Adrenal Fatigue Recovery - 18+ Essential Tips for 2021
Adrenal fatigue recovery can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
So, it can take a long time until you get to feel better and have more energy.
To make the process easier, we’ve gathered some useful tips and tricks that will help you recover faster.
We’re going to cover:
- What is Adrenal Fatigue?
- 18+ Essential Tips for Adrenal Fatigue Recovery
Let’s get started with...
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
By now you can probably tell that adrenal fatigue symptoms are real. You feel exhausted the minute you open your eyes in the morning and that feeling stays with you for the rest of the day, every day.
But there’s some controversy related to the recognition of adrenal fatigue as a medical condition.
Let’s examine the cause and symptoms of adrenal fatigue and clear up the ambiguity that surrounds this term.
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is directly related to your adrenal glands. These are two small organs located on the top of your kidneys.
They’re responsible for the production of the “stress” hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine.
The levels of your stress hormones spike up when you’re in very stressful situations. This is also called the fight-or-flight mode. So, these hormones are pretty good at handling acute (short-term) stress. They help your body function at its optimal levels while you’re going through a stressful situation.
But if stress is part of your everyday routine, then you suffer from chronic (long-term) stress. Your adrenal glands have to keep producing high levels of cortisol all the time.
However, this constant production of cortisol can’t last for too long and at some point, your adrenal glands will not be able to produce adequate levels of stress hormones.
This leaves you with the feeling of tiredness, weakness, and a bunch of other symptoms related to the hormone imbalance in your body.
What Are The Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?
We’ve already established that adrenal fatigue can make you feel exhausted all the time. But there’s a bunch of other symptoms you might experience along the way.
Some of them are:
- Low blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Body aches
- Unexplained weight loss
- Cravings for salt and sugar
- Brain fog
- Weaker immune system
- Difficulty falling asleep in the night and waking up in the morning
Keep in mind that these symptoms might be an indicator of a more serious underlying medical condition. In that case, you should consider consulting a doctor.
Is Adrenal Fatigue a Real Condition?
The term adrenal fatigue was coined in 1998 by the naturopath and alternative medicine expert James Wilson.
However, the condition was never recognized officially by the medical society.
So, if you go to your GP with adrenal fatigue symptoms, you will not get diagnosed with the condition.
Even if you take a cortisol test that shows that the stress hormone levels are in the lower boundary range, you’ll be told you’re healthy despite feeling tired and weak all the time.
That’s because this range is very wide, from 7-28 ug/dL (micrograms per deciliter of blood) in the morning to 2-18 ug/dL in the afternoon.
So, you can feel very different depending on whether your cortisol levels are in the low, medium, or high range of the normal boundaries.
Also, traditional doctors only recognize the more severe condition called adrenal insufficiency, which happens when your cortisol levels are even more depleted.
So what can you do if you suspect you suffer from adrenal fatigue but your GP won’t diagnose you?
Read our tips to find out!
18+ Essential Tips for Adrenal Fatigue Recovery
Ready to get on the adrenal fatigue recovery track and feel better and more energized?
Here are 18+ essential tips to get you started!
#1. Do Your Own Research
Since adrenal fatigue is not recognized by all doctors, you have to take the matter in your own hands.
You know the symptoms are real because you’re experiencing them, yet many of the tests will show that your hormones are in their normal range.
But this information is very vague, imprecise, and unhelpful.
In this case, you can:
- Read and research the condition as much as you can.
- Get the help of a functional doctor. It’s better to search for a functional medicine doctor who will look more carefully into your cortisol levels and the cause behind them. The doctor will probably suggest healthy changes to your diet in combination with natural adrenal fatigue supplements that will help you recover faster.
- Understand which tests you need and have a prepared list with you when you meet your doctor. Ask them if they can do the tests for you. If they say no, find another doctor.
- Join Facebook groups for adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency to see what other people suggest. Read about their experience and gain more first-hand knowledge on the topic. However, take everything with a grain of salt, since it’s a social media channel and not the most accurate form of information.
And remember, the process of finding the right doctor, tests, lifestyle changes, and supplements can take a while. But that’s not a reason to give up. After a while, you will eventually find the methods and therapy that work best for you and you will slowly start feeling better.
#2. Get Tested
If you’re suspicious your symptoms are related to adrenal fatigue, don’t just assume you have it and start treating it.
First things first, you should get tested to understand what your hormone levels are as well as other important health indicators. This way, you will know better what to do next.
The trick here is to find the right tests.
