"Never Have It All Together" – Daily Exhaustion & the Curse of Adrenal Fatigue

If you clicked into this post, you’re likely feeling how I am. Deflated. Exhausted to the point of pain in your bones. Wondering why you can never get a sustained burst of energy past that morning coffee five-minute jolt.

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Beyond the chronic business that is the life of the average American, there’s a very real chance that there is something very physical causing this feeling in you!

Symptoms & Presentation

Hallmark symptoms of adrenal fatigue (aka: adrenal insufficiency are trouble falling asleep at night, low stress tolerance (i.e. snapping a lot or panicking), anxiety, varied digestive issues and caffine reliance (without the fun burst of energy). As in, you literally need coffee to function in the daily adult world.

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Factors that may cause adrenal fatigue in children and adults include autoimmune disorders, recent infections, drug or alcohol abuse and prolonged, chronic stress.

You may be thinking – that’s great and all, but what the heck are my adrenals and why are they stressed? How do I fix this? Isn’t this just part of being a stressed out adult at my 9-5?

What the heck are my adrenals and why are they fatigued?

Adrenals, the hats of the kidneys. (LiveScience)

Your adrenals are situated just on the top of your kidneys, looking like little kidney-hats. They regulate cortisol, estrogen, and adrenaline – aiding in the fight or flight response in the body. As cortisol is a chemical, hypersensitivity in the body due to its constant production is thought to bring on the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency. (Photo courtesy of LiveScience.)

That’s great…How do I fix this?

  1. Get Evaluated. It’s important to make sure there are no other hormone imbalances or autoimmune disorders that have flown under your radar, causing this mess. After you get the green light from the doctor (and likely some medication to aid in your regulation of the condition,) you can help your body from your home too – namely, your kitchen.
  2. Think Thriving: Stress Management & Balanced Eating. Stress plays a crucial role in our hormone balance. If you have been under prolonged stress, that takes its toll on the body. Even a routine surgical procedure can set this off. Work on some form of stress management. My personal favorites are yoga, talk therapy, or those adult coloring books with some relaxing lo-fi beats. Essential oils have been well documented for clinical use in aromatherapy, showing efficacy rates that are competitive with the routine course of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications on the market.
  3. I didn’t forget to mention balanced eating. Yes to taco night. Yes to chocolate. Sometimes. With vitamins. Balanced does not mean restrictive. It’s been psychologically proven that the more balanced your diet is and the amount of freedom you give yourself to “treat yourself” with is correlated to higher success rates of the diet itself. A good place to start is recuding general inflammation (dairy and gluten are highly inflammatory) and replacing some processed stuff with whole foods. Simple swaps work best to start. Focus on naturally replenishing your body with B-complex vitamins, Magnesium, and Vitamin D (either through capsule form or food form – whichever you prefer.)
  4. Realize this is Reversible. If you have been diagnosed please don’t feel like this will be forever. Our bodies are made to be resiliant and will come back from this. It is a process. But the more we can shift our mindset to nurturing ourselves rather than beating ourselves back into line so we can hop to the next to-do item on our list, the easier it will be. Take it slow. Enjoy the small things. Work your way up from there and don’t punish any slidebacks.

References

Great Informative Article From Dr. Axe on Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Gland Purpose & Photography

Predispositions to Adrenal Insufficiency from the New England Journal of Medicine

All photos from Google Images & Are Not Mine.

Silence the Voices: Creating Despite Fears of Inadequacy

We are the era of influencers. Of sharing your voice. Of fighting to be heard and unique among the masses. We are a generation dying to be heard, and we are heard by content creation. By our art. By our passion. Our beautiful individuality on display through our passion projects or our skills.

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So then – what do we do when the inevitable fears of inadequacy creep? How do we silence the inner critic that is constantly after us with the fears rooted too much in realism to dismiss? What if we fall? Is this all a waste of time? Should we quit while we are ahead?

While this generation is known for breaking barriers and making history, we are also known for our anxiety over our inadequacy. For the pressure to be perfect. Whether you are a blogger, a parent, an employee or simply a human – we are all faced with crippling and paralyzing fear – of the unknown and of our own missteps.

