Is it Holiday Stress or Adrenal Fatigue?

How to relax, love, avoid adrenal burnout and enjoy the holidays

Update: At the time of this writing at then end of 2020, a LOT has changed. I have no idea where things are heading, but one thing I can say.. adrenal exhaustion is still a big problem around this time of year for many. 

To illustrate, let’s visit the ghost of Christmas past.. (or future?)

You’re feeling overwhelmed and completely exhausted. The Holiday season is here. You’re going to have lots of guests during the holidays and you want everything to be perfect and full of joy. You have so much on your mind and it seems like nobody else can see through your eyes and/ or fit into your shoes.

Get ready for family judgment because it’s coming and they’ll absolutely be blind to everything you did right. They will be  hypercritical and focus on what you didn’t do right.

Many will demand perfection: 

Will the house be clean enough? Will you serve turkey or ham? Do you have a vegetarian option? Should you? What about soda? I should have something for everyone. Should I get Coke or Pepsi? I’m not sure.

My table. Will it be beautiful? Will anyone notice the work and creativity I put into it?

Many of these thoughts will consume your mind, as you wait in long lines to buy presents, to make sure you make an impression on those you need to make an impression on. You feel overwhelmed and you’ve had enough!

What you are experiencing may be adrenal fatigue, which is not uncommon during the holiday season.

Adrenal Fatigue is  REAL

Here’s a quote from MedicalNewsToday:

“In 1998, the Chiropractor and Naturopath James Wilson first coined the term “adrenal fatigue” in his book of the same name.

“According to the people who propose adrenal fatigue as a real condition, it strikes people who endure long stretches of mental, physical, or emotional stress. People who are allegedly more likely to contract adrenal fatigue are shift workers, single parents, people with alcohol or drug dependence, and those with stressful jobs.

However, as mentioned above, there is no scientific evidence that this condition exists.”

I want you to read these words again, because I want you to see and know how outrageous these words are. Here’s the list of symptoms they included in their article about adrenal fatigue: a condition that doesn’t scientifically exist.


The symptoms of adrenal fatigue are said to include:

  • Tiredness
  • Trouble getting to sleep and waking up
  • Craving salt and sugar
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Reliance on stimulants such as caffeine
  • Nonspecific digestive problems

Does this sound like anyone you know?

It sounds to me like those who are overworked, exhausted, overwhelmed and hopeless.

Here’s another example. This one comes from WebMD.

“It’s frustrating to have persistent symptoms that your doctor can’t readily explain. But accepting a medically unrecognized diagnosis from an unqualified practitioner could be worse. Unproven remedies for so-called adrenal fatigue may leave you feeling sicker, while the real cause — such as depression or fibromyalgia — continues to take its toll”.

Wow! WebMD doesn’t recognize adrenal fatigue, but has an opinion of a real cause! Okay I need to calm down. Deep sigh.

What IS Adrenal Fatigue?

This is a simple misunderstanding. Adrenal fatigue is not the same as adrenal insufficiency. They are two different things. When traditional medical practitioners hear the words adrenal fatigue, many hear disease. This is what they were taught in school, and this is what they know.

Adrenal insufficiency is associated with diseases like Addison’s disease and X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy and other conditions. Most of these diseases are genetic in nature. These diseases are inside a whole different world.

Disease doesn’t just happen. You don’t wake up one day with a condition or a full-blown disease. There is a continuum between robust health and disease, and those changes are only partially dictated by genetics. The rest is about how we live our lives, how we feel about ourselves, and the meaning we assign to it all.

Adrenal fatigue is NOT the same thing as adrenal insufficiency. I’m going to try to explain adrenal fatigue to you in words we can all understand.

Consider your phone. It has a battery and in the morning, it’s hopefully fully charged. This battery is your adrenal glands.

As you progress through the difficulties of your day, as you check your Facebook, emails, watch the news, and endure your everyday normal adversities, your battery starts to wear down. At some point you go into the red zone.

This is called adrenal fatigue. 

You experience abnormal fatigue and a sense of easily becoming emotionally overwhelmed.

You’re on the edge and you crave sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and things like this.

Your blood sugar is a mess and you experience depression, anxiety and meaninglessness.

 When it’s really bad, you freak out completely and you lose it. You’ve had enough!

AF can even contribute to seasonal weight gain!

