Do you have symptoms of adrenal fatigue and need info on how to start on the road to adrenal fatigue recovery?
I know that feeling all too well, my friend.
In fact, I myself have dealt with adrenal fatigue.
Let me save you a ton of time and tell you what I’ve learned about adrenal fatigue after A LOT of trial and error and appointments with seven (yes, seven!) different doctors over the years.
Stress+Not Eating Right For Your Body+Poor Sleep=Exhaustion
Let’s face it, being a wife and mom can be downright exhausting. And not just because your kids need you for 100,000 things each day.
It can also be tiring because there are stresses and worries, bills to pay, groceries to get, and activities to attend.
And the fact that many of us stay up too late and rarely make time for ourselves doesn’t help either.
Eventually, this rockstar lifestyle of having snacks on the go instead of meals, not getting enough sleep, and partying all night with sick kids (or watching serial killer documentaries on Netflix) that we moms lead will come back to bite us in the…adrenals.
But don’t worry, in just a minute there will be 17 tips to help you on your journey to adrenal fatigue recovery!
Adrenal Fatigue- It’s A Thing, Sort Of…
I can assure you that the symptoms, feelings, and exhaustion are definitely real. But the name, adrenal fatigue, is a little misleading.
The adrenals aren’t usually fatigued, more accurate names and descriptions are HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis dysfunction or possibly even OAT (ovarian-adrenal-thyroid) hormone imbalance.
These are two separate but linked hormone pathways that can become imbalanced due to a number of factors such as stress, leaky gut, sluggish liver, or sneaky infections.
In these pathways, when one organ or gland begins to struggle it has a direct effect on the others. This means that if your adrenals are out of balance, the ovaries and the thyroid will start to show signs as well.
But there are simple steps you can take to support your adrenals and your whole body in general that will make a huge difference in how you feel.
17 Tips For Adrenal Fatigue Recovery
Ready to make a few simple changes, have more energy and feel better?
Here are 17 ways to support your body and adrenals.
1. Be Your Own Health Advocate
The first thing to do when you are dealing with adrenal fatigue or a hormone imbalance is to take charge of your health and be your own advocate.
Many tests don’t show adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances, or even wonky thyroid numbers until the situation is well into the serious range. And on top of that, many doctors do not even recognize adrenal fatigue or any of the other names that it can be called.
To add insult to injury, many doctors or health care professionals often do not know how to accurately read test results. If the test numbers are in what is considered to be a normal range, you must feel normal, right?
Nope, that’s not at all true. You can have all of your tests come back in the “normal” range and still feel terrible.
That’s because some test reference ranges are ridiculously wide so being “normal” doesn’t mean that you are optimal.
Important Steps To Take:
- Read and research as much as you can.
- Seek out a few functional medicine doctors and have consultations before choosing the right one for you. Just because they studied functional medicine doesn’t mean they are right for you and your situation. If there are none in your area, look for online recommendations, many doctors are taking virtual appointments now!
- Have a list of tests in mind and ask for them if the doctor doesn’t suggest them first. If they say no, find a new doctor.
- Join Facebook groups for adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, or any other issue you would like to know more about. Be cautious (because anyone can say anything on the internet, it doesn’t make it true) but look into the things that they suggest because some of the people have done years of research and are very knowledgeable.
And finally, don’t ever give up!
You may not find the right doctor or health care provider at first and you may need to try a few different supplements, lifestyle changes, or have extra tests but eventually, you will find what works for you.
And best of all, you will feel empowered because you took responsibility and became your own health advocate!
2. Test, Don’t Guess
This is really important!
While it’s true that not everything shows up on a test and many tests only give us a snapshot of one specific time of one day, there is still a lot of information to be gained from testing.
The trick is to get the right testing done.
You can start with some easy at-home tests for adrenal fatigue. That, of course, is not going to give you all of the answers but it can give you a starting point.
Next, consider routine blood work. A CBC, metabolic panel, full thyroid panel, and full iron panel are must-haves! There may be others that your health care provider would recommend but these should be the bare minimum suggested.
Having trouble finding a doctor that will order the tests you need and want?