A good start is some at-home tests for adrenal fatigue like:
- Blood pressure test. Lie down comfortably for a couple of minutes and measure your blood pressure. Then stand up and measure it again. In a healthy person, the blood pressure in a standing position will be 10-20 points higher. And if your blood pressure stays the same or drops, that might be an indicator of adrenal fatigue.
- Sergent’s white line. If you scratch your skin lightly and it turns white instead of red, your immune system is struggling and you might have adrenal fatigue.
- Pupil contraction. Observe your pupils’ contraction when you switch from darkness to bright light. If your pupils stay wide and there’s no contraction, that might be another indication of adrenal fatigue.
However, to see the full picture you’ll have to ask your functional doctor for further testing.
The following blood tests will allow you to understand your overall health condition:
- The complete blood count (CBC)
- Metabolic panel
- Thyroid panel
- Iron panel
You can also get a urine test that will show your cortisol, cortisone, and other hormone levels.
Additionally, you can get an HTMA test. This allows you to see any mineral imbalances you might have from a hair sample.
Once you run all these tests and make sure you don’t suffer from a more serious medical condition, you can start adrenal glands treatment.
#3. Reduce Stress
With a busy schedule, work, and house chores, it’s impossible to eliminate stress. But you can certainly work towards reducing it.
Minimizing the stressful factors in your life will help to speed up your adrenal fatigue recovery.
Here are a few ways in which you can do that:
- Share responsibilities. You might be used to tackling all responsibilities on your own. But there is nothing wrong with asking for some help from friends, relatives, your partner, or even your kids. Just explain how you’re feeling, ask them to maybe help you with the house chores or anything else you think they can handle. This can make a big difference since it will help you relax, catch up on rest, and feel less stressed.
- Learn to say no. You might find yourself committing to different activities, tasks, and events that are not in line with your life goals at the moment. Just make a to-do list and re-evaluate all of your tasks. If there are activities that you’re both not interested in and you can skip, go ahead! You’ll be surprised how eliminating overcommitment will save up your time and make you feel less stressed.
- Make time for yourself. Just free up 2-3 hours once or twice a week only for yourself. Commit to no one and nothing at this time and just do something that you love. That might be a hobby, a walk in the park, reading a good book, or simply rest.
#4. Have a Nutritious Breakfast
When you’re experiencing adrenal fatigue symptoms, you should not skip breakfast.
Try to eat within an hour after waking up. If you wait longer than that your blood sugar levels crash and this causes excess production of cortisol.
Also, your breakfast should be healthy and nutritious. This means you should include healthy carbs, fats, and protein.
For example, you can try chickpeas, sweet potato, or quinoa breakfast bowls to which you can add your favorite ingredients, like different herbs, veggies, nuts, and seeds.
Or, if you’re in a hurry you can mix up a quick nutritious smoothie with your favorite veggies and a handful of berries.
This will kick-start your normal bodily functions and keep you full for several hours.
Avoid having sugary foods in the morning since these will spike your blood sugar levels. But once that sugar rush is over, you’ll feel tired and craving more sugary snacks.
#5. Eat Regularly and Have a Balanced Diet
Besides a healthy breakfast, try to keep a healthy and balanced diet for all of your meals.
This means avoiding:
- Processed foods. These are usually stripped of nutrients and give you only empty calories.
- Refined grains. They contain little to no healthy fibers and carbs.
- Sugary snacks. You might find yourself craving sugary snacks but these will only spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. After the effect wears off, you’ll feel sugar withdrawal, leaving you craving more of it.
- Deep-fried foods. These are generally unhealthy since such foods are fried in re-used oil. This releases toxic free radicals after being heated for too long.
- Fast foods. These are a mix of hydrogenated oils, preservatives, refined grains, sugar, and a bunch of empty calories with no nutritional value.
- Hydrogenated oils. These oils are usually stripped of their nutrients and have many unhealthy additives.
Instead aim for healthier alternatives like:
- Whole grains contain more fiber, protein, and complex carbs which break down much slower and keep you full for longer.
- Leafy greens are a good source of magnesium, which is a vital mineral for the proper functioning of your adrenal glands.
- Lean meats are a good source of protein that gives you extra endurance for the day.
- Seeds and nuts provide you with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which support your adrenal glands.
- Healthy fats. Fats from natural sources help your body maintain proper cholesterol levels which also affect your stress hormones.
- Low-sugar fruits. Always aim for low-sugar fruits. This way, you don’t get a rapid spike in your blood sugar and cortisol levels.
