Question: What’s the worst sound in the world if you have adrenal exhaustion?
Answer: Your alarm clock.
Okay, so most people aren’t at their finest first thing in the morning, but when you’ve got adrenal fatigue, you can multiply that feeling by 50.
If your cortisol awakening response is out of balance, and your energy levels are zero before you even get out of bed, hitting the snooze button for an extra ten minutes just isn’t going to cut it.
Time and again, studies have shown that how your start your day can make a huge difference to the way the rest of your morning pans out. Here are my top tips for making sure adrenal fatigue doesn’t ruin your day from the get go.
Get up early and go to bed early
Okay, so this might take a little convincing.
I totally appreciate that the suggestion of spending even less time in bed might sound laughable to someone with adrenal fatigue. But here’s my point: remember that snooze button? Ask yourself: Do those extra ten minutes ever make a real difference to how tired you feel?
The reality is that getting up half an hour earlier than you usually would, won’t give you bundles more energy. However, I do guarantee it’ll make a massive difference to the rest of your day.
- How many times have you dashed out of the door and forgotten that super healthy lunch you prepared last evening?
- How frequently do you raise your adrenaline levels cursing at the traffic on your morning commute?
- How regularly do you arrive at work stressed and disorganised because you needed an extra 15 minutes in bed?
Imagine being able to walk out your door, cool, calm and collected, and in a state of mind where you’re prepared to face the day. It’s a fact: getting up those few minutes earlier gives you head space. You can use this time to do a million and one simple things that will boost your mood and sweeten your day. For example you can:
Any one of these activities will provide you with much more energy than those extra ten minutes in bed ever could.
If you’re one of those people who find it really tough to get up and about, it may be worth investing in natural sunlight alarm clock. These specialist clocks simulate the light produced by the dawn sunrise, and can really help improve your mood on waking – particularly during the dark winter months. Some devices can even monitor room temperature, a factor which has also been shown to have an effect on the quality of your sleep. There are a number of inexpensive products on the market right now which could make a real difference to your energy levels. It’s worth doing some research to see what tech is out there to make your morning routine that little bit easier to cope with.
Have a leisurely breakfast
There’s another reason why getting up earlier is a healthy habit to develop if you have adrenal fatigue.
Far too many people skip breakfast as they’re in too much of a hurry, or don’t have the inclination to prepare something healthy to set them up for the day. This can prove disastrous if you’re trying to keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel. Eating a healthy breakfast means you won’t be tempted to reach for those sugary snacks or caffeine-packed drinks on your way into work, helping you avoid a sugar crash later on in the day. Getting up early gives you time to put together a healthy smoothie or an energy boosting snack that will sustain you until lunch.
Another great tip is to avoid watching news programmes first thing in the morning. Starting your day with a sense of doom and disaster is not conducive to a positive mental state! Instead, try reading a few pages of a motivational book, or listening to music or podcasts that will uplift and inspire.
Switch off your mobile
In 2013 a study carried out by IDC research and Facebook revealed some shocking results. Amongst the 7446 smartphone users who participated, a whopping 79% said they reached for their phone within 15 minutes of waking up. What were the majority of those people doing?
Checking their emails, text messages and Facebook.
In the days prior to mobile phones, your working day didn’t start until you were actually at work. Nowadays, people are reading their emails at the breakfast table, on the commute and even while brushing their teeth. There’s something inherently wrong with this.
Unless you’re superhuman, answering emails while getting the kids out of the door, preparing your lunch and getting dressed is a pretty impossible task. So you have to ask yourself… why do we do it?
The craziest thing of all is that most of the people who read work related emails said they later marked them as unread so they knew which ones they needed to deal with! Of course this is total madness. Save yourself a whole lot of time and mental stress in the morning by leaving your phone switched off.
Most of these tips are pretty obvious. We’re not talking rocket science, just plain common sense. But don’t be fooled. Sometimes the smallest of changes can bring about the most surprising results. Putting just one of these tips into practice could mean the difference between feeling totally zapped at the end of the day, or getting through it with at least a few energy reserves in the bank.
Try just ONE of these tips for a week and see if you notice the difference. That small shift could be the one thing that helps you keep focused and stay on track.
Need more guidance? Check out the adrenal fatigue recovery program that I created with Dr Eric Wood.