Many of you wear different hats. You have many "jobs" ranging from wife, mom, executive, daughter, house cleaner and church volunteer. If you've begun to feel overwhelmed, irritable and tired you may have adrenal fatigue. Doctors often prescribe prednisone or hydrocortisone (a steroid) for a while, but this is not a long-term solution. If you feel overwhelmed and tired, I have some solutions for you.
First, remind yourself that what you are doing for others is a blessing, for there is no greater gift than giving, but you must learn to receive as well. If you don't, your body's pilot light (adrenal glands) will burn out, and you will become useless to everyone.
Steroids are common in the treatment of adrenal fatigue. Hydrocortisone has been around a long time, and it is my favorite "corticosteroid" drug because it is the same hormone that your adrenal glands make which is called cortisol. Other prescriptions steroids are completely alien to the human body, yet frequently prescribed.
Because you burn the candle at two ends, you likely have low cortisol, so the drug hydrocortisone serves to temporarily rescue you. Have respect for it, because long-term or inappropriate use can suppress the immune system, affect your mood and cause many side effects. It interacts with many drugs. You can't take it if you have any fungal infection. With all that said, it can be a lifesaver if a person truly needs it. Here is my script for stress. Please discuss supplement changes with your physician to make sure it's right for you:
1. Set boundaries. I love the power of no. It's a complete sentence, and with practice, it will free you of unnecessary time-consuming tasks that are depleting you. Saying no has no side effects! You may feel like it is a bit "selfish" to not assist everyone who asks you for help, but prioritizing your health will allow you to offer more to others, for a longer time. Feeling poorly (and developing a serious illness, which is where you are headed on your current path) will not help anyone, trust me. When I thought about it, I realized that I was over-committing myself because I was simply seeking love, so by helping everybody all of the time, I felt I was more lovable. You are chasing your tail, and this kind of thinking will not serve you.
2. Licorice solid extract by Wise Woman Herbals. This is a supplement that your health food store can order, or you can find it online. This is a natural herb used by holistic doctors, and yet it's sold without prescription. Licorice has potential to increase blood pressure, so it's not for everyone. The ancient herb contains glycyrrhizinic acid and has uses for people with attention deficit, hypoglycemia, mood swings, fatigue and brain fog. There are other brands available, I just happen to like this particular one because of the purity and flavor. The caveat is that long-term use may cause electrolyte disturbances or lower testosterone in men.
3. Ashwagandha by Organic India. These are very good brands of an herb that is well known to nourish the thyroid gland, immune system and adrenals all at once. I've written about ashwaganha herb before, and those articles are archived at my website.
4. Cortrex by Thorne Research. You may have to ask your doctor to order this since it's physician-formulated. It contains genuine adrenal glandulars along with licorice root, vitamin C and pantothenic acid among other adrenal-supporting nutrients. I tried this for a week before writing this column and definitely felt more get up and go. Folks, Cortex contains a real hormone (30mg bovine adrenal hormone) so I insist you ask your doctor. You may find similar products at health food stores.
5. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) by Gaia Herbs. An adaptogen that helps a person cope with stress, and improve energy and athletic performance. There are certainly other good brands, I only mention Gaia because they are free of adulterants and non-beneficial ingredients found in other imported brands. This is a good choice for most people and much preferred over Panex Ginseng, which can be too stimulating in some folks.
6. AdrenaStim by Apex Energetics. This is a cream you apply to your skin that contains licorice root, Siberian Ginseng, oat extract, Tyrosine and about 10 other ingredients. It's sold without prescription; however, Apex Energetics only sells through physicians, so ask your health care practitioner to order it for you or look online. So gentle for those who are sensitive to oral supplements or have a delicate system, it has the same adaptogenic and supportive properties of oral supplements, but it is not overly stimulating.
Now that I've provided my script for adrenal stress, I want to remind you of one important fact. You only get one body, so don't wear it out! And my message to mothers in particular, please remember that your little girls are watching you, and we always teach by example. What better example can you give to your daughter than to love yourself, and rest a little more. Would you be proud of her if she followed in your footsteps? What would you say to her?
One of my friends was so unhappy and stressed in his life situation. He wanted to change jobs, he wanted a more loving partner and wanted out of his relationship. He wanted to use his life's savings to do a few things on his bucket list. He was afraid to make any changes because people depended on him. I am not in judgement of what he did (or didn't do) but I can tell you that he suffered a terrible automobile accident and is now disabled. Who knows what his life would have been like if he made the changes that improved his life, and reduced his stress. People will rise to the level of expectations. Life is short. Expect more.
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