Hello there! I promise I haven’t forgotten about my blog! I’ve had to scale back some things over the past couple months and focus on taking care of myself because I don’t want to get weak and have Lyme gain a stronghold again. I’ve learned a lot about how important rest and routine is!
Since my blog a 100% “volunteer work” aka it doesn’t provide any monetary support to our home, it is one of the first things I have to put on the back burner, especially since I’m still working on completing my nutrition program.
After returning home in January from our 30 day road trip, I was feeling a bit “off.” This “off” feeling started about halfway into our trip. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. January was also an extremely busy month, it was all fun stuff, you can read more about how busy things were in this post.
The most bothersome part of my “off” feeling was a rash on my neck that WOULD NOT disappear. It started off as a very tiny patch and eventually spread until my entire neck was covered in large, red, splotches, that were extremely itchy, sometimes the itch kept me from sleeping! When it didn’t subside after two months, I started to get worried I was having a Lyme relapse, since one of my main symptoms was a neck rash.
While this was all going on, I was completing some testing with an ND I’ve been working with to help unravel my MTHFR and methylation issues. I completed all kinds of testing and overall things looked pretty good and she was fairly certain the rash wasn’t Lyme related. The few concerns she had for me were a couple vitamin and mineral deficiencies (B12 & zinc), slightly sluggish thyroid, and my adrenals were fatigued.
I was surprised about the vitamin and mineral deficiencies since I am very particular with my diet. In turns out, the cause of these deficiencies wasn’t my lack of nutrients but low stomach acid that wasn’t allowing my body to absorb all the good nutrient dense food I’ve been feeding it for the past 7 years.
I’ve learned that as we age, the hydrochloric acid production in our stomach declines and is about half as powerful by age 40 than it is when we are in our 20’s. It’s extremely easy to increase hydrochloric acid by supplementing when eating meals. Eventually, the stomach will begin to produce more acid on its own and supplementation is not longer needed.
The sluggish thyroid and adrenal fatigue weren’t a big surprise since I’d been sick with Lyme for most of my life and working to get over Lyme is also hard on the thyroid and adrenals. A new thing I learned that is also hard on your adrenal glands is not keeping a regular routine.
Apparently, these tiny but important glands LOVE and NEED routine and are easily stressed when things are constantly changing…..like traveling across the country, crossing time zones, sleeping in a different bed almost every night, and poor quality sleep from not sleeping in your own bed for 30 days! (Note to self: no more road trips unless you have a travel trailer!)
I had gotten very nervous about the rash so I decided to visit Infusio Beverly Hills for a Global Diagnostic scan in early April, to help put my mind at ease that this rash was not Lyme related. I once again was treated by the wonderful and knowledgeable Dr. Sara Whitney. The scan showed absolutely zero Lyme or co-infections but did confirm what my other lab work had said….my adrenals were super TIRED, much more so than during my last visit in September 2015.
She encouraged me, like my ND had, to make rest, relaxation, and sleep my top priority to help get things back to normal. Our body does SO much healing when we sleep and relax. It needs down time to function optimally. It’s unfortunate most of us have lifestyles that do not allow downtime to support our body’s most important work! I am grateful to my wonderful husband who supports us financially which allows me to regain 100% health!
Dr. Sara also said my “situation” is not uncommon for those of us who feel better after being ill for many years. It’s very easy to “over do” it because we feel so good! In addition to feeling well, I tend towards a “type A” personality, so it is hard for me to prioritize rest without feeling like I’m being “lazy!”
Thankfully, after seriously focusing on rest, relaxation, sleep, and taking supportive supplements since April, I’m finally starting to get back to feeling like my “normal” and healthy self. My rash, which was stress induced eczema, has completely subsided. Here’s a quick summary of what I did to support my adrenal’s and over all well being:
- Kept a consistent routine, meaning I’d go to bed, wake up, have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time everyday, if possible.
- Get to bed by 10 pm, and getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep, this isn’t always possible, but we try for this at least 5 days a week.
