I thought we’d get ahead this year, and ideally, for as long as we’d like to – in regards to preserving our energy, fighting off fatigue, having a strong immune system, not feeling tired constantly, depleted, defeated and find it hard to get to sleep at night.
We’re all back into work and I feel now is the time to start implementing and cementing habits that nourish our human batteries - aka our adrenal glands and support our bodies.
The 8 ways outline in this target various aspects of your life, but also all come together to support your adrenal glands – Santa hat looking things that sit on top of our kidneys (which is how I think of them, like Santas lil helper / we’re Santa in this analogy).
Our adrenals enable our survival – they release stress hormones; cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline influencing our degree of inflammation, heart rate, blood pressure, immune system, nutrient utilisation and ability to fight or flee.
When stress is chronic and long term, it sucks. It drains our nutrients and energy, switches off our immune system, fucks with our digestion, mood, sleep, ability to be a loving person and everything else. And this is usually what we experience, because there is SO many stressors all around us – we can’t escape or avoid it – we have to learn how to adapt – and these 8 keys help us to do just that.
Short-term, acute stress – is beneficial, and is also termed “hermetic stressors” which actually strengthen our bodies and create a stronger “buffer” to tedious non-life threatening stressors like relationship stress, pollution, traffic, bills etc. And although weknow they’re not detrimental to our survival, our adrenals don’t. They just set a signal saying: ALERT! STRESS! RELEASE!!!! And our body gets flooded with hormones.
1. Hormetic Stressors:
Incorporating hormetic stressors into your life is the 1stkey way to strengthen your adrenals. Hormetic stressors include;
Exercise (but not training 24/7 - that you’re constantly breaking yourself down and feeling like a pile of shit) – signals our body to repair, and in that process strengthens our muscle fibres, our CV system, our immune system, balances our hormones and enables us to be more resilient and badass.
Hot and cold exposure– these include cold showers (2 min a day), cryotherapy, infrared saunas or even just letting your body adapt to your surroundings, not always having the AC on, not adding that extra jumper on – teaching your body to deal with ranges of temperature forces your body to adapt and get stronger, signal cell death – cleaning up your rogue cells, decreases inflammation and just improves you as a human being.
Fasting– whether it be Intermittently or prolonged, again triggers the benefits of acute stressors – making you more resilient, adaptive, be able to switch fuel sources, face any food dependencies, signals cell death and cleans up toxic metabolic wastes.
So, to implement them into your daily life;
- Have a 2 minute cold shower in the morning or night. Challenge yourself. Hop in, and BREATHE. Calm your nervous system and notice the benefits.
- Establish a consistent movement routine that you love, and yields the results you desire. Don’t cheat yourself.
- Implement intermittent fasting or TRE – skip breakfast, or eat dinner early and don’t eat for at least 12-14 hours, 2 hours after you’ve finished eating (as it starts once your food has digested).
2. Pick your stimulants
As a passionate coffee lover, I understand. Caffeine is amazing, it has a tonne of benefits, but I also feel we need to pick our battles and not get into that dependable cycle which I know I have.
For this habit, you’ll have to experiment what works for you, your lifestyle and also be open minded about the entire thing.
Be open minded that you don’t actually need, caffeine – that means you’ve got a degree of exhaustion and adrenal fatigue and therefore – implementing the other 7 habits in this will help you wean this dependence – be open minded that you may experience headaches on your caffeine-free days, that you’ll want to return to your habit and that you have to just know its benefiting you.
My ideas are; some days have your coffee / stimulant of choice. Choose those days, is it Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays? And then Friday – Sunday you opt for a Matcha latte, Turmeric latte, Hot cacao, Medicinal mushroom tonic, decaf coffee, herbal teas, Dandelion root, water or kombucha?
Set boundaries for yourself – 1 a day. Not 2 or 3. If you’re feeling tired, feel it. Make that a motivating factor to get your adrenals strengthened and release yourself from the reliance on caffeine and stimulants to perform.
Drink it. A lot of us don’t. We choose either stimulants like Redbull, coffee’s, soft drinks, BCAA’s etc. And we ignore the foundational role water plays in our health, energy production and wellbeing.
We need water to digest our food and convert it to energy. We need water to detox out all the toxins out from our body. We need water to focus and pay attention. We need water to keep our skin looking juicy. We need water to function – it’s that simple.
My tip is to buy yourself either a 500ml or 1L bottle (not plastic coz that’s just leaking xenoestrogens and BPA’s (aka stressors) into your body) – to make it easier to keep track of how much water you’re drinking – especially if you’re exercising and drinking stimulants.
