The Modern Illness: Adrenal Burnout

Question time – how many of you have your smart phones next to you right now? And sleep with them next to your bed?

We live in a constantly ‘switched on’ society, and though we might not realise it our fast-paced lifestyles can really take a toll on our minds and bodies.

Stress plays a major factor in our health. The constant pressure that comes with never fully disengaging impairs the immune system and, I believe, is responsible for a lot of the illnesses we suffer from.

What is Adrenal Burnout?

The adrenals are small walnut sized glands that sit just above the kidneys.

They produce the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol, otherwise known as the bodies ‘fight or flight’ signals, which are released in response to high stress situations.

In ‘survival mode’ they help our bodies function more efficiently, increasing blood pressure and maintaining fluid balance (stopping you needing the toilet!)

Cortisol in particular regulates bodily functions that aren’t crucial in the moment, such as reproductive drive, immunity, digestion and growth.

The problem is that when we’re continually stressed or dwelling on a problem, the body carries on releasing cortisol and supressing these key bodily functions that keep us healthy – eventually leading to adrenal burnout or fatigue.

Adrenal burnout is affecting more and more people, particularly those in high-pressure jobs, and is now so common that the World Health Organisation has recognised it as a new ‘illness’.

But how can it affect our skin?

The skin and the immune system are intrinsically linked, so if the immune system is supressed then chances are your skin will be down in the dumps too!

Auto-immune conditions such as psoriasis and urticaria tend to flare up, and with the skin more prone to infection and inflammation the likes of eczema and acne get worse too.

You can read more about the importantance of emotional wellbeing on the skin here .

How do I switch off?

This is easier said than done but actively managing stress is just as important as ticking those tasks off your ‘To Do’ list.

The key is to find ways to switch off your brain or at least distract it from any nagging thoughts or worries.

Meditation can be a useful tool here but otherwise try simple things like turning your phone off for an evening, reading a book or even splashing out on a massage.

I find it helpful to have a notepad by my bed so that I can jot down things I need to remember. Even if I don’t refer to my notes in the morning just the physical act of writing a thought down puts it to bed so I can sleep easy!

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