adrenal fatigue

Overcoming Productivity Guilt

Overcoming Productivity Guilt

Many of us, are ADDICTED to getting stuff done... and many of us, are addicted to social media that is constantly reminding us of all the things we SHOULD be getting done.The combination easily leads to a feeling that we call “productivity guilt” which is a relentless feeling of not doing enough or not functioning at an optimal level.

When we live this way, nothing is enough and we can slip into a space where we constantly feel overwhelmed by the pressures we put on ourselves. When we live this way, how can we expect to feel at ease?

5 Simple Ways to Love Up Your Adrenals Daily

5 Simple Ways to Love Up Your Adrenals Daily

Being burnt-out sucks and if you aren’t careful, it’s easy to get stuck there.
Here are 5 simple things you can do daily, that will help you manage your stress, love up your adrenals, help you feel calm and hopefully help you have more FUN!

Adrenal Fatigue and the Vagus Nerve

What is the Vagus Nerve?

If you’ve been at this adrenal “stuff” for some time, most likely you’ve heard of the vagus nerve. You know it’s important, but you’re not sure EXACTLY why.

Well, it’s CRUCIAL that you understand this FOR YOUR RECOVERY.

Are you ready to find out why this is said to be the most important nerve in the body?

When you understand the connection between the vagus nerve and all the symptoms you’re feeling, I imagine it will be a big motivator to start incorporating practices that keep this nerve functioning at it’s best.  

The Skinny on the Vagus Nerve

The Vagus nerve is one of our 12 cranial nerves. These cranial nerves start in the brain and are each connected to different organs in the body. When these cranial nerves become compromised it impacts the associated organs and that organ’s function/s.

The vagus nerve is said to be the most important nerve for 2 reasons:

1.   It’s the only nerve controlling our ability to decrease stress. It’s in charge of controlling the parasympathetic nervous system, our rest and digest state.

2.   The nerve involves so many organs (not just the gut) and their level of function. (which is why symptoms are so vast)

How do Cranial Nerves Become Compromised?

These cranial nerves become compromised for various reasons; traumas and stressful situations in our lives; physical, mental or emotional. This includes abuse, addiction, divorce, the death of loved one, surgeries, illnesses and even a high-stress lifestyle and addition to stress.

Vagus Nerve, Adrenal Fatigue and Gut Connection

The vagus nerve starts in the brain and travels to the gut. But what many don’t know is that on the way to the gut, the vagus nerve goes through the heart, the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidneys, ureter, spleen, lungs, female sex organs neck (pharynx, larynx, and esophagus), ears and the tongue. No other nerve in the body has such a broad and far-reaching effect as the Vagus Nerve.

So can you see that when this nerve is compromised it can cause many health issues, such as…

1)   Either feeling wired or tired, no in between

2)   Food sensitivities

3)   Anxiety and/or depression

4)   Poor digestion

5)   Poor nutrient absorption

6)   Trouble detoxing

7)   Brain fog

8)   Poor sleep

9)   Chronic inflammation

10)  Migraines or headaches

11) Heart disease

12) Poor circulation

13) Fibromyalgia

14) Autoimmune conditions

15) Blood sugar imbalances

16) Mood swings

and more…

Do you see why you want your vagus nerve functioning at its best?

If you're stressed constantly, your stress response is overstimulated, and you’re in sympathetic overdrive. This makes your adrenals pump out more cortisol, which exhausts the adrenals and create an imbalance of hormones. You need the vagus nerve functioning at it’s best - in order to balance and heal the nervous system.  

Benefits of a Healthy Vagus Nerve

·        Helps control anxiety and mood

·        Increases stomach acidity and other digestive enzyme production - low levels of these are correlated to the root cause of gut issues

·        Controls heart rate variability, heart rate and blood pressure

·        It controls blood sugar balance

·        In the liver it controls bile production and detoxification

·        Controls bile release to help break down fats

·        Promotes general function including water balance, glucose control and sodium excretion which helps control blood pressure

·        Controls voiding of urine

·        Reduces inflammation

·        Controls fertility and sexual pleasure including orgasms

·        Controls ability to taste and saliva production through salivary gland control

·        Activates tear production in the eyes

So you’re probably starting to see the connections here. And possibly wondering, what can I do to love up my vagus nerve and get it working FOR me, ASAP…

How to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve?

