Zombies. We’ve seen them in films and read about them in books, but if you look a little closer, you might find out that they’re actually real. It’s true – they’re all around us.
According to the dictionary definition, a zombie is:
“A person with no energy, who seems to act without thinking, and doesn’t notice what’s happening around them.”
“A creature who is capable of movement but not of rational thought.”
“Someone who appears to be lifeless, apathetic, or completely unresponsive to their surroundings.”
Pretty accurate description of a zombie, right? I’d argue that the same could equally describe someone experiencing adrenal fatigue. You only have to take a trip on the subway during the rush hour to know what I mean. The Western world is rapidly becoming a “zombie nation.”
It’s all about getting through the day
If you’re one of the thousands of adrenal fatigue sufferers functioning on a tank less than half full of gas, you’ll know that some days, the thought of going to work is enough to make you want to cry. Although you might just about have the energy to drag yourself out of bed, the idea of having to make it through the day can be gut wrenching.
If calling in sick just isn’t an option, there are a few tricks you can use to make sure you at least make it through until five o’clock.
Wake up and smell the coffee
First things first, you need a quick fix to get you up and about. This is where most adrenal exhaustion sufferers make a fatal faux pas by heading for the nearest coffee shop. Although a caffeine hit might seem like a rational thing to curb brain fog and get things moving, nothing could be further from the truth.
Coffee is a diuretic, meaning that it makes you want to pee. A strong cup of coffee also has the effect of increasing your blood pressure which can give you a headache and make you feel dehydrated. If you’ve ever been hungover, you’ll be familiar with the feeling. Not the best start to the day I think you’ll agree.
However, the smell of coffee is an entirely different kettle of fish.
Homemade coffee scrubs are cheap and easy to make, will get your circulation moving and increase oxygen to the brain. This is because skin brushing is one of the simplest ways to stimulate the lymphatic system and remove excess toxins and waste. The added bonus here is that the scent of the coffee will provide a mental lift – all of the benefits without any of the nasty side effects.
Another great alternative is to use stimulating essential oils such as peppermint or rosemary as part of your morning routine. Dilute two to three drops in a suitable carrier oil, and apply to your pulse points after you shower. A good tip is to keep a rollerball filled with your oil mix in a desk drawer or in your purse so you can apply as necessary throughout the day. There are loads of great recipes on Pinterest, and store bought rollerballs are also readily available. Not only do essential oils have a real physical effect on your body, the amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for memory) will associate the scent with the vibrant energetic feeling you had in your morning shower providing you with a lift at any time of the day.
The importance of planning
If you’ve had adrenal fatigue for a while, you’re probably aware by now how it makes you feel throughout the day. You can use this knowledge to your advantage.
Do you naturally feel better towards the end of the day? Schedule important meetings for later in the afternoon rather than first thing when you may still be getting yourself together. Are you prone to the 3pm slump? Take your lunch later than usual and use this time to meditate or read a book to create some mental headspace. It’s a good idea to keep a diary so that you can keep track of the times when your fatigue is more pronounced. Not only is it empowering to feel you have some control over the situation, it can also help you monitor your energy peaks and troughs so you can plan your breaks around the times you’re more likely to be tired.
Another good tip is to organise your work space to create less stress. If you’re able to open a window, do it. Remind yourself to keep hydrated by keeping a bottle of water close at hand. Keep your area tidy so that you don’t have to waste energy hunting for papers or contact details. Spending just one afternoon organising your workspace may seem like a waste of time, but it can pay dividends for those difficult days when you just don’t have the energy to function.
Another neat trick is to try and find time to do some form of exercise during the day. This might just be a few sneaky stretches at your desk, or taking a short walk during your break. Although you might not feel like it, exercise is one of the best ways to keep stress at bay and it’s guaranteed to give you a shot of endorphins to lift your mood and boost your energy during those low points.
Avoid making your exhaustion worse
Sometimes there’s just no getting around it. When exhaustion hits, you just need to take a break. If you have supportive colleagues, let them know how you’re feeling and don’t try to fake it. Most people have an off day so don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for help – you can always offer to return the favor at a later date.
If you find that your energy has plummeted, go get a healthy snack or take time out to do some simple breathing exercises. The worst thing you can do is carry on regardless and try to plough through it. Many people find this is how their adrenal fatigue got started in the first place.
Adrenal fatigue can be difficult to live with. The world doesn’t stop just because you’re tired. However, being organised and prepared can go a long way to mitigating those disabling effects when you’re really having a bad day. Taking care of yourself should always be a top priority. If there’s no avoiding taking a day off, then that’s the way it is. Learning to recognise when to stop is one of the best ways to avoid crash and burn, so go easy on yourself and just let it go.