. Oh! And I forgot dry eye. Lol I lied. Not dry eye, but I feel like every pharmaceutical commercial ends with dry eye as a side effect, so why not?!

Bad news: I got adrenal fatigue from reading this article. What do I do now?

If you know anything about me (you probably don’t), you’ll know that I spend my precious days trying to find ways to combat the negative effects of the computer on my physical and mental health. My mom says, “Just get a job that doesn’t involve your computer,” but that feels wayyyyy too frictionless for someone who thrives on legacy burdens and latent anxiety (I lied: It’s manifest!).

I was on a tangent (and not even caffeinated tbh!!!), but I’m back now.

The best way to deal with adrenal fatigue is to “manage stress,” which obviously sounds as trite and nebulous as an online listicle titled, “Ways to Make Valentine’s Day Special,” but truly, mindfulness and nourishing routines are at the core of adrenal health.

Some haute tips (WARNING: They’re obvious!!):

  • A diet rich in enriching foods that don’t break down into sugar or cause inflammation (*coughs* alcohol, refined starches, sugar, etc.).
  • Consistent exercise that both helps you exert energy without depleting your physical being (Do: Go on a hike Don’t: overdo HIIT workouts even though you love your Peloton).
  • Limit your screen time and — WHAT’S THAT, ANNIE? — blue light exposure. Anything that depletes your melatonin and encourages your body to release cortisol for long periods of time is a hard-and-fast no-no.
  • Get to sleep on time! Stop reading this! Go to bed! Getting into bed between 10pm and 11pm helps to reduce spiking your insulin levels, which can just increase your overall inflammation and make you feel like sh**.
  • Talk to a doctor about a 360-degree blood panel to see if there are any other deficiencies going on that make you feel depleted (word of the year!).

Okay, seriously. Go to bed! We have to get through the rest of 2022.

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