Here are two simple exercises to stimulate the vagus nerve.

1.   Deep and Slow Breathing

This sends a signal to our brain and the vagus nerve to lower our heart rate and blood pressure. This lessens the flight or fight response and increases the rest and digest response.

Make this a part of your daily life.

Do this upon rising every morning: Inhale for count of 5, allow the belly and rib cage to expand out slightly with your breath, hold the breath for the count of 5 and then exhale the breath for the count of 8-10. As you push the breath out completely you will notice a drawing in of the belly toward the spine and rib cage back to center. Enjoy this intended movement of the diaphragm.

2.   Singing, humming or chanting

Singing, humming, and mantra chanting all increase heart rate variability and works the muscles at the back of your throat, which helps stimulate the vagus nerve. So next time you feel like singing your heart out in the shower or car, do it, it’s great for your health and your vagus ;)

And if you’re tired of hearing these suggestions, they seem too easy and/or they just don’t work…

You’ve maybe tried them here and there (without noticing a difference). But, I’m curious have you honestly given these types of practices a go for longer than a couple days or a week? Have you been consistent?

If you want your adrenals to actually heal and your hormones to balance out (and you want them to stay that way for the rest of your life), start incorporating practices that stimulate the vagus nerve on a daily basis. I challenge you to add 5-10 minutes of slow, deep breathing or chanting to your morning routine. I believe you will see shifts almost immediately.

I’d like you to open your mind to the fact that it can be that easy. With consistently, these exercises do work. It can be that easy. We just have to break old patterns.

Here’s another way to start loving up the vagus nerve - start reacting differently to life. And this is a habit that’s hard to break, right? This is about interrupting the stress pattern you have in place and probably have had in place, for a very long time. Interrupt it, stop it in it’s track and create a different pattern or pathway in the brain.

“Stress Pattern Interrupt” Practice

Find a simple word or phrase that is calming to you and embodies what you want to create instead of stress. When you’re start to feel anxious or overwhelmed, repeat the word or phrase until you feel less resistance or you feel lighter. Or you can ask a certain type of question (question examples below). You can also think of something you are grateful for.

A few examples:

  1. SLOW

  2. CALM

  3. All is well in my world

  4. I am safe

  5. I am grounded

  6. What would it take for me to have more ease or calm in this moment?

  7. How can I experience more peace right away?

  8. I acknowledge I’m not feeling great right now, but I’m so grateful for…(my home, my children, clean water, healthy food…)

  9. I acknowledge I’m not feeling great right now, but each day I’m getting better and better.

Be the energy of the word, phrase or question. (Trust you know how to do this).

Questions, comments? Please share below in the comments and after a week of stimulating the vagus nerve report back.

To your amazing vagus nerve,

Angela (& Danielle)

Feeling "unfixable" or like a slave to your chronic condition

This has been coming up a lot for us lately. 
The idea of feeling "unfixable" or feeling "stuck" with your health. 

Many in our community are just beginning to learn about adrenal fatigue, but for many the reality is that adrenal fatigue is another "condition" on top of many-- from sneaky, hard to pinpoint viral or bacterial infections, addictions, cancer, MS and much more.

We get feedback from those suffering that "adrenal support alone-- can't FIX me" and we totally understand why you feel that way.

But if we may, we want you to know why having strong, supported adrenals is important when recovering from something bigger than "hormonal imbalance".

YOUR ADRENALS = YOUR RESILIENCE GLANDS.

When I was working my way through nutrition school we went over protocols for supporting all sorts of different conditions-- literally ALL the different conditions. The thing that blew me away all those years ago and part of the reason I am so passionate about this topic today is because the number one recommendation mentioned, protocol after protocol was --- MANAGE OR REDUCE STRESS.

Let's face it, when your body is facing something huge-- an addiction,  cancer, a stealth infection like LYME or Epstein Barr Virus) or even emotional trauma, or surgeries…-- your body is doing what it can to regulate and survive, it's actually amazing what the body does to PROTECT us.  ** insert time for a quick, big self-hug**

And if you're NOT facing something huge at this time, then think of how important the health and resilience of your body is to prevention. 

We can't deny these little glands are flippin' important, can we?
NOT ANYMORE!