- Sleep in until 9 am, if I felt sluggish when I woke up at 7 am. This meant I would wake up at 7 am, feed my dogs, let my chickens out, and go back to sleep until 9 am. This made a HUGE difference! I didn’t do this everyday but I tried to do this a few days a week. I finally felt completely rested when waking at 7 am about a week ago. My husband and I are now trying and sleep in one weekend day on a regular basis. He loves this new routine!
- Take a nap whenever I felt tired, even if that meant I took more than one short nap each day. It is amazing how a 15-20 minute nap can be helpful and energizing.
- Eat protein with every meal, focusing on plenty of protein with breakfast. Some doctors recommend 40 grams at breakfast. That is a lot for me, but 20-25 grams was doable.
- Avoid strenuous exercise, I know this seems counter intuitive but strenuous exercise is stressful on the body and taxing to the adrenals. I focused on walking, restorative yoga, and enjoyable but not excessive yard work.
- Began drinking various nourishing herbal infusions, like nettle, oat straw, and red clover. You can read more about these on Susan Weed’s page.
- Sleep in complete darkness, meaning I can’t see I my hand when I hold it in front of my face. This meant I needed blackout curtains because my eye mask wasn’t cutting it since the pituitary gland can still sense any ambient light. This has helped me sleep much better, I thought I slept well until I got blackout curtains! My husband and I noticed a major difference in our sleep quality, it’s significantly better. You can learn more in this article.
- Practice EFT when I feel stressed, especially when I have important homework assignment due.
- Learning to admit when I need help! This is a tough one for me since I try to do everything here on our homestead. This year, I realized I needed help with maintaining our orchard since I am in school. It was easier for me to be “okay” getting help, since it will be a one time thing as I will be finished with school by next spring 🙂
- Learning how to not “over commit” this means trying to only have one social even per weekend and try to make sure we have down time every weekend.
- Avoiding blue light emitting devices, like computers, TV, iPads, and cell phones. These disrupt your circadian rhythm and will mess up your sleep. This is pretty much impossible in our world however, most devices now have a blue light filter and you can also get glasses with a light yellowish tint at blocks the blue light from your TV.
- I began taking three supplements to support my adrenals, they are licorice solid extract, Ribes Nigrum, and Mega Stress. I recommend consulting with your doctor and/or nutritionist before adding any supplements, especially licorice root, as it can raise blood pressure.
- I also began taking Nature-Throid since my thyroid was a tiny bit sluggish. If I wasn’t trying to get pregnant I would’ve opted not to take this prescription and work on building my thyroid function naturally. This is something I will do one I’m done having kids!
So there you have it, my adrenal recovery routine! I plan on continuing as many of these practices as possible. I learned the hard way that my excessive travels, although fun, were not a healthy thing for me to take on so soon after treatment. I’m sure as I continue to heal I can attempt more frequent travel but for now I’m going to try and be as much of a homebody as possible. When I do travel in the future, I will be sure to try and keep a routine.
I hope to get back to posting a least once every one-two weeks. We just had a hen hatch 9 baby chicks over the weekend, so I’ll be sharing those pictures soon. I also have a few Infusio updates I also need to publish. Stay tuned and thanks for continuing to follow me!
What about you? Have you overcome adrenal fatigue? Share your tips in the comments.
May 24, 2016 at 2:58 pm
Hi Jen! I admire what you’re doing to fight the adrenal fatigue!
I can totally relate to what you shared here. I’m bad about overdoing it when I have a “good” day and then end up paying for it later.
This past week was a very busy one at our house and I fought through the exhaustion to make preparations for our son’s graduation and birthday party. I knew this week’s schedule would be easier and I’m thankful for that because I feel like I’ve been run over by a mack truck!
I need to follow your example for getting a good night’s sleep. I always feel better when I do, but it doesn’t happen enough.
I appreciate the list you’ve shared here and I’m going to try to implement some of your suggestions this week! Take care!
June 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm
Thanks so much Lori!
June 9, 2016 at 12:38 pm
Your very welcome, Jen!