We now understand what stress does to us physically. Let’s explore what we can do to counter the effects of stress.

There is no easy answer to this and no magic pill but it is important that you realise that you can help yourself. It will take effort and focus but you can do it!

Lifestyle

Good vs. Bad – If you are concerned regarding your stress levels and the effect it is having on your health then grab a pen and a piece of paper. Draw a line down the centre. On one side of the page write ‘Good For Me’ and on the other ‘Bad For Me’ This list is for no one but you so in the ‘Good’ column, list only the things that give you energy make you feel good, not what you think ought to  make you feel good. Think about it – what makes your heart soar with pleasure and makes you glad to be alive. On the ‘Bad’ side list all the things or people who drain you of energy. These lists can include anything – work, family, relationships, food, drink or thoughts patterns, environments. The lists don’t need to be equal they just need to be truthful. Your goal here is to do more of the things or spend more time with the people who are good for you and reduce greatly the things or people in your life that are bad for you. I realise this isn’t as easy to do as it is to say but this is your life not a dress rehearsal. If something is bad for you either:

  1. Alter the situation
  2. Adapt to the situation
  3. Leave the situation

For example – my room at the clinic gets really hot and I can find this physically stressful. So, I could either:

  1. Pull the blind down before the sun hits my window
  2. Put the fan on
  3. Change rooms.

I know life is harder than this and that usually when in a stressful situation you usually feel trapped and believe that it is impossible to change the situation. But you can change it; you are able to make a choice.

Relaxation – learn to relax. Now that can be anything from hugging a tree, talking with a friend, to kick boxing. Whatever does it for you – do it. Also find a therapy that works for you: Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Cranial, Massage.

Deep breathing – take the time and learn how to breathe from the belly. Pilates or Yoga can help you with this.

Holidays – book time off (note to self). Take the time to refresh your mind and body and to enjoy yourself.

Sleep – vital but hard to do when you are stressed. Ways to help: no caffeine drinks or chocolate, avoid the TV or computer late at night and a warm bath half an hour before bed can be beneficial.  Nutrients that may help:- calcium, manganese and 5HTP. There are also several herbs such as valerian, hops or liquorice root.

Laughter – it’s a great healer. Your body relaxes when you laugh.

Physical Exercise – not too competitive but something that you find enjoyable and increases your lung capacity, such as Yoga, Pilates, dancing, walking or swimming.

Food

In many cases of adrenal fatigue, poor diet will be a main cause but in all cases of adrenal recovery, a nutritious diet is a major factor.

People in adrenal exhaust crave stimulants (caffeine, chocolate, refined grains) and fatty foods, (crisps, mayo laced sandwiches, fried food), because they need energy. Unfortunately, the foods they eat are usually low in nutritional value and just deplete their bodies further into exhaustion. I don’t want to over complicate this section. It’s simple; eat a balanced diet of real food. If the food has been refined, which usually means, stripped of nutritional value, then don’t eat it.

It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway – organic is preferable.

Vegetables – we spoke last time about adrenal exhausted people craving salt. Vegetables with higher salt levels included swiss chard, celery and courgettes. A good idea would be to make a soup including these veggies with others and eat it daily. Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Include at least 6 servings daily from a selection of highly coloured vegetables (red, orange, bright green, purple or yellow). Juicing vegetables is a great way to feed your body vital nutrients. 

Fruit – people with adrenal fatigue have blood sugar problems and therefore should be careful of the amount of fruit they eat especially in the morning i.e. just a little! This includes fruit juices.

Protein – meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, whole grains, seeds and nuts.

Fats – keep away from the bad ones (e.g. fried foods, pastries) and have a good supply of the essential ones, omega 6’s and 3’s, 4:1 ratio.

Carbohydrates – obtained from grains, vegetables and fruit. Here we are going to think of carbohydrates as either simple or complex. The simple carbohydrates give a quick high such as sugar, sweets, cakes, biscuits, fruit, dried fruit and soft drinks. You really need to avoid these. Complex carbohydrates are foods such as grains, rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and some other root vegetables. Unrefined (brown rice) is more complex and better for you than refined (white rice).

Water – drink it then drink some more.

Dietary Supplements – that aid in recovery from adrenal exhaust are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, B Vitamins –Complex, especially Pantothenic Acid, Niacin and B6; magnesium, Calcium and trace minerals such as manganese, selenium, molybdenum, chromium, copper and iodine.

Summary

  • Do something ‘nice’ everyday
  • Sleep well
  • Regularly visit your Chiropractor or preferred Therapist
  • Exercise
  • Eat well

No surprises here – diet and lifestyle changes seem to be the answer to most of our health concerns. If you need further help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Written by Anne French, Chiropractor

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