Note: Lately I’ve received requests for information about my recovery from adrenal fatigue. I’m not a big researcher, I’m more the just-tell-me-what-I-need-to-know type. There are tons of resources available on the internet, so feel free to research away. I am not a medical professional nor do I play one on TV, and I’m not giving advice on how to treat medical conditions. What I am doing is sharing my experience and how I’ve worked with my own body, in the hopes that it will start someone else on their own healing journey.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
In early 2010 I was officially diagnosed by my care provider with adrenal fatigue, after a saliva test revealed my cortisol levels throughout the day. In the months leading up to that diagnosis, I had experienced some strange symptoms: absolute, to-the-bone exhaustion (especially after workouts and in the morning upon arising), dizziness and blackouts upon standing from a sitting position, inability to sleep through the night, feelings of overwhelm and burnout, shakiness and low blood sugar and weakness in the muscles in my legs. Many of these symptoms were also related to low thyroid, which was diagnosed at the same time.
The terrible fatigue was the worst part for me. I struggled to do simple tasks like shopping for groceries, and I kept feeling like “What is wrong with me?”
Adrenal fatigue is basically a condition that results when your adrenal glands—your stress glands—get depleted after years of stressful living.
Here’s a link to information about adrenal fatigue symptoms and causes (see the link in Helpful Resources at the end of this article for a quiz): https://www.adrenalfatigue.org/what-is-adrenal-fatigue
What I Did to Help My Recovery From Adrenal Fatigue
I tried a lot of supplements and many of them seemed to work for a while and then stopped working. I think that’s common for adrenal fatigue sufferers. What follows is a list, in no particular order, of things that I did and continue to do that seemed to help the most. I’m currently in a good place with adrenal fatigue and I am vigilant to not push myself beyond my limits. There are times when I feel “adrenal-y” and that’s when I pull back and take better care of myself with rest, stress reduction and nutrition.
I wrote this post about six months before finding Plexus Slim. Blood sugar and gut health are foundations for good health, but I had no idea. It ended up changing my health and life, so of course I came back and added it to this post so you can decide if it’s what you’ve been looking for. More details here
My list doesn’t include a particular diet or way of eating, but I know that is important for many people. The list is divided into two parts: physical and non-physical things I did. I know you can’t actually separate the two, but it made more sense for two shorter posts.
Go to bed early and be asleep by 10:00pm. For me, that meant heading to bed by 9:00pm. If I stayed up much past 10:00, I got a second wind and didn’t want to go to bed and that was deadly for the next day. There are physical reasons for that second wind having to do with cortisol levels.
In the morning upon awakening, stay in bed, awake, for at least 15-20 minutes. Often I got up to use the bathroom and take thyroid medication, then I would lie back down. The best time for adrenal fatigue sufferers to sleep is 7:00-9:00 in the morning but that wasn’t going to happen for me. Staying in bed was the next best thing. Often I would feel weak when I first got up but would feel much better after staying in bed for a while. This also has to do with cortisol levels.
Use magnesium gel on my feet. The first time I sniffed magnesium gel, it smelled like dirty socks. Eww. I was told that meant that my body needed it. I started applying magnesium gel to the bottom of my feet at bedtime, followed by lotion. At first the magnesium gel made my feet rough but after several weeks it softened the skin like a fresh pedicure. In fact, I had a pedicure last week and the technician complimented me on the soft skin on my feet. This is after years of rough, peeling skin on my heels. And it no longer has an odor to my nose.
At least one tablespoon of coconut oil every day. I usually eat it straight, with raw almonds. It helps with energy and clarity of thought. Teresa Tapp said it won’t make you gain weight, it will help you lose weight. (Note: I tried putting it in my decaf coffee and the Adrenal Fatigue tea, but I didn’t like the oily consistency.)
Adrenal Fatigue tea. Well, that’s what I called it. I still drink it when I start feeling bad. Mix one tablespoonful of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, one tablespoonful of raw honey and cinnamon to taste in a mug of hot water. I drank two mugs on days when I felt really tired. Update: I now much prefer this drink: Get-Up-and-Go Limeade
Plenty of Vitamin C. I usually drank Emergen-C, but now I prefer chewable C from Dr. Schulze.
Salt. Yes, salt, but not necessarily table salt. I use Himalayan Pink Salt that I find at TJ Maxx or the grocery store. There’s a scientific reason that you need salt for adrenal fatigue and it’s explained in the September 2016 issue of For Women First magazine that I appeared in. I put it in my coffee drinks, on popcorn, in smoothies, and sometimes in my water.
T-Tapp and Adrenal Fatigue
Fatigue and muscle weakness made T-Tapp difficult for me at times. I remember getting in the shower after a workout sometimes and feeling so bad I wanted to cry. Here are a few tips that helped me:
- During seasons of adrenal fatigue episodes, take two days off between workouts.
- Take extra water breaks and kick out between moves.
- My favorite workouts for adrenal fatigue: Senior Fit, Menopause Management, MORE, MORE Chair, TappCore. Senior Fit especially targets the thoracic area of the spine to support the adrenal glands. It actually makes me feel energized rather than exhausted.
- On Plies, only bring arms up to a V.
- Fewer reps with activated muscles. Inactivation is bad for the adrenals.
- And my miracle move: the T-Tapp Ladybug Move from the Ladybug Workout. The key is pressing the back in the floor and on the reaches with the foot, really r-e-a-c-h with the ankle. I can drop to the floor and do four of those if I’m feeling adrenal-ish and it cures me–seriously. At the T-Tapp Trainer Certifications during my Ladybug cert, Teresa stopped me and had me really reach. She noticed that I was doing wimpy reaches with the foot. I got up from the floor a new woman, it was that helpful.
Recovery from adrenal fatigue is tricky. It’s not a linear improvement, where you get better every day. You can feel good for a while and then have some bad days. It’s not a fast recovery process, either. I’ve felt better in the last few months than I did over the last four years.
In the next post we’ll take a look at some other important, foundational things I did to help me heal from adrenal fatigue.
Bailey’s Naturals, Safety Harbor, FL 727-725-1617 (Balanced Body – This herbal supplement did help with energy on bad days.)
Plexus products (I highly recommend the Tri-Plex for both blood sugar and gut health!!)
If you have questions or experiences to share, please leave a comment.