No problem! You can order your own right here 😉
In addition, look into a Dutch Urine Test. You can order this yourself or through your practitioner. It is helpful to get an idea of your cortisol, cortisone, and other hormone levels.
And finally, many have found helpful information through HTMA testing. This test analyzes a hair sample to find mineral imbalance, the presence of heavy metals, and even food intolerances.
Balancing And Optimizing Vitamin And Mineral Levels Is Essential For Adrenal Fatigue Recovery!
Word of warning though- be careful where you get an HTMA test, there are only two labs (that I am aware of) that don’t wash the hair samples (which is important!). Find more info from the only two labs that perform this test correctly- Analytical Research Labs or Trace Elements.
3. Reduce Stress
It isn’t possible to entirely eliminate stress but reducing it is really important if you are working toward adrenal fatigue recovery.
Stress can be from mental or physical sources and, if not properly dealt with, it can hinder healing.
Easy Ways To Reduce Stress:
- Delegate Responsibilities– if you have kids or a partner at home you may need to explain to them that you need to help. We moms often have many things we do each day but remember the saying, “many hands make light work”. If you explain what is going on and that you need extra help you may just be surprised at how they rise to the challenge!
- Adjust Expectations- I’m not going to lie, this isn’t easy. When you see your child folding laundry in their own special way or how they’ve loaded the dishwasher, it could feel similar to when someone scrapes nails across a chalkboard. But just let go with it for now. They’re learning new skills and you’re getting more time to rest (hopefully!).
- Don’t Be Afraid To Say No– It is so easy to overcommit but if you’re on the road to adrenal fatigue recovery, you have to learn to say no. Make a to-do list and see what you can delegate, put off, or step away from. Not only reducing your commitments give you more rest time, but evaluating your current lifestyle and commitments will also help you realize what is really important and in line with your new lifestyle goals and what is not.
4. Add Light Therapy
Light therapy can be helpful is you are working toward adrenal fatigue recovery because light directly affects hormone production and regulation.
Cortisol especially can be thrown out of balance if we stay up too late, don’t get sun in the morning, or work afternoon or overnight shifts.
One of the best ways that I have found to help right an out of balance circadian rhythm is to use a sun lamp.
I use mine in the morning while I’m eating breakfast and drinking my hydrating morning concoction. This helps me to have more energy, be more awake in the morning (instead of tired in the morning and wired at night), and I’ve noticed a better overall sense of well-being.
5. Eat A Balanced Breakfast
Eating a balanced breakfast means having a small amount of healthy carbs, some fat, and protein. Also, try to eat within 30 minutes or so of waking.
A good example of a balanced breakfast would be a sausage and sweet potato skillet with some vegetables that have a little coconut oil or butter drizzled on them.
Another fun breakfast option that works well (especially if you are not normally someone that eats breakfast) is a smoothie.
All you need is a small handful of berries, a large handful of your favorite veggies, milk of your choice or yogurt, and a scoop or two of collagen. This is a quick, easy, and healthy option that will help stabilize your blood sugar and feed your body.
Speaking of feeding your body leads me to the next tip that is essential to support your body- Don’t skip meals!
6. Eat Regular Meals
It is definitely important to start your day with a balanced breakfast but it is also important for adrenal and hormone health to eat regular meals.
When trying to recover from adrenal fatigue it is necessary for some people to have small, healthy snacks throughout the day to help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Eating the right foods (and eliminating unhealthy foods and ingredients) helps to nourish your body, reduce the stress of fluctuating blood sugar levels, and can help you heal the fatigue you’re experiencing.
7. Try Carb Cycling
In his book about adrenal stress, Dr. Christianson talks about carb cycling and how to do it properly in order to positively affect the circadian rhythm and cortisol production.
It’s an interesting read, if you get a chance I would highly recommend checking it out.
I personally did not agree with everything he mentioned like eliminating eggs or dairy, because I feel like the organic, grass-fed versions of those can be quite healthy unless you have an allergy or intolerance, but I did find the carb cycling suggestion along with pairing carbs with fats and proteins to be quite helpful.
Basically, his suggestion is to have a golf ball size amount of carbs at breakfast. For lunch, you would have 2 golf ball size servings, and at dinner, your carb size would be about the size of 3 golf balls.
