Try as you might to better your pole dancing skills, you find your body constantly falls short of your expectations. The struggle to build strength and endurance frustrates and exhausts you. You never found it this difficult in the past – what is going on?
You could have adrenal fatigue.
Do you constantly feel drained, even when you’ve had enough sleep? Do you struggle to get up in the morning, and find yourself snacking on treats to get yourself through the day?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, read on…
People who ‘burn the candle at both ends’, pushing their body through constant physical challenges, whilst struggling through busy and stressful days at home or work, are particularly prone to adrenal fatigue.
I’m no medical expert, but it sounds to me that many a fervent pole dancer would fit that bill!
Adrenal fatigue (also known as ‘hypoadrenia’) is usually brought on by chronic stress, excessive exercise, sleep deprivation or nutritional deficiencies. Prolonged feelings of intense fear, worry, guilt or anger can also push your body past the tipping point, as can chronic allergies, injury or infections such as the flu or pneumonia.
If you feel generally over worked, or are enduring relentless physical, mental or emotional strain, you are at risk.
So What IS Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is not a medically recognised syndrome, although the more severe adrenal insufficiency is. Adrenal fatigue is a theory, widely accepted by alternative medicine practitioners and holistic health therapists.
The theory is that when your body is under incessant stress, your adrenal glands are unable to keep up with the constant triggering of the ‘fight or flight’ response.
The adrenal glands sit over the kidneys and are responsible for secreting over 50 different hormones, including epinephrine, cortisol, progesterone, DHEA, estrogen, and testosterone.
If your adrenal glands are performing at a sub-optimal level, it doesn’t take long for your body’s hormonal and energy reserves become depleted. In turn your metabolism slows down, and your body is forced to increase nervous system activity just to provide enough fuel to keep you going. Adrenal dysfunction can also interfere with your sleep patterns, which results in light, restless sleep that leaves a person feeling worn out even first thing in the morning.
What Does This Mean For Me?
When adrenal fatigue strikes, living your daily life starts to become difficult.
Finding the energy to attack each day with positivity and vigour becomes increasingly difficult. Training in any physical activity (include pole) to your full potential is out of the question, no matter how hard you try.
At this stage, your depleted energy reserves, combined with any existing stressful conditions (which likely contributed to the onset of the problem) makes it probable you will experience the following common side effects:
- Physical weakness
- Craving for sweets and salt
- Weight gain and inability to lose weight
- Irritability, feelings of frustration, anxiety
- Lightheadedness that occurs upon standing
- Poor memory
- Low immune system (poor resistance to infections)
- Alcohol intolerance
- Inability to relax
- Racy mind
- Trouble getting out of bed
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Changes in libido; often decreased sex drive
If you suspect your body is exhausted to the point of adrenal fatigue, the best treatment is a lifestyle change…
Nutrition and Diet
- Eat frequent, small meals every two to four hours.
- Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
- Eat protein with every meal.
- Avoid sugar and overly processed food such as white pasta, white bread and white rice
- Avoid caffeine (coffee, soft drink) and tobacco.
- Make sure you receive your RDI (recommended daily intake) of vitamin C, L-Theanine and Vitamin B5.
- Add some relaxing exercise, such as yoga, walking, meditation or stretching into your day at least twice a week.
- Learn to say ‘No’. To be constantly helping others leaves little emotional or physical energy for yourself.
- Learn deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques.
- Locate the main sources of your stress and put into motion strategies to reduce it. Perhaps you need to practice better time management, or reduce your extra-curricular commitments.
- If your work and home life keeps you indoors a lot, it’s time to get out into the fresh air. Take your music, a book or a friend to the beach, a mountain or your local botanical garden. Make it a habit to wind down the window of your car when you’re travelling too.
- Learn how to accept a compliment.
- There’s truth the old cliché ‘laughter is the best medicine’. If you find your sense of humour isn’t what it used to be, set a few dates in your diary to rent a funny movie, go and watch a stand up comedian or why not go along to a comedy how-to class yourself?
- It’s important to make time for self nurturing. Hot bathes, a massage or manicure, a day out with a friend or simply an evening spent curled up with a book are important to your health. Unfortunately these essentual activies are so easily overlooked in this busy day and age.
- Animals are great therapy! If you don’t have a pet of your own, you could search for pet sitting opportunities in your local area or volunteer to walk your neighbours’ dog next time they are on holiday.
Finding the time to fix up your lifestyle
If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, it is likely that your life is already so busy that these recommendations seem like wishful thinking.
If that’s the case, it is more important than EVER to make time for at least two of them a week.
If you can afford it, see what you can delegate to other people. Can you hire a child minder once a week, or perhaps get your work clothes laundered and dry cleaned for you? If not, don’t give up yet. Simply turning off your computer and your work mobile one evening a week can make a big difference.
And don’t forget to make sure you are getting adequate sleep and nutrition, too.
How do I know if I have adrenal fatigue?
The following symptoms are characteristic of adrenal fatigue:
- Low body temperature
- Low blood pressure
- Excessive hunger
- Menstrual problems including PMS and menopausal symptoms.
If you regularly experience any of these, or several of the symptoms listed earlier in the article, you could have adrenal fatigue. Alternatively you may be suffering from hypoglycemia, anxiety, fibromyalgia, thyroid hormonal imbalances or depression.
For an accurate diagnosis, please see your practitioner for a blood, urine or saliva test, which will measure your levels of cortisol, DHEA and epinephrine.
Wishing you all the best in your health!
If you have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or email email@example.com
Every effort has been made to ensure the information in this article is true and correct. This article does not constitue medical advice – if in doubt always see a medical professional.
INFORMATION SOURCES: Adrenal Fatigue.Org, Custom Medicine, Advance Health and Mayo Clinic.