Thursday, October 28, 2010

Are You Tired and Wired?

My dear sister-in-law (I have three), who is a nurse, wife, mom, and a friend to many, once told me that when she wakes up in the morning, she feels as if she's traveled around the world. She's tired and beaten before she even gets out of bed--and that was before she had two kids under the age of 4.

After editing Are You Tired and Wired? by Marcelle Pick (Hay House, forthcoming March 2011), I wondered if my sister-in-law might have adrenal dysfunction, an uncommonly diagnosed disorder that is characterized by exhaustion, dizziness, hair-trigger irritability, cardiovascular symptoms such as low blood pressure or heart palpitations, digestive issues such as frequent diarrhea, thirst or cravings for salt, endocrine issues such as diabetes and stubborn weight gain around the middle, and feeling as if you're going to have a breakdown when even the slightest problem arises.

Truth is, even though adrenal dysfunction is a fairly uncommon diagnosis, many American women are likely to have this problem because we're--frankly--running ourselves into the ground. The constant stress of work, kids, activities, volunteering, and so on puts a constant strain on our adrenal glands. According to author Marcelle Pick, stress signals the adrenals to pump adrenaline through your system as if it's facing fight-or-flight. Adrenaline is designed to help you get through problems, challenges, and threats to your safety, but those levels are meant to stabilize after the crisis.

When you're constantly in crisis mode, eventually your adrenals are tired and wired too, and that's when a tiny problem that you would have shrugged off before (Forgot your lunch? Can't get your kid's shoelaces tied?) makes you think you're having a breakdown. Quite simply, you can't take it anymore!

But there's help if you're brave enough to grab it. Yes, it includes doing something about your schedule. (You knew it would.) Pick also suggests a gluten-free diet; moderate, gentle exercise; setting aside just a few minutes of alone time to journal or meditate or take an uninterrupted bath; and learning how to set healthy boundaries and saying no once in a while.

This book is appropriate for almost every adult woman I know, and if you're reading this, I urge you to consider buying the book or loaning it from your library. It should be available in e-book format too, and as an audiobook.

Read it. Your life will be better for it.

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