Me too my friend, well I was.. and still in recovery technically . There are many reasons one can find themselves in this place, where lying on the lounge rather then folding laundry isn’t because your couldn’t be stuffed, but because your eyes won’t open and your body won’t move.
Upon reflection I had been under some personal stress for an extended period of time, add to that a full life of training for marathons, studying hard, running a business, wrangling three boys, a marriage and home.
I hit the proverbial wall, not so much with a bang.. I kind of whimpered out… finding it harder and harder to get out of bed, hit with sudden crippling tiredness in the day, which started to increase with frequency. I chose to really pay attention before I truly burnt out. Postponing my gym membership, putting running on hold I focused on a diet rich in raw living foods and looked at my bodies imbalances so as to address them with plant medicines.
When our life is ‘out of balance’ the organs associated with keeping us in balance are the most effected. These are the glands of the Endocrine system
- pituitary gland.
- adrenal glands.
- pineal body.
- reproductive glands
The endocrine system’s job is to regulate the secretion of hormones, chemicals responsible for all the activity of our cells and organs, a pretty amazing and very important job! These hormones regulate the body’s growth, metabolism and sexual development and function. When they aren’t being nurtured we experience symptoms such as
- weight gain or loss
- Brain Fog
- Mood swings
- Sugar cravings .
SO HOW DO WE GET OUR MOJO BACK?
By stopping. If possible get away for awhile.. a weekend by the ocean, a few days in the bush.. taking time to unplug from electronica or just cancelling a few commitments. Re evaluate your life, breath and reflect.
GETTING TO THE SOURCE
Where is that stress coming from?
Some ideas to help you reflect
Relationships No one on there death bed desperately cries “Oh I wish I had worked more” People regret not spending more time with those they love. Perhaps not seeing your friends, your loved ones, your children, your parents as much as you like has become a burden for you? This can only change when you decide to change it . Call them, book a lunch, a day at the park.
Unforgiveness. Are you holding on to a grudges, harbouring anger towards others? big or small its time to face them, forgive them, let them go as they are eating your joy right up.. and no one wants that. Forgiving may require doing a small ritual e.g. write a letter to someone who has hurt you, letting out all the pain trapped in your body onto a piece of paper is quite powerful and healing. Rather then give the letter to the person (this is about you not them) tear it up, burn it, let it go and feel the peace of forgiveness replacing the pain and anger. Forgiveness free’s you to move on in your own life, while unforgiveness keeps you stuck in the pain.
Connection If you are a person of faith are you spending time in the quite of our Creators space, listening for spiritual guidance? Perhaps for you just sitting in a place of wilderness, or looking out a window, breathing in a sunset.
If you aren’t of a spiritual persuasion, take some time of solitude, deep breathing, meditating. Many studies have shown the great benefit or prayer and meditation on our longevity and happiness maybe this is something missing from your life.
Diet Perhaps your diet has slipped into regular takeaway foods and coffee injected mornings? Perhaps you have hidden food sensitivities causing an inflammatory response in your body? Reclaim your health by increasing raw fruit and veggies in to the diet (living foods) and reducing or eliminating processed foods. Food sensitivities can be identified by using an elimination diet or other methods such as a biocompatibility hair analysis (excitingly this will be available at my clinic in the next few weeks so stay tune!)
Exercise Many athletes are trained to push there bodies beyond the place most of us pack up and go home, while this is great for winning races it can also interfere with listening to our bodies when downtime is needed, adrenal fatigue is quite common in these driven folk. Being fit does not always equate with being healthy. Perhaps its time to look at your training regimes and making sure you are filling up on lots of unprocessed, body nourishing, anti-inflammatory whole foods and getting adequate rest. (the book THRIVE by professional triathlete Brenda Brazier is great for this, see my resources list)
Commitments. Reflect on your life, can you declutter your activities? is saying Yes one of your stressors? (It is for me!) perhaps work commitments, family commitments, life commitments need to be evaluate for the way they make your body feel, heart beat faster?do you become inpatient and snappy when thinking about them . A trait of our modern world is the ‘too busy’ with so many choices and distractions from various social media feeds and the like, FOMO (fear of missing out) is epidemic. Causing all sorts of mental stress and anxieties. Prioritise what is important and take small regular steps to make these things happen and you will find the stress starting to dissipate .
Hobbies What are you really passionate about? what makes your heart sing and your mind relax? breeding budgies? collecting shells? photography? reading a good book? knitting? bush walking? art? playing an instrument.. This is what life is about, to enjoy your passions. Make sure you do! Its soul food, nourishing and uplifting. Almost as much as a green smoothie 😉
Balancing It all Out
In clinic I tend to find when people are feeling burnt out and we have addressed any emotional/mental/ causes we will assess the physical and start to rebalance body systems/organs, most often its the dance between the ..
