Healing by Doing Nothing

The alarm goes off and you hit snooze, again. Most mornings, you hit snooze so many times that it is all you can do to get out the door to be on time for work. Oh, who are we kidding? Usually you are late for work.

You NEED coffee to jumpstart your day. Without it you are even more exhausted, brain-foggy and lethargic.

After lunch, you are so tired that you have to have more coffee or a sugary soda to get through the afternoon and by 3 pm you are craving something sweet in the worst way!

By the time you get home, it is all you can do to drag yourself to the couch to watch mind-numbing t.v. and dinner is usually take-out because you are too wiped out to prepare anything.

This was me less than a year ago and this is, unfortunately, not an uncommon scenario in today’s fast-paced, crazy world.

What I described above are all symptoms of an over-worked adrenal gland. The adrenals release hormones that help us “rest and digest” or “fight or flight.” When we are chronically stressed out, these glands get overused and eventually say, “I’m done!” When that occurs, we don’t create enough of the hormone that allows us to wake up in the morning and get through our day in a healthy, vibrant manner.

The “fight or flight” hormone, cortisol, is released anytime we are stressed out. What many people don’t realize is this doesn’t have to mean emotionally stressed. Frequently, the stress is caused by a food that our body does not respond well to. A consumption of processed foods, foods high in sugar and foods prepared with sub-optimal oils in restaurants leads us to “leaky gut” and this dynamic can be another source of stress for us.

Other things that put us in “fight or flight” mode include:

  • Over-exercising. There! I said it. Cortisol is released when you exercise. Release too much and you contribute to this chronically stressed out state.
  • Emotional stress – being in a stressful work environment, losing a job, losing a loved one, being in an unstable relationship whether that is with a parent, spouse or friend. All of these contribute to stress level and cause a rise in cortisol.
  • Physical trauma – suffering from an injury, recovering from surgery or chronic pain are all types of stress that contribute to an increase in cortisol.
  • A simmering chronic infection that you have lived with for so long, you are unaware that you have it. This may be bacterial, viral or a yeast infection.

Our bodies are not designed to be in this constant state of stressed out. There are things that you can do to have more energy and enjoy your days:

  • Eliminate the foods that do not serve your body. For some people that is hard to recognize and for others, there are so many foods that they “cannot” eat that they stop trying and eat anything and everything. (For that second group, that is a sign that your gut is leaky.)
  • Take 30 minutes every day to do something you enjoy. This was actually prescribed to me by a very smart physician. Thirty minutes sounds like a lot of time but you can take a 30 minute break or sleep for 14 hours a day. What would you prefer?
  • Wait! Didn’t I say that exercise raises the cortisol and we are trying to lower it. YUP! Do some light exercise every day such as yoga, walking or Tai Chi. Slow, mindful movements actually help to lower the cortisol versus other types of exercise like running, aerobics or lifting weights.
  • BREATHE! When we are stressed out, our breathing becomes very shallow. Take the time to focus on your breathe and see where it is at. If it is shallow and barely getting into your lungs, take deep breaths that fill your belly. Considering taking a breathing class!
  • Meditate and/or journal – Meditation resets our brain so that things that we thought were stressful are brought into reality.
  • Enjoy 45 minutes in a salt room! Sitting in a salt room allows you to disconnect from the world and the negative ions that are emitted from the salt make us feel less anxious, depressed and calmer.

By doing nothing, you can reset your hormones and do more to have the energy and the life that you want and deserve!