After trying that for a few weeks I did feel like I noticed a change in the way I felt. I do know some who have had to tweak that a little though so if you try it and feel like that isn’t working well for you, don’t be afraid to change it up.
8. Add Salt
If you are dealing with adrenal fatigue it is possible that you have lower sodium levels or an imbalance of minerals. An easy fix for this is to add salt.
When hormone production is disrupted cortisol and aldosterone production can be affected and this, in turn, affects electrolyte balance. It is not uncommon for people with adrenal fatigue to have sodium or potassium levels that are not in the normal range or ratio.
If you find that your sodium and/or potassium levels are not where they’re supposed to be, you can help to fix this imbalance and support your adrenals by adding a little salt (1/4 tsp.) to your water in the morning.
Many find that they crave salt and this actually tastes good to them. If this does not taste good or it bothers your stomach, I have found that splitting up the amount through the day is much easier to tolerate.
9. Hydrate Properly
If the hormones are disrupted and electrolytes are imbalanced, as is the case for many, proper hydration becomes a very necessary part of healing and recovery.
Adding salt to a morning glass of water is a great start but if rehydration is the goal, drinking large amounts of plain water throughout the day can actually dilute and deplete minerals in the body.
Don’t get me wrong, water is very important and is absolutely an important part of a healthy life. But if you need to rehydrate and re-establish a good mineral balance, plain water isn’t going to get the job done.
Don’t reach for the Pedialyte either, that stuff is full of bad ingredients. Instead, an easy way to rehydrate and rebalance minerals is to make your own hydrating drink.
There are quite a few recipes out there but one of the most popular is what some call an adrenal tonic or cocktail.
- 4 oz. of fresh orange juice
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp. of Himalayan pink salt
Mix all ingredients. Sip slowly.
This recipe helps give your body Vitamin C, potassium, and sodium it needs to rebalance.
If you need to have a lower sugar option because of blood sugar problems, a candida issue, or other problems with bacterial overgrowth, these options are also very hydrating and could be an option as well:
- Bone broth
- Coconut water
- Sole water
10. Consider Eliminating Coffee
If you’re a coffee lover it may be necessary to give it up for a time. This isn’t true for everyone, but depending on your level of exhaustion and current needs, it may be something to consider.
Coffee has been found to have some health benefits but it can also be dehydrating and too stimulating for a body that is struggling.
If you find yourself not able to get going in the morning until you have coffee but crashing in the afternoon, feeling tired yet wired, feeling anxious, or sweating after drinking coffee, it may mean that your body isn’t handling it well right now and it’s time to find a different favorite morning drink.
Swap your morning coffee for a hydrating tonic or cocktail and soon you will have as much or more energy than you did when you started your day with coffee!
11. Opt For Gentle Exercise
Intense exercise can be great, but not for a body that is unbalanced. Vigorous exercise is a stress on the body that can be too much when hormone or adrenal levels (or mineral levels) are unbalanced.
Instead, opt for gentle and restorative movement that will help bring balance.
Examples Of Gentle Exercise:
- Walking (not speed walking!)
- Tai Chi
If you are in the latter stages of adrenal fatigue or dealing with severe hormone or thyroid imbalance, the best thing you can do is rest!
When you feel that it is time to start adding some gentle movement start with the suggestions above and go slooooowly!
12. Take Time To Rest
You may notice that there is a certain time of day when you just cannot keep going. That is pretty normal for those of us with adrenal or hormone imbalance.
If at all possible, try to take a break around this time each day. I know for me right after lunch was the worst time. So knowing this, I made sure that my kids had rest time every day where they would read or do something quiet for about an hour and I would lay down for at least 30 minutes.
That quiet time honestly made all the difference in how the rest of the day went. If I didn’t get a rest I would feel exhausted, dizzy, and over-emotional, so rest was high up on my list of priorities!
If you need extra rest don’t feel bad doing what you need to do to make that happen. Rest is one of the best things for adrenal fatigue recovery.
13. Start Meditating
Meditation has been shown to literally change the the brain, which is so amazing and so helpful for recovering from adrenal fatigue!
