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Adrenal Fatigue is a complex condition and getting to the bottom of it takes a lot of energy and motivation. That is exactly what most people don’t have as they experience symptoms like an ongoing fatigue, lethargy, insomnia, brain fog and difficulty getting out of bed each morning. As you know, suffering from Adrenal Fatigue can be very difficult. Experts estimate it affects up to 80% of all the people in the world in one way or another. And those affected by Adrenal Fatigue are as diverse as any population. Adrenal Fatigue is an equal-opportunity condition and does not discriminate against whom it chooses.
Whenever we face a stressful or threatening situation our body responds by creating stress hormones that speed up heart rate, increase blood pressure, slow digestion, increase the amount of oxygen you breathe in, shunt blood flow to major muscle groups and release energy stores for immediate use. We get a burst of energy and strength. This important defense system is known as our fight-or-flight-response and is 40.000 years old.
It was meant to be triggered occasionally and only for short-term use. So that our early ancestors could deal with physical threats in which the emergency resolved very quickly in a few seconds or minutes, such as a sabre-toothed tiger or warrior from another tribe.
Unfortunately we cannot fight or run away from our modern day stresses. We can’t run from health worries, financial problems, work stress, noisy neighbors, relationship troubles, traffic jams. But these psychological stressors still trigger our fight-or-flight response. When stressors become unrelentingly frequent, or chronic and remain unresolved as can be the case with the above psychological stressors, our body is constantly in stress response mode.
Then after coping with stress for a long period of time, the body simply runs out of ways to produce stress hormones. Hormone levels begin to drop and we crash. During this process you may have difficulty getting up in the morning and getting low on energy, moody and foggy when not eating regularly.
But aside from the physical symptoms, Adrenal Fatigue can have a profound impact on emotional and psychological health and with respect to relationships, social life and work. You may experience that you have a limited ability (or inability) to work, take part in daily activities, relationships, exercising, social events and community activities which may further lead to isolation, anxiety and depression. Those suffering from Adrenal Fatigue may find they either lose or have to relinquish their job, goals and plans for the future, financial security, relationships, hobbies and any spontaneity they once had.
Adrenal Fatigue is an equal-opportunity condition and does not discriminate against whom it chooses. I have coached Adrenal Fatigue sufferers who are high-flying executives, university students, entrepreneurs, full-time stay-at-home moms, and people who are out of work. Those affected by Adrenal Fatigue are as diverse as any population. What they have in common, however, is an inability to prioritise their own needs and desires.
I strongly believe that Adrenal Fatigue is often a matter of boundaries. When we are unable to draw and maintain healthy and strong boundaries in our lives – we are vulnerable to Adrenal Fatigue. All of the obvious causes of Adrenal Fatigue that you can read about almost everywhere include stress, poor diet, poor sleeping, financial worries, physical and mental exhaustion, toxic relationships, mismatch in values, poor work-life balance, doing a job you don’t like or not feeling equipped to perform adequately at.
Most of the above factors are boundary issues; they arise because of an inability to draw a clear boundary. Being unable to know when to say no, or know when to stop. Being unable to ask for help and to make new choices.
From my personal experience and in my observation and experiences with clients, Adrenal Fatigue affects people that are trying to do too much and, more importantly, who are trying to do too much of the wrong thing. When you consistently, over a period of time, convince yourself to do something (or some things) that is not good for you, and that doesn’t make you happy you open yourself up to Adrenal Fatigue.
This may be for example staying in a job that you do not like, or a relationship that isn’t working for you. It may be for example drinking and eating things that don’t agree with you, but you tell yourself you need to in order to fit in, or make other people happy. When you do things that are wrong for you, be it at work, at home, in a relationship or in the world, you create an ongoing tension between what you want to do and what you tell yourself to do. And that is exhausting…
“Saying no to others is saying yes to yourself” – Anonymous
Your assignment for the next couple of days is to say yes to yourself. Start to practice your “selection” muscle by saying no to things that do not serve you, and yes to things that do serve you.
During each day, please find (at least) one thing that you allow yourself to say no to. It can be a something small or more substantial – the choice is all yours.
Some examples of saying No are:
I’d love to hear from you back in the comment section about the ways you have been saying yes to yourself!
I strongly believe that we suffer from Adrenal Fatigue, because we have become disconnected from ourselves. When we are internally dis-connected and dis-integrated, our boundaries become weak and easy to violate. With weak boundaries, we are like sponges and allow others to step inside our inner self, define our world for us and use up our energy.
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