There is nothing like burnout or adrenal fatigue to get you to make major adjustments to the way that you live your life. That was certainly my experience and I do hope that you too can see these tough times in your life as a beautifully guided wake up call to set you back on to the path you are meant to walk.
The burnout recovery tools I have mentioned below are things that I have built into my life over the last 5 years. Some I have been doing for 5 years or more (pre burnout) and others are more recent.
The building of new habits and behaviours over time are the key to changing your life for the better.
Here are 8 of my burnout recovery tools that I now can not live without. Please note that these are not in any particular order of importance, they are all extremely important in my view as they form a holistic approach to life and to burnout recovery that is so essential!
I have been practising yoga in some form since 2002. However, the “wake up call” of severe adrenal fatigue took me in a different direction in the way that I began to practise. I needed to change things and look at more restorative forms of yoga that contributed to my energy.
Some forms of yoga are very stimulating on the sympathetic nervous system and in a healthy body this is good. However, in a stressed body a further activation of the sympathetic nervous system is a further drain.
Doing yoga in such a way that enhances your parasympathetic nervous system is most important in the adrenal fatigue and burnout recovery process.
Dr Michael Lam’s Adrenal Yoga Series does this beautifully and is one I have used regularly. Another beautiful yoga program that eases you very gently into the day is Rodney Yee’s A.M. P.M. yoga (there is an evening program as well which is fairly gentle).
I can’t imagine life without some form of yoga each day to help balance and calm my body and mind.
2. Inspirational Podcasts and Online Radio
Ok, so over the past few years I have become a bit of a podcast nut. I place a lot of value these days on what is coming into my earbuds. I also want to have something valuable to listen to when I’m in my car or out on a walk.
I have found listening to inspirational podcasts to be a great and natural mood enhancer. As part of the mix, I listen to a bunch of health and spirituality related podcasts and here are some of my favourites if you’d like to check them out.
The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson. Ok not everything he says is going to be related to being in a place of adrenal fatigue and burnout, but let me tell you this is one knowledgeable man who is very articulate and and knows how to look at health and wellbeing from a holistic perspective.
The Tapping Solution Podcast with Nick and Jessica Ortner. A lot of great advice on how tapping can help you and understanding the whole stress conversation much more deeply. The episode with Dr Lissa Rankin is a must listen where she really provides some great understanding on how to look at stress.
Hay House Radio Listening to this inspirational online radio station got me through many a rough day. Don’t underestimate the power of filling your ear buds up with something positive. You can listen straight off your computer 24/7 with many different Hay House authors to sample. I’ve been listening for about 8 years now!
3. The Beach
Back in 2010 and 2011 when I was at my lowest point, sitting on the beach (I couldn’t even walk much at that point) was my saving grace. Being out in nature is very healing on your system (although avoid the hot sun as this is very draining on the adrenals and can cause an adrenal crash).
There is a lot of documented research on the benefits of being out in nature which essentially creates a “relaxation response” in your system, i.e. the opposite of the stress response.
4. Protein Powder
A very important part of my adrenal fatigue recovery process was keeping my blood sugars stable. Unbalanced blood sugars is a very common symptom of adrenal fatigue because of the imbalanced way that the stress hormone, cortisol is being released from your adrenal glands when you are stressed.
This plant based protein, a pea protein is one that I find works really well for my body. I prefer not to use whey protein which is a dairy protein. The most important thing is to find which kind of protein works best for you or whether consuming protein powders is even a good option for you. We each have a unique constitution with unique needs.
This is an Australian product, but I’m sure many similar things can be found in the U.S.A. and other countries around the world.
5. Coloring / Drawing
Aah to the benefits of doing activities that involve the fine motor movements of the hands. I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about this before but doing activities such as coloring, drawing, painting and knitting will reduce your stress levels. Before I heard about the research on this, I just knew that as I sat and colored mandalas for hours I felt calmer and more relaxed.
More recently, I discovered the art of Zentangle and am now creating a coloring book for you based on the idea of what is called a Zendala, ie a mandala with Zentangle type patterns. It really doesn’t matter what you choose to do, but I highly recommend you do something that uses your hands in this calm way.
6. Inspirational & Educational Books
I have consumed many books on the topics of health, wellness and spirituality in recent years as well as many books related to adrenal fatigue. While many have had great information, I am still yet to find one that looks at the whole issue of adrenal fatigue and burnout, holistically. Hence, this is the one I am writing myself for you.
Healing from Burnout is a holistic process in order to recover permanently.
Saying that, these are really helpful reads to help you understand more about what may be going on for you.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome Dr Michael Lam
Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome Dr James Wilson
Is it Me or My Adrenals? Marcelle Pick
Is it Me or My Hormones? Marcelle Pick
The Hormone Cure Dr Sara Gottfried
Goddesses Never Age Dr Christiane Northrup
The Tapping Solution Nick Ortner
The Biology of Belief Dr Bruce Lipton
7. Progressive Muscle Relaxation & Meditation
Over these past years, I have used many different meditation and relaxation techniques including
Yoga Nidra – a process where you focus on different body parts in turn (very relaxing!),
Various Meditation Processes – including guided meditations, mindfulness meditation and mantra meditations (this is a big topic of conversation in itself)
And more recently,
Progressive Muscle Relaxation – this is a very powerful process of tensing and relaxing various body parts in turn. This not only promotes “the relaxation response” in your system, it also retrains your brain to recognise what is a tight muscle and what is a relaxed muscle. This is a very powerful practice and needs a commitment from you every day to create this change. You can check out an example of what this is through this video.
8. A Rejuvenated and Individual Diet
While stress definitely creates a tendency to be far more sensitive to foods that you may not have previously been sensitive to, there is no one size fits all when it comes to an adrenal fatigue diet.
There are certain concepts that will be helpful however, like avoiding things like wheat, gluten, caffeine, white flour, sugar and possibly dairy. The level to which you need to do this will really depend on where you are at on the adrenal fatigue and stress continuum and your own unique constitution.
My body type needs plenty of protein and this was even more important when I was at my worst stages a few years back. Additionally, while too many carbs are not good for me, I also found that during my worst times some complex carbohydrates with my evening meal, like a little quinoa or some sweet potato was very helpful to maintain blood sugar levels during the night.
This does take some experiementation but please listen to your own body.
Choose some of these recovery tools to get started on. You don’t have to do all of these things overnight. One step at a time, one piece at a time; but please do focus on building new habits that serve a new way of life that really supports you in the long run.