Benefits Of Meditation:
- Can help reduce stress naturally
- Increased control over anxiety and intruding thoughts
- Better focus
- Enhances self-awareness
- Can help fight memory loss
- Increase in kindness and compassion
- Better sleep
- Can help reduce physical pain
To reap the benefits of meditation you don’t need to be a monk that meditates for hours each day, start with a 5 minute guided meditation during a break at work or during your rest time each day.
Stick with it and before long you will begin to notice the subtle yet powerful effects of meditation.
14. Consider Adaptogens
Adaptogens are herbs that have a long history of helping to strengthen and support the body in times of stress. If you find yourself with symptoms of adrenal fatigue or even anxiety (because anxiety is common with us adrenal fatigue sufferers) adaptogens can bring great relief.
Commonly Suggested Adaptogens:
While many people find that these herbs are incredibly helpful it is necessary to use caution, especially in the late stages of adrenal fatigue.
Rhodiola specifically, but any substance really, can be too stimulating for some people. If you find yourself feeling better for a time and then crashing again or just not feeling well at all after taking a supplement, don’t continue to use it, it’s just not right for you.
While not adaptogens, Vitamins B & C are also very helpful for people that are working on adrenal fatigue recovery and should also be considered.
It is best to stick to food sources or food-based supplements though so be sure to check the quality of your products.
15. Make Sleep A Priority
It is so easy to stay up after the kids go to bed just to have some peace and quiet. Or maybe that’s when you catch up on work, watch your favorite show, or do chores that didn’t get done during the day.
I know all about being a night owl, in fact, I love staying up to the wee hours of the morning. It’s quiet, peaceful, and I feel like I get so much done!
The problem is that my body does not like the lack of sleep and the weird and unnatural schedule staying up late creates.
So, if you are like me and stay up too late it’s time to make sleep a priority!
To help accomplish this goal it’s helpful to create a good sleeping environment by making sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and free from distraction (meaning leave your phone in the kitchen or somewhere else).
Also, set a bedtime for yourself and do whatever you need to do to stick with it. Sleep is one of the most important factors in healing so this is something to put at the top of your list.
To help make sleep a priority and achieve good, restful sleep consider starting a bedtime routine.
Which brings us to the next step…..
16. Establish A Bedtime Routine
I know it kind of sounds like something you do for your kids, right? A lot of kids have a bedtime routine but, really, when did we stop needing one?
The truth is we didn’t.
At a time of stress, imbalance, and exhaustion, a bedtime routine can be something you can look forward to that will help you get good restful sleep.
Your bedtime routine could include anything you want or need but whatever you choose make sure that it induces peace and calm. You don’t want to add anything stimulating right before bed.
Relaxing Bedtime Activities:
- Reading a calming book
- Gentle yoga
- A warm bath
Whatever you choose I hope you absolutely love it, look forward to enjoying your time each night, and sleep peacefully.
17. Enjoy Life
I know that when you’re recovering from adrenal fatigue and exhaustion seems to be your constant companion, enjoying life can be a challenge.
But even if you are so fatigued you spend most the day on your couch, find something that brings you a little joy.
Maybe you love watching funny cat videos on YouTube, or you have a favorite book series or movie, or maybe you love hearing about what your kids did at school that day.
No matter what it is, if it brings you laughter and joy, focus on that for right now. It is easy to spend time thinking about not feeling well but I promise, focusing on what brings you happiness will help your mental and physical health much more.
Hope, joy, and a good support system will help you immensely on your journey to adrenal fatigue recovery!
So find a few things you love and put the little bit of energy you have right now into enjoying them.
A Few Final Thoughts…
If you want to work toward recovering from adrenal fatigue these 17 tips are a great starting place!
For the most part, the tips are simple lifestyle changes, but because life has so many moving parts, even simple changes can be a challenge to implement. Just take one step at a time!
And please remember that real healing takes time, it often has it’s ups and downs, and being kind to yourself is key.
Are you starting on the road to adrenal fatigue recovery? If so, what do you feel are your biggest challenges?
I would love to hear your thoughts! Please feel free to leave them in the comments or send me a message 🙂
Hi, I'm Amy. I'm a Licensed Massage Therapist and have a degree in Human Services, but my most important job is being a wife and mom. My goal is to provide others with researched and reliable natural health information just for women so you too can live....