Are you taking time to slow down, rest and nourish in the winter? Each season gives us an opportunity to honor different organs. The Winter Solstice officially began on December 21st; this is a time to go deep within to restore your body & soul. Winter supports a natural cleanse and the nourishment of the kidneys, bladder and adrenal system. For thousands of years humans rested and conserved energy during the winter. With the shorter days we slept more, seek warm shelters and eat nourishing foods. After centuries of this rhythm our organs have evolved to accommodate this very lifestyle. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle is ignoring this season honoring wisdom and your body is being pushed into exhaustion. The results? consecutive colds (almost chronic all winter long), intense cravings, low energy, depression, poor sleep and weight gain to name a few.
Winter is a time to honor your adrenal system. The adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys, affect kidney function and produce important hormones including Cortisol, which helps regulate blood sugar, metabolism, and your body’s stress response It also produces aldosterone which regulates blood pressure and adrenaline, which prepares the body to respond to a “fight or flight” situation
When your adrenals are stressed, you can experience a lot of health issues:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Waking up multiple times during the night or inability to stay asleep
- Constant sugar cravings
- Low libido
- Bags under the eyes
- Food or environmental allergies
- Imbalances of minerals that are key for cleansing and metabolism
If you are not paying attention, this can evolve into chronic fatigue. And if you think you can take a pill for this let me set this straight: there is no other treatment for adrenal burn out outside food and lifestyle changes. Knowing this, I urge you to take care of these important glands right now.
First, recognize the symptoms. Many of them get ignored or labeled as simply being tired. If they persist, you are in need of some adrenal help. Look at the below list and consider how often you experience these things
- Excessive sweating or perspiration from little activity
- Lower back pain and/or knee weakness or pain, especially on the side
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Muscle twitches
- Low blood sugar
- Heart palpitations
- Sensitivity to light, or difficulty seeing at night
- Cravings for salt
- Low stamina for stress, and easily irritated
- Excessive mood responses after eating carbohydrates such as pasta, breads and sugar
- Chronic infections (bacterial, viral, fungal, yeast)
- Low blood pressure
- Light-headedness upon standing up
- Tired but wired feeling, poor sleep
- Cravings for sweets and carbs, intolerance to alcohol
- Premature aging
- Dry, unhealthy skin with excess pigmentation
- Lack of libido
- Cystic breasts
- Tendency to startle easily
- Negative response to thyroid hormone
Now don’t panic! If you find yourself in many of these categories there are natural ways to support your adrenals. They are all tied to self care, rest and renewal, so it is important that you commit yourself to making a priority of this. Like I said before, there are no shortcuts and quick fixes here. In general, it takes several weeks to months to reverse this, so make a decision to be kind to yourself as a matter of health and longevity, not just for a while, but forever.
If you suspect you might have tired adrenals, address it right away. Adrenal glands are extremely important to a healthy immune system. They are necessary for proper thyroid function. To begin start with these steps:
Get some sleep. You must rest if you are going to help your adrenals get stronger. That means going to bed every night by 10 p.m. Make this a priority and stick with it. Your adrenals need their beauty sleep!
Eliminate sugar and processed carbs. Sugar and simple carbs (junk!) put stress on the adrenals. Adrenal glands help to regulate blood sugar levels.
Eat clean. Select the highest quality and organic animal protein foods, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, beans and grains. Make your diet whole food based and ditch the chemical and processed stuff.
Quit the coffee habit and drink plenty of fresh filtered water every day.
Create a technology curfew. Disconnect from all forms of virtual stimulation coming from cell phones, TV computer, tablet, etc as much as possible. At a minimum make sure you are away from any screen 1 hour before bedtime.
Some of my clients have poor sleep, lower back pain, and constant sugar cravings. If you crave sugar or salt in the afternoon around 4 pm, it is time to give your adrenals some love and attention, and the winter season is the perfect time to do so. If you had made some New Year’s resolutions tied to your health make this your #1 step. You may be unsure about how to start cleansing your diet and making time to practice self-care and rest, don’t worry (remember stress is what we are fighting), most of my clients are a bit confused too. Just start somewhere. Perhaps my upcoming Clean eating program is perfect for you. You don’t have to do it alone. I’m here to support you and there will be plenty of tools and other like-minded people to share the ride with . Learn more here
So there you go my friend, it is time to honor the winter season with deep nourishing habits and adrenal support. If you fail to do so, this lingering feeling of having low energy will grow . If you are not functioning at your best your family, friends and loved ones loose the joy and gifts that can only come from YOU. We need you to shine darling! Take good care of those adrenals. Start somewhere today.
Take 18 days to balance your metabolism, adrenals practicing a non-deprivation approach to eating. Learn more about my New Year Clean Eating and Self Care Challenge