Anyways, what I'm getting at is the more we can reduce the overall stress load on our body and keep our adrenal function as optimal as possible, the better equipped and energized our body will be to do its thing to help fight off or process what it's dealing with. Make sense?

We know that working on the adrenals might seem like small fish to some of you when you've got bigger fish to fry, but...we urge you to consider the following when moving forward with your recovery plan: 

Follow a holistic protocol

Often when we think of stress, we think of bills, traffic, overwhelm that comes with parenting or a job, but the truth is the stress we are talking about has the potential to come from all the main areas of our lives.

Stress is cumulative. Here are some other areas it can come from: 

  • Sleep

    • Are you sleeping at the right times?
    • Are you getting optimal sleep?
    • If you aren't sleeping well, it becomes hard to repair your tissues optimally... and many aren't sleeping well due to out-of-rhythm hormones from stress in their daily lives. 
       
  • Diet/Nutrients

    • Are you giving your body the nutrients it needs to heal and be super resilient?
    • Are you eliminating those things that stress the body and the digestive tract?
    • If the body is operating in a state of deficiency, it will be operating under a constant state of stress every day until that deficiency is corrected. 
       
  • Digestion

    • Are you releasing and detoxing properly to keep the body working optimally?
    • Are you getting optimal assimilation from the food you eat?
    • If digestion is impaired of overburdened, it has the potential to add stress the body every time you eat, often sparking a hormonal response that involves stress hormones. 
       
  • Exercise

    • Are you moving the body in a way that is honoring of what you’re going through?
    • Is your workout routine contributing to your condition or helping you get your life back?
    • Certain exercise can cause tissue damage and oxidative stress in the body, this is totally fine if you have the capacity to recover and repair from your workouts with good self-care, but if not, the wear and tear on the body can be extremely stress inducing. 
       
  • Mindset

    • Are the thoughts going through your head keeping you stressed, thinking negatively about everything your body is experiencing and extra sensitive?
    • Are you constantly finding yourself in the same toxic thought patterns?
    • The way our brain perceives what we are experiencing orchestrates a wave of hormonal response to accommodate what the brain is perceiving. Whether we are consciously or unconsciously trapped in fearful or depressive though patterns, it resonates deeply on a physical level. 

So when we’re talking about reducing the stress load on the body to heal our adrenals and have more resiliency, we need to address all these areas, not just one or two of them.

The magic that happens when you shift your thoughts, patterns and habits in each of these areas and actually STICK with them long enough for results to show up-- is pretty incredible.

So, if you've ever felt unfixable or just flat out STUCK, then it's time to ensure you're tackling this from a holistic angle..  because I promise you, miracles are happening every damn day.

If you need help implementing this, if you need a clear plan on how to move forward, or a support community to help get you through this, then click here to learn all about our Recovery Revolution and how you can be a part of it. 

Holiday Adrenal Survival Guide

YOUR HOLIDAY ADRENAL SURVIVAL GUIDE

We all know the holidays can be a stressful and exhausting time. I remember how challenging it was when I had stage 3 adrenal fatigue.

But through the years, Danielle and I have learned a few tips and tricks, to make this time of year WAY more enjoyable. 

We're excited to share these with you today...

What if you could enjoy your time with family?

What if you could avoid burnout this year?

What if this holiday season was flare-up FREE?

We believe ALL these are possible with these stellar tips we’re about to share with you.

And make sure you download our sweet gift, a free holiday adrenal survival guide to help you implement these tips. The Holiday Guide includes a checklist of to-dos, self-care planning, recipes and more.

1.       Be Prepared So You Don’t Feel Deprived

Chances are you have food restrictions of some kind or a special diet. Don’t go another holiday making yourself feel deprived. Instead, plan to bring your own side dishes and dessert that you can enjoy. Make them or buy them. We are fortunate now that stores are accommodating so many diet restrictions these days. Check your local natural food market or Whole Foods for delicious options that meet your food needs.

And make sure you grab our Holiday Adrenal Survival Guide for some great adrenal friendly recipes.

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2.       Say “No”

Don’t be afraid to say no to activities or engagements that feel super heavy and have the potential to cause great stress and anxiety. When you say “no” to those things you are saying “YES” to your health, your sanity, your well-being. You don’t have to do it all. Maybe you can say goodbye to that holiday cookie exchange this year...

