Adrenals and the Holidays | Emily Spaeth

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Emily is a Master Nutrition Therapist and genuine light of health and kindness. Today she shares her thoughts for healing fritzed-out adrenals over the holiday season. I love this post because it's so simple, yet elegant. It's an "eat-your-vegetables" kind of message shared with compassion and truly helpful tips. I hope you enjoy it. 

As the perfect storm of holiday madness, end of year goals, and mounds of family time begins
to pick up in strength, so do the chances of taxing our bodies from the stress that rolls in with it
all. Our adrenals are especially hit hard during this time of year and this puts us at risk for major
fatigue, hormonal imbalance, powerful cravings, blood sugar irregularities and more.

The adrenal glands are like little caps on top of the kidneys and control, among other things, the
release of the stress-related hormone, cortisol. When we are “activated” (a.k.a. stressed out,
overwhelmed, anxious, overstimulated, fearful), our bodies go into fight-or- flight mode, releasing
cortisol, which will encourage actions such as raising blood sugar for more dispensable energy,
slowing digestion to move blood flow to more critical areas, and turning the central nervous
system up a notch so you can be hyper-aware of your surroundings.

Because many of us are overstimulated and overbooked, we are susceptible to pushing our
bodies into fight-or- flight. But as the temperatures begin to drop and the holiday season rears
it’s head onto our calendars, unless we all take a month off between Thanksgiving and New
Years, we’re toast.

However, there are a few key elements you can incorporate into your everyday routine to
support your adrenals, and emotional + physical wellbeing overall, as we move deeper into the
depths of end-of- year madness. The trick is to begin integrating them now so you can maintain
a full cup, instead of waiting until you’re tired, wired and totally fried!

  • The sound of silence. Background noise, children yelling, podcasts, even music in the car can set someone over the edge if you’re already feeling irritable or overwhelmed. Remember that anxiety and stress is an activation, so turn it off and tune it out by turning down the volume on distracting noises. Top tip: put headphones in when appropriate while you’re walking around to drown out uncontrollable clatter.
  • Set down the devices. Blue lights from cell phones, computer screens and iPads can not only throw off your body’s natural rhythm, but also heightens your attention and reaction, while suppressing secretion of melatonin. During the day this is fine, but if you’re already roused from the millions of items on your to-do list or the cortisol spike from your busy day, it may be best to step away from your gadgets and read a book, play outside or simply have a conversation with a loved one. (You know, IRL.)
  • Kick the caffeine. When adrenals are fatigued and it feels like we’re simply in survival mode, the first thing many turn to is caffeine. You get your jolt from coffee, soda or chocolate and you’re better because of it, right? Not exactly. Stimulants like caffeine and sugar can do more harm than good by putting your adrenals into overdrive, accelerating the release of cortisol. Try replacing your morning cup of joe with a rich Turmeric Latte (+added adaptogens like Ashwaghanda for good measure!), or roasted dandelion tea to support your liver and kidneys while still getting a coffee-like experience.
  • Get some sleep! Even when it feels like you don’t have the time to get more sleep, make time. Ever-elusive sleep is the granddaddy of them all when it comes to supporting your adrenals and nourishing your body so it maintains optimal health. Can’t sleep? Listen to a guided yoga nidra meditation, dab essential oils like lavender or bergamot behind your ears, or have a journal next to your bed ready for a brain dump when you have a lot of thoughts to release.

Remember to schedule a little bit of self care into your routine and use these small changes to create a big difference in your wellbeing. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll be able to put
more energy into being with those you love - whether it be friends, family, your children, or a
partner - during this holiday season!

You can find more of Emily's work @GatheringWellness. She has also generously offered a 15% discount on her 3- or 6-month one-on-one program, if they mention Wandering Wellness. Learn more here.  

Joanna Andreae