The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys, are no bigger than the size of a walnut and their sole function is to help the body deal with stress. They affect practically every part of the body, including thoughts and emotions. When you experience constant stress, you may experience exhaustion as well, which could mean adrenal fatigue. While the holidays are fun and enjoyable, they can also be stressful and uncomfortable during certain situations.
What happens when your adrenals are burned out or tired? You may experience fatigue yourself, dizziness, difficulty focusing on a specific task, feeling tired because of a deadline or presentation that needs to be done on short notice, loss of motivation, difficulty getting sleep, low blood pressure, and exercise intolerance.
During the holidays, if you are overly stressed about making sure a party goes perfectly or seeing certain people stresses you out, your adrenal glands are then made to excrete cortisol, a hormone that protects the body from inflammation created with stress. Over time, the constant excretion of cortisol starts to make the adrenal glands tired and the body will steal materials from other hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, to convert them into more cortisol.
While holiday stress itself may not cause adrenal fatigue, holiday stress can still add extra stress onto an already stressful lifestyle, which can cause adrenal problems.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone who lives a high-stress lifestyle and specifically people going through middle-aged changes since their sex hormones are beginning to decline already. Other people who are at risk are those who stay up all night, whether that be for fun or because they have to for their job. This is because the body naturally gets tired when it gets dark, so when a person stays up or ignored the natural chemical that makes the body tired, the adrenal glands have to produce adrenaline to keep the body awake. If this is only done once in awhile the body has time to recover, but if it is done on a regular basis, the body does not have time to recover and will cause adrenal fatigue.
Preventing and Treating Adrenal Fatigue
Preventing adrenal problems during the holidays does not have to be hard. Try adding in de-stressors, such as yoga, exercise, reading, drawing or anything that takes your mind off of what causes you to stress out. If it is your job or schoolwork that is stressing you out, try planning things out in advance so you do not end up procrastinating or maybe you need to find another job. If nothing seems to help, an adrenal fatigue test may be a good place to start.
Remember that the holidays are for relaxing and enjoying time with loved ones. Obviously, there will be times during the holidays and in your day-to-day life that will cause stress and that is normal but adding things into your life that help to free your mind of that stress will help tremendously.