Nourishing Your Adrenal Glands by Aligning Yourself with the Rhythms of Life
NOURISHING YOUR ADRENAL GLANDS
Aligning yourself with the rhythms of life will help you neutralize stress, feel good, and live your best life.
As humans, we are diurnal in nature; most of our activity is naturally done during the day. So, we need to honor our natural rhythms and sleep at nighttime. It’s best to have a bedtime that’s consistent, and studies show that a bedtime at or before 10 p.m. is best. You will get deeper, more restful sleep between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. than if you got eight hours between, say, 1:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Also, consider that most of us need 7 to 10 – yes, you heard me – 10 hours of sleep per night. Remember, you are not healing when you are commuting, working, mopping the floor, etc. You are healing when you are resting. There is such a thing as sleep debt and most of us have it, so indulge in a nap once in awhile, giving you more opportunity and time to heal.
Also, as human beings, our natural habitat is nature. Taking a walk in it can help nourish your adrenal glands, by helping you to slow your breath, take in clean air, move your joints, calm your thoughts, and handle stress.
Humans are also social beings, so that is why playing with your pet and cuddling with your family members is important. Take the time to do this. Otherwise, you remain in sympathethic mode – that branch of your nervous system responsible for “fight or flight” responses, such as fast heartbeat, constricted blood vessels, and anxiety – which kicks your adrenals into high gear. After secreting “love” hormones by petting your dog or looking into your child’s eyes, you will enter parasympathetic mode – that branch of your nervous system responsible for “resting and digesting” – and your adrenals get a break.
Another way to give your adrenals a break is to make sure your blood sugar is balanced. You want to eat within one hour of waking. Your body’s blood sugar will drop if you get up and start activity without fueling the tank first. When your sugar drops, your adrenals kick in to help you create energy to go. This might actually feel good to you, like a caffeine kick, but over time, your adrenals will get exhausted from doing this. Remember, when you have exhausted adrenals, your thyroid picks up the slack, giving your thyroid an increased burden. Eat to balance your blood sugar. You can achieve this by making sure you get protein at every meal. Protein will enter your blood stream at a slower rate and balance your blood sugar for longer. Other good foods to support your adrenals are root vegetables, which have many vitamins and minerals that your adrenals use quickly in times of stress. Furthermore, root vegetables supply fiber which will – like protein – slow down the dumping of sugar into your blood stream. Finally, root vegetables, according to Chinese medicine, have the ability to “keep you still;” in other words, they are energetically able to ground you, and by making you less anxious, allow your adrenal glands to get the nourishment they need.
Set your alarm for 9:30 p.m. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to get ready for bed: turn off the computer, put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, turn the lights down low, and make a cup of Sleepy Time tea. A bedtime ritual will help transition you into parasympathetic mode. For an added bonus, recruit a family member to do the same and cuddle on the couch before bed!
Consider how you can connect with nature. Schedule a nature walk into your calendar. If this feels impossible due to a time constraint, commit to getting out of your cubical and going outside of the building for 10 minutes. Also, taking care of house plants can give you this added benefit. Keeping house plants is especially beneficial when you live in the city.
Plan to have protein at your meals. Ideas for easy-to-prepare protein: smoothies with protein powder; eggs, which cook quickly and can be transported if you hard boil them; salmon in a can is always wild-caught and if you buy the ones with pull-top lids, you don’t have to bring a can opener; meat sticks, nuts, and protein bars are always good to keep in your purse or glove compartment as a quick cure for falling blood sugar.
After reading this post, decide what activity interests or excites you the most. Commit to it and then email me which activity you will be taking on. I can’t wait to hear!