3.       Shop Online

We are so lucky we no longer HAVE to deal with long lines at the shopping mall or stores in order to get through our holiday shopping list. We can shop almost anywhere online now. Take advantage of it.  If you MUST go out and shop choose early mornings or evenings during the weekdays. If hitting up the mall, it's important to have a game plan- what you need and where you need to go, this is especially important if you find malls to be stressful places. 

4.       Limit the Gift Craziness

Is your holiday giving gift list super long? Are you worried, first how you will get it all done and second, how you will pay for it? Ask your extended family if they’d like to pick names instead this year and maybe just increase the price limit so everyone gets something they really want. This is a great way to give one really meaningful gift, to reduce stress and to ease some financial pressure. 

5.       Stop the Emailing Craziness

I don’t know about you, but I get sick of all the family gift exchange emails asking me what me, my husband and children want. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do feel blessed to have some generous family, but the back and forth gets to be too much. And then after you share your ideas, there’s the back and forth of someone wondering if Aunt Jane already got that or now or you get 3 of the same thing. You can solve all that easily by making an Amazon wish list. People mark off the items on the list once they buy them so no more emails like that to waste your time and even better no returning repeat gifts after the holidays. And Amazon is not the only option, here are a few more. There is Giftry.com and Wishmindr.com

6.       Give Yourself a Gift

adrenal fatigue and holidays.jpeg

Balance out the holiday chaos with some rejuvenating self-care. The next few weeks will most likely be full. Find yourself an hour each week at least and do something just for YOU. Book yourself a massage or spa time. That could be your partner’s gift to you. Or just take a break from shopping and walk outside in nature.

7.       Limit Time with Those That Drain You

We love our families and they mean well, but they also know how to push our buttons more than anyone else. If your family drains your energy and causes you anxiety, say “NO” or at least limit your time with them.

And if you will be spending time with family that is challenging we have a tip for you. Be prepared by choosing to react differently to them. I like to think about a bubble of protection around me... and this bubble is keeping me calm and it also helps me see things for what they are. When a family member makes a comment that would normally affect you, you don’t let it come into your bubble. You walk away or maybe say something as simple as, “Sorry you feel that way” or my favorite “that’s an interesting point of view”.

Remember a lot of times people say hurtful things to protect themselves. So that SH$#! Is there’s, not yours. Let it go and don't let it impede on your holiday fun. 

8.       Choose Calm When Things Get Intense

When you’re driving around running errands and things feel intense, put on calming meditation music. Which you can get free on youtube.com or if you want guided meditations for energy boosting and stress relief particularly for adrenal fatigue sufferers, grab my meditation album or give this gift to someone you know who could really benefit. 

9.       Don’t Forget The Protein

This time of year, there are sugar loaded treats everywhere you go. Make sure you are balancing sugar intake with healthy fats and proteins. This will also prevent sugar “crashes” and keep your energy high.  Pair this with a bit of portion control and this is a great tip to help navigate holiday meals without sparking major spikes and crashes. 

10.   Remember to Move

The Holidays often create sluggishness. Say goodbye to the food comas by continuing to move and be active this holiday season. This will also keep you from putting on extra pounds. After a big meal, take a walk around the block and maybe ask the family to join you. You can have great conversations while you’re walking and it's amazing what a bit of fresh air can do to help calm and refresh the body. 

11.   Eat Mindfully

When you’re eating this holiday season I challenge you to be super present. Savoring your food, enjoy its flavor, be grateful and take it slow. Great digestion starts right in the mouth. Chew slowing and thoroughly, allowing those enzymes in your saliva to start the process. Also, when you eat slowly you realize sooner when you are full, which will keep you from overeating. When filling your plate, we encourage you to fill your plate with vegetables first, then add a bit of protein and be mindful of the starchy, high carb options. This is a great way to help ensure you're filling up on quality foods and will help keep you on track with your health goals at the same time. 

There you go, 11 tips to not just surviving the holidays, but thriving

Be sure to grab our Holiday Adrenal Survival Guide below for yummy holiday recipes, and your planning tool box for embracing the most stress-free holidays ever!

Click here to subscribe

We wish you a healthy, calm and happy holiday season! 
xo Angela, Danielle + the HYAF Team