- Adrenals and Thyroid
- Hormones and Adrenals
- Adrenal and Muscle/Nervous system tension
Our Adrenal glands, are the two little guys sitting right on top of our kidneys. The adrenals are responsible for blasting out adrenaline to help us wrestle the lion that entered the village. In 2017 that lion could be a work deadline, the fighting children, cooking a 3 course meal for fussy relatives, prepping for an exam or it could also be fighting a long term virus.
Adrenalin is designed to work in short sharp burst, for times of acute stress, sending blood to our muscles and heart allowing us to ‘fight or flee’. If we stay in this place of adrenalin pumping longer then designed… days, weeks, months, even years, our poor adrenals do become fatigued. When overworked, these babies can crash in a emotionally, fatigued, no good for anyone pile, unravelling our bodies as they go down.
Herbs for the adrenals include – withania, siberian ginseng, parsley root, radiola,
When looking at the hormones and adrenals – great choices are liquorice, shatavari, sarsaparilla or damiana
For muscle tension Valerian is a favourite to add with the adrenal tonics, and regular soaks in epsom salt baths
Nervous system – depending on personality types, I use in a blend herbs such as chamomile, skullcap, vervain, oats, motherwort, california poppy
The other organ which often gets out of whack when we are out of balance is the Thyroid gland – The thyroid particularly vulnerable in times of change. Our thyroid plays a role in many hormonal signals, the skin, hair and nervous system and if out of balance can impact these areas. The thyroid is involve in metabolism too so can drive sudden weight loss or weight gain. Acknowledging the impact of peak hormonal activity such as puberty, childbirth, breastfeeding and menopause, or other changes in your physical life such as moving, losing a job, loss of a loved one is important. If our thyroid isn’t happy neither are our adrenals and sex hormones, and so the circle goes.
Herbs for thyroid include.. Bladderwrack, Blue flag, mugwort,
As a Traditional Herbalist and Natural Health practitioner I want to look at your body as a whole, not just these glands or organs. To make a blend for someone who is burnt out I will include some of the above herbs but everyones mix will be unique to them. I am looking to bring back in balance what is out, eg this may include a gut cleansing program.
Down time and clean healthy foods to restore your vital force and get you back to good working order is worth the missed days from work or the gym.
A diet rich in plant foods, mainly raw is the best way heal. Aim to increase fruit and veggies to at least 60% of your diet 80-90% even better. These living foods are full of vitality and much needed nutrients. I can’t say enough about the healing powers of a Living Food diet. A diet that is rich in a variety of unprocessed raw foods has been used for centuries as a healing tool.
An easy way to achieve this is to have fruit for breakfast (as much as you can eat or put in a smoothie), a big green salad, full of colour, for lunch, raw veggies and dips or a green smoothie for afternoon tea and a whole food cooked, raw or partly raw dinner.
Kelp – a must have for thyroid health, a whole food source of iodine and also a known detoxifier of heavy metals. Heavy metals have become more of a concern as pollution increases in our world. I suggest everyone could do with some kelp or other sea vegetables in there daily diet. Kelp is available at my clinic or your friendly health food store.
Plant medicines do wonders to bring balance into body and allow its innate healing to take place.
It is ideal to have these herbs individual prescribed for you by a trained herbalist who will take into account your whole bodies story but if you like you can consider purchasing my new blend, ADRENAL LOVE and see how you go.
It is based on herbal know how centuries old and my ten plus years of clinical experience. ADRENAL LOVE is designed to nourish those adrenals and restore energy and vitality into you body.
While Im not a big proponent of supplements sometimes we do need them while we are healing, almost like a bandaid holding everything in place while your good nutrition and plant medicines do the work. When we are stressed and heading to burning out the three main supplements to consider are
- A good quality B complex
- Vitamin C
I feel this blog post is long enough and the kids do need to be fed, I hope I have given you something to reflect on.
The endocrine system and all our body system biochemical pathways, the way they link and work together can be quite complex, and beautiful. Its easy to get caught up in a narrow small cellular level when looking for healing. While its important to look at health and healing from all angles, Traditional healers step back and see the bigger picture, its not *just* the thyroid, the adrenals etc but a dance between energies flowing between the mind, body and spirit. We take our time to understand your story verbally and what signals your body whispers through observation, skin tone, tongue, pulse and iris readings
For myself, returning to a 80 – 100% raw diet has done wonders very quickly, I am also using a blend similar to Adrenal Love and taking magnesium and vitamin C supplementation. Ill be returning to the gym soon (Please. Don’t rush back into your crazy, wait until you have had time to put some sensible structure in place) Im choosing shorter distances runs this year so training doesn’t take away to much time and energy from other things.
So as I climb back off the lounge to fold that washing, I hope you are soon able to join me.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like further information or book online here
References and Resources
Brazier, B. (2008). Thrive (1st ed.). Philadelphia, Pa.: Da Capo/Lifelong.
Hall, Dorothy (1989) Whats wrong with You and How Natural therapies can help (2nd ed) Viking Hall
Romm, Aviva. (2017). The adrenal thyroid revolution (1st ed.). HarperOne.