Also, try to eat regularly. If you're recovering from adrenal fatigue, you might feel the need to snack often during the day. Don’t fight this urge. Just try to choose healthier snacking options.
This way, you’ll maintain stable blood sugar levels, balance your stress hormones, and recover faster.
#6. Reduce or Eliminate Coffee
Being tired all the time might nudge you to drink more coffee. After all, coffee helps you fight off tiredness and keep on with your daily routine.
What caffeine does is stimulates your adrenal glands to produce more of the stress hormones and that’s when you feel energized.
However, this leaves your adrenal glands more fatigued than before and you feel more tired after the caffeine rush is gone.
It also prevents your adrenal glands from producing enough cortisol when you skip your daily caffeine intake. And that’s what makes you feel like you can't do without it.
To normalize the natural production of your stress hormones, you can try reducing your daily coffee intake. But avoid cutting it all at once because then you’ll feel stronger caffeine withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and anxiety.
Instead, try reducing it gradually day by day and try to substitute coffee with other hydrating and refreshing caffeine-free alternatives, like black tea or matcha.
#7. Eliminate Intense Workouts
When you face hormone and mineral imbalance in your body, the last thing you want to do is go for an intense and long workout.
If you want to recover properly, avoid high interval exercises and cardio activities.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t work out at all. If you want to keep being active, you can opt for more gentle and light forms of exercise like:
- Tai Chi
If you have more severe symptoms of adrenal fatigue and you feel like exercising is too much for your body at the moment, it’s better to just let yourself rest.
And whenever you’re ready, you can slowly start incorporating some of your favorite light exercises. Here's a guide of the best adrenal fatigue exercises you can start with.
When you suffer from adrenal fatigue, you might have noticed that at a specific time of the day your energy levels drop significantly. For many people, that’s usually in the afternoon.
If that’s the case with you, try to free up 30 minutes to an hour for rest. That can make a big difference in how your day goes after that.
A little bit of rest will give you some time to recover and after that, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to continue with the rest of your day.
#9. Start Meditating
Meditation can help you reduce adrenal fatigue symptoms and is so powerful that it can change your brain activity if practiced regularly.
It comes with lots of other health benefits like:
- Reduced stress
- Better emotional health
- Improved memory
- Enhanced attention span
- Better self-awareness
- Improved sleep
- Decreased blood pressure
At first, you might find it hard to stay still for long and empty your head of all thoughts especially if you’ve never meditated.
But you don’t have to meditate for hours on end.
Just 5 minutes a day of meditation practice regularly can improve your mental well-being. And you can always increase this time gradually.
For starters, you can try these meditation podcasts:
If that seems like a good start, you can refer to many other guided mindfulness resources.
#10. Take Adaptogen Supplements
Adaptogens are herbs that help you boost your energy levels and balance your hormone levels.
Some of these adaptogenic herbs are:
- Ashwagandha. This ancient herb used in Ayurvedic medicine can reduce inflammation in your body, improve your mental health, and balance the cortisol and thyroid hormone production in your body.
- Maca. That’s another adaptogen herb that can balance your hormones. It will also boost your energy, immune system, and libido.
- Rhodiola Rosea. Rhodiola can boost your energy and mood while also reducing cortisol levels when they’re too high.
- Siberian Ginseng. This herb naturally regulates your stress hormone levels and improves mental health. It also decreases the risk of heart-related diseases.
The herbs might help with adrenal fatigue if you experience milder symptoms.
But if your condition is more severe, herbs like Rhodiola Rosea, for example, might be overstimulating. This will result in a short-term improvement of your symptoms before your stress hormone levels crash again.
In this case, you can try to get other natural supplements like vitamin C, B-complex, and magnesium, which also support the natural energy levels in your body.
#11. Get Enough Sleep
Feeling tired and weak during the day might lead you to stay up late to do some of the tasks you couldn’t finish.
Or maybe you want to have some time for yourself, and the only free time you’re getting is in the night when everything else quiets down.
But staying up late prevents you from getting the normal 7-8 hours of sleep that your body needs to recover. This way, you wake up tired in the morning. And if this is your routine, you accumulate tiredness over a long time.
To prevent this from happening, try to get as much sleep as you can. That’s one of the best things to do if you’re on the path of adrenal fatigue recovery. Your body needs it more than you think.
#12. Build a Regular Sleep Schedule
The best way to get enough sleep every night is by building a regular sleep schedule and following it every night. Set fixed times to go to bed and to wake up.
Following a routine can be hard at first, especially if you feel tired all day but you get wide awake in the night (a typical adrenal fatigue symptom). But try to stick to it.