I speak to myself as much as I speak to the person reading this blogpost. By self-sabotage we are absolutely assuring our complete failure. The definition of failure is relative, yes – but if we hold back because a situation is a risk or a gamble… we will always be asking a question of… “what if?”

I have “failed” by common definitions several times. Walked away from jobs and stability. Walked away from relationships after calling out unhealthy behaviours. Fought the inner critic and started this blog, as a matter of fact.

We cannot expect instant returns on our efforts. As someone who has grown up with instant gratification in our culture this is hard to grasp. We have to be confident enough in ourselves and in our abilities to confidently move forward still.

So what does this mean? You have a great idea. You have a life altering decision to make, perhaps, or a risky move you’d like to take. So what do we do from here?

You take a deep breath. You draw it out. Visual aids are great, like a pro-con list or a blue-sky realistic look at your life to define your main goals for yourself. Come forward with a mindset that is not fatalistic. Allow yourself to explore what you are passionate about and allow yourself to take the time, guilt-free, to work it out. Chances are, you will be much more effective, and therefore a stronger asset to the world, by working in something you love.

Also, accepting that those steps will take time and may not be today is especially important. For those of us who thrive on chaos and productivity and caffine every hour, this will be hard. But it is a necessary step to success.

Finally, make an action plan – a list of small, attainable goals to get there, one step at a time. A goal is not simply just “success.” A goal would be definable and measurable with a plan behind it – such as, “in order to run in the marathon next year, I will run a mile more each month (starting January 2020)… and aim for a 30 second shorter time. By May, I will be able to run 5 miles in 40 minutes.”

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You may benefit from getting a partner or a friend involved and play the motivator for each other in doing this. You can apply these methods to any goal you have in life – whether you are starting out as a hopeful college freshman, trying to graduate high school while working, or overhauling the household budget for the third time this year.

What methods do you use to attain your goals? I would love to hear what you do to keep yourself passionate and productive! Let me know in the comments below and I would love to make a blog post featuring the suggestions.

Morning Routines – Tackling that Massive To-Do List & Getting a Great Start

Being stressed and overwhelmed is a hallmark of pride in our culture. Being pushed to the edge and constantly busy signifies importance and success.

As mothers, students, employees, and family members, this is all normal and we must keep up in our life’s rhythms.

How can we tackle that mountainous to-do list?

Better yet, how can we make mornings better so that we CAN tackle that nasty thing?

1. Use a planner, day-timer, or a whiteboard to see your day spread out first.

You can also write out your to do list with an hour by hour block schedule on paper to plug in which tasks belong where.

Prioritize the most immediate issues first. Such as bills due, balancing the checkbook, buying food, and assignments due etc.

2. Wake up in a correct headspace.

When my alarm wakes up I pull up my daily devotional on my phone. My favorites are the Love God Greatly app or the First 5 app. They’re great short devotional with study tools! No matter how tired I am I make this and morning prayers a priority and don’t beat myself up if I fall back asleep after. I try to be gentle with myself in the morning since that’s often when I feel the worst. If baby C sleeps in, that’s extra time for me to get me more energy to get through my tasks. Find what makes you tick, if it’s waking up with Jesus or doing yoga, and do the dang thing.

3. I don’t push myself into exercising right away.

Some people like to jump right in and that’s great! If that’s not you, don’t feel forced! If you dread mornings that will hit hard on your overall productivity which won’t help anyone. Do something small physically, whether it’s a full workout, or a few stretches/poses, to get the blood flow going.

4. Fuel carefully!

Food matters in the morning. With the keto fiends and the cereal geeks out there it’s hard to find a happy medium – especially if you’re like me and don’t want to cook! It’s a constant struggle to remind myself to take part in the smaller acts of self care like this.

  • If you have health problems or deficiencies you need to fix, fuel up according to what your doctor recommends. For those with hypothyroidism this may mean more eggs and carefully selected fruits with supplements. For others, it may mean a green smoothie and gluten free toast. I never will ever recommend keto diet or any other extreme diet, as it can throw your body completely off (article coming soon on why this is a potentially harmful way of eating!)