0.33L x 1kg body weight is a good goal to consume daily.
I love adaptogens so much (and if you consume my content, you’d probably guess that by now).
Adaptogens in my mind, are created for this entire blogs purpose – to adapt us to the stressors that exist in our surroundings, to help restore balance, harmony and just normal-ness to our crazy, 2019 lives.
My favourite adaptogens include:
Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane and Reishi Medicinal mushrooms – add ½ tsp to your drink of choice each day to reap the epic benefits.
I love blends like ATP’s Cort RX or Teelixir’s Primal Essence or Immune Defence.
I also got you guys 10% off for any adaptogens or products from Teelixir use the code: themillennialnutritionist at check out, yee ha
5. Foods and supplements for adrenals
So far we’ve got hermetic stressors, like cold showers, intermittent fasting and exercise. We’ve got choosing your stimulants, and breaking that reliance on them. Then we’ve got water, helping to detox and support vital functions, and adaptogenic herbs.
Incorporating 1, let alone all 4 will drastically improve your life, and so to continue assimilating habits into your life that are beneficial to your energy and wellbeing are eating adrenal nourishing foods.
These include foods rich in nutrients;
B vitamins, Magnesium and Vitamin C
B vitamins & Mag are both stress buffers, used for 100’s of enzymatic reactions and functions, like macronutrient metabolism, cellular energy production and cognitive function. They are depleted super fast – because of all the stressors in the world, and when we’re not replenishing them adequately we experience anxiety, cramps, spasms, fatigue, insomnia, difficulty sleeping and slowed recovery.
Foods for B vitamins include; leafy green veg, whole grains, avocado, legumes and bananas.
Magnesium is cacao, spinach, lentils and kelp.
You can grab an activated B vitamin supplement, as well as a magnesium supplement to further support your body, and alleviate symptoms of chronic stress.
Vitamin C is required for creating cortisol – our stress hormone – as well as our immune function and as an antioxidant – requiring daily replenlishing to keep us thriving.
Foods rich in Vitamin C; citrus, orange, yellow and red fruit and vegetables, Camu Camu powder and Kakadu plum.
6. Reducing lifestyle and external stressors
So now we’ve talked about what to add in, we’re talking about what to take out – or reduce. Which are the stressors themselves.
Take note of what causes you stress – things you might not even recognise as stress.
Are you fighting with your partner? Friends? Family? Colleagues? Boss?
Are you drinking and eating from plastic?
Washing your body with sulphide and artificial fragrance products?
Do you let yourself get frustrated in traffic?
Are you consuming processed and refined foods?
Are you drinking alcohol frequently? Taking drugs? Smoking?
Do you work around machinery and fumes?
These are just a few examples of common stressors that we may not recognise as adding to our toxic load.
So create a list, and then go through it. What doesn’t serve you? Why are you putting up with this stress? Is it worth it? What can you do to overcome, diminish and release it?
Can you go to therapy or just cut out that toxic relationship?
Can you go buy a KeepCup and glass containers to eat and drink out of?
Can you throw out your mainstream products and opt. for organic and natural skin care products?
Can you use your commute to listen to podcasts and audio books, and be empathetic and focus your attention elsewhere?
And then go do it.
7. Mindfulness & meditation
So to compliment swapping and getting rid of pointless lifestyle stressors, managing the remaining ones is what’s next.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation to calm your nervous system – taking you out of a constant fight-or-flight response, and back into your parasympathetic state.
Clearing your mind of thoughts, emotions, fantasies and worries that drive stress.
Practising being grateful to add perspective to your life.
Stretching, walking, journaling, meditating, breath work – all of these are highly beneficial and scientifically backed (as is everything in this list) to reducing the impact of stress on your body and life.
8. Honouring rest
And then finally, to tie it all together is honouring, accepting and embracing rest. Whether its rest days, where you plan nothing strenuous and just go with the flow.
Whether it’s a remedial massage, a float, a holiday, a retreat, a nap! An early night of sleep, delegating tasks, going home from work early that day to just recoup – just honour that you need rest. And there’s nothing weak about that. It’s smart. To stop, to recharge so you can continue, for as long as you like, and not burn yourself out, burn your relationships and resent everything because you never gave yourself tine to rest, reflect and recharge.
So implementing any or all (ideally) of these will yield 10000x fold investment on you, your wellbeing, your health, your relationships, your journey all of it. And most of these are free – you don’t need money to mediate, to breathe, to walk, to intermittently fast, to dump those toxic relationships, to take a cold shower to exercise.
If you want further resources and guidance, download my Adrenal Reset Diet guide here!
All my love