What you can do about adrenal fatigue so that you can finally relax and enjoy yourself this holiday season

There are many things I can do for you at many levels with Chiropractic care and the Heart Technique.  This, combined with lifestyle changes you can do easily at home, will help you not just get through the season.. It will help you enjoy yourself, which is the whole point, right?

Be Proactive

The first thing you can do is book an appointment with me.  I can very quickly discover the root cause of your holiday stress. I have to ask your body questions. You may not know what’s wrong consciously, because you don’t want to look at it, but your subconscious mind is screaming what the problem is and it’s usually the main cause of your anxiety.

This will help get the season off to a good start, making it easier for you to create and sustain healthier habits with much less effort, or the need to “self medicate” with an entire bottle of wine when your sister-in-law has yet ANOTHER opinion about your cooking or your mother makes a backhanded comment on your appearance.

Avoid Sugar

Another thing you can do is lose the traditional Christmas cookies and other sugar-laden holiday treats.

You can still enjoy the pleasures of the season with healthier alternatives that are not packed with sugar and other ingredients that lead to inflammation, blood sugar spikes and crashes, lethargy, and foggy thinking.

Another way to put it: The sugary treats  don’t cause disease directly, but they cause you to feel like shit. Feeling like shit eventually causes disease.

I know that mom’s Christmas cookies can have a lot lot meaning for us, but it’s better to let them go and create your own healthier traditions.

You can start with this recipe:

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey, or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

In a food processor or blender, process the coconut until it is very fine. Add the coconut milk, coconut oil, honey or maple syrup and peppermint extract. Process again until a smooth paste has formed.

Shape or roll the paste into balls and flatten. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave on medium power or over a double boiler. Remove the patties from the freezer and coat in chocolate. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden before serving.

Drink lots of water. (stay hydrated)

Nothing can live without water, but we tend to both deprive ourselves of water, drink too much alcohol, AND put ourselves under a great deal of stress at this time of year This is a triple whammy! Remember..  Everything is better when you are hydrated.

If it’s hard for you to drink water, try these tips:

• Keep  fresh water with lemon in a special pitcher just for you.  Break out the nice crystal if you want.  You deserve it!

• Mix the water with a splash of real cranberry juice and a dash of stevia. Add a slice of orange for a festive touch!

• Cut back on extremely salty foods, junk foods,  and alcohol, which can make you feel worse the next day. If you have a drink, be sure to have at least 1 glass of water with each glass of booze.

Lower the bar!

There’s no reason why you have to make 15 dishes and make sure that everything is absolutely perfect, down to the choice of wrapping paper.

Practice cutting a few corners. Discover simple but delicious recipes.  Put up fewer decorations, and focus only on those that have special meaning for you.

Practice being OK with something being left undone. Take a deep breath, and know that it’s about enjoying the moment, regardless of whether or not you forgot to buy the vodka to make martinis and an ingredient for the stuffing… or the bathroom isn’t sparkling clean.

Make time to recharge your batteries

Some enjoy being around a lot of people during the holiday season, but some don’t. There is nothing wrong with this.  It’s your choice when it comes to who  you want to spend time with, and for how long.

If you prefer to spend more time with just a few important people in a more intimate setting, do that. If you need some alone time after a big party, make sure to schedule that in too, especially if you are an introvert. This is important!

Add a dose of LOVE.

The last thing I have to say is something I think is profound. It’s that I think you’re profound. You are one of a kind. There is no one else like you and there will never be one exactly like you. You have value.

You are someone special and loved. With that in mind, I want you to apply this to those you’re “doomed” to spend the holidays with. These people are not strangers, but they are also one of a kind, just like you. It’s time to love.

To me, this is the key for actually ENJOYING the holiday season, rather than just enduring it.

Happy Holidays from the Heart! 

Need Some Help?

Adrenal fatigue is one of my specialties. If you are experiencing any signs of adrenal fatigue or post viral fatigue in Lansing, give me a call or book a virtual appointment.  It’s easy!  Start by clicking on the orange button below. 

Prefer a non-virtual experience? I’m your chiropractor in Lansing! My clinic is open and you are always welcome. I’m here for you whether it is physical (neck pain, back pain, recovering from an auto accident, and more) chronic conditions, or emotional trauma of any kind.

Call us at (517) 372-1381 to book an appointment!

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