This way your body will get used to the routine and you’ll find it easier to fall asleep and wake up since your hormones will start following this pattern too.
To get a balanced sleep schedule, for example, you can try to get in bed by 10 PM and make sure your room is dark and cool so you fall asleep faster and increase your sleep quality.
#13. Hydrate Properly
Proper hydration is essential when your hormones are imbalanced and your mineral levels are depleted.
But drinking only water might dilute the concentration of some vital electrolytes in your body. And that’s why you might find yourself craving salty snacks sometimes.
If that’s you, try drinking a glass of water with a pinch of salt every morning.
And if you want to get proper hydration daily, you can also try adding the adrenal cocktail to your diet. It is easy to make and it will maintain proper levels of vitamin C, sodium, and potassium in your body.
To mix up an adrenal cocktail, you just need:
- ½ a cup of orange juice
- ½ a teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ a teaspoon of sea salt
You can drink that once or twice a day. It’s really up to you. And don’t forget to get your regular dose of water too!
#14. Substitute Regular Salt with Himalayan or Celtic Salt
You’re probably already aware that adrenal fatigue also means you have mineral insufficiency.
So, to make up for that, you can substitute regular salt with more powerful ones.
Himalayan or Celtic salt, for example, are both unrefined salts.
They have 80+ different minerals that reduce your salt cravings, nourish your adrenal glands, and balance your blood pressure.
This way, you get the minerals you need and feel more energized throughout the day.
#15. Try Essential Oils Therapy
Aromatherapy has been used for hundreds of years to alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
Diffusing essential oils can help you reduce stress.
If you don’t have a diffuser, you can also rub them on your neck and shoulders and you’ll get more relaxed in no time.
However, keep in mind that some essential oils can cause allergies, so be cautious when you’re choosing a brand and do some prior research.
Lavender oil, for example, can decrease cortisol levels and help you ease into sleep. Other essential oils you can try are:
- Rose essential oil reduces anxiety and improves your mood.
- Ylang Ylang essential oils, in combination with bergamot and lavender, reduce stress.
- Bergamot essential oil alleviates anxiety symptoms and boosts your mood.
- Jasmine essential oil promotes a better mood and increases the feeling of calmness.
- Sage essential oil can reduce tension and help to balance the cortisol levels naturally.
And if you’re still confused about which essential oil to pick, remember that once you smell it, you’ll know if it’s right.
Just pick the essential oils that make you feel good and start your essential oil therapy.
#16. Drink Herbal Teas
Another effective natural way of decreasing stress and balancing your stress hormones is by drinking soothing herbal teas.
- Chamomile tea. This mild and soothing herbal tea can calm your nerves and decrease the stress you’re experiencing regularly. The chamomile plant is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms.
- Rooibos tea. This tea can balance your stress hormone levels and make you feel more relaxed.
- Licorice tea. Licorice is known to reduce stress and balance your cortisol levels, promoting healthy stress hormone production.
#17. Spend More Time Outdoors
Getting fresh air, walking in nature, and spending some time outside a few times a week can reduce some of your adrenal fatigue symptoms.
Being exposed to nature and green spaces can help you reduce the stress you accumulate during your workweek.
So, try to incorporate spending time outdoors in your routine and you’ll experience lower physical and mental stress levels.
#18. Have Time to Enjoy Life
Having time for yourself and doing what you love can help you relax and take your mind off all the stress you have to face in your everyday life.
Make time for activities that bring you positive energy. Spend time with family. Draw, sing, play the piano, or whatever other hobbies you have.
That’s a great way to de-stress, quiet down your mind, and improve your physical and mental health.
#19. Practice Self-Care
Sometimes you get caught up in your busy schedule, doing chore after chore, forgetting about taking care of yourself.
And that’s only putting more stress on you since you don’t get to catch up on what feels best for you.
It’s okay to have a lazy day, not getting up from bed, or binge-watching Netflix once in a while. It’s also okay to cancel a meeting, or skip a party if you feel like keeping this time for yourself will help you much more to recover.
Just don’t push your body when it signals you to take a break, have a relaxing time, and nurture your body and mind every once in a while.
It will go a long way!
The path to adrenal fatigue recovery is long and you’ll have to be persistent. Start incorporating all the ways that you can help and nurture your body to recover gradually.
Soon you’ll start feeling better, more energized, and much healthier. Seeing these results is worth all the effort you put into changing your daily routine.
And don’t forget...
Be patient and kind to yourself!