My favorite is two eggs to aid in my thyroid issues and a piece of gluten free toast with sunflower seed butter. Way less inflammatory than peanut butter toast but still tasty!

5. One bite at a time.

I work multiple jobs, am currently a college student, and am a full time mom. I am learning actively to multitask crazy things with one hand and half a brain, with the baby on my hip or on the mat!

Mornings with a baby will never, ever look like those carefully crafted Youtube *Morning Routine/Get Ready With Me* videos. And I’ve come to bring my type-A self to accept that! Even if it doesn’t look beautiful and you only get one thing done – high five!

6. Grace upon grace upon grace

Always remember that it’s OKAY to not have gotten every single thing done. Nothing is beyond repair. There is always tomorrow. The best is all we can give and we must rest or else we will have nothing left to give. Give yourself some forgiveness! That’s a hard one I’m still trying to remember, haha.

What are some of your favorite ways to get things done? Do you have a favorite part of your morning?

Best,

Christina

I don’t want an Instagram romance… (a letter to my husband)

My love,

I think you know, by now, my fondness for pictures and colors. You know, the ones I beg you to take as you wrinkle your nose and make a face only your mother could love (and you encourage our son to do the same)…

And, if I’m honest with myself, I love making things beautiful. Neat. Organized. Everything in a box. Toned in cool gray and blue hues.

But what I don’t tell you enough is how much I appreciate your ruggedness and the vibrant paints that you splash into my predictable minimalist piece.

I see everywhere the boxes upon boxes of roses, donut bouquets, and 5-Karat rings in those neat little squares. With a sepia filter, of course. But I don’t want this kind of perfectly posed, color-toned love.

We have what we have because of what we don’t have.

You have always been a man of few words. But because of the lack of long, drawn-out Instagram captions, the letters you leave for me and cards you always so carefully write for me are all the more cherished.

You are my reckless abandonment that I chase life with. You pull me out of the truck and into the woods barefoot, onto our next adventure with a single tent and some wet firewood.

You don’t come through my door with roses, but you come through my door with open arms and a shoulder to lay on as I chatter about how fast and slow time is passing simultaneously and the baby bounces on your knee. And I get a break, for however long, as I get to enjoy you babble with our son on the carpet.

You simply don’t fit. You were never made for a box. You are absolutely beyond that silly little box and it’s addicting to watch you blossom into the man and leader of the family you’ve become.

The romance you meet me with is unmatched. You harness my passions and push me toward my aspirations. You have built this family with me and always make sure I know how much I’m loved, even when I’m lost, confused, or simply overwhelmed.

And that, my love, is completely and exquisitely beyond a little gray box.

Thank you for helping me look beyond the surface and into your depths.

With love,

Your wife.

when you’re the triangle peg in a world full of square holes

Lately, I’ve been feeling lonely! I’ll just come out and say it.

It’s no secret that I’ve been having the hardest time in my 8 years of chronic illness, ever. Everything is coming to a head and it is overwhelming and all I have to hold on to is the firm hope that this is me leaning into the tape. I am near the end, I hope.

This has been a season of less friends then I have ever had before. I have lost a great deal from being too sick or too serious or just not in the same life phase that I’m in.

I struggled with that and it climaxed today. After a day of contemplating and feeling sorrowful for what I thought I had and lost, I am choosing to feel thankful every moment I feel sad.

The lack of popularity and friends has brought me to become more reliant on my family and husband in a wonderful way. There are less distractions and social obligations to fulfill, and I can truly focus on deepening the bond with my spiritual other half (shout out to you, J!)

I can choose to rest, which my overachieving and constantly moving self never does without force.

I can get to know God and stop fighting the process so damn hard because I’m running from the process and chasing every single distraction down.

I get to process things I’ve avoided and manage my stress in a healthy way.

I get to practice being thankful, even in making this list.

What are some things you’re learning in your own hardships?

Xx