Thursday, July 18, 2013

Are You A Junkie?

"Livin' on Reds, vitamin C and cocaine…" sang the Grateful Dead, and they might have been describing today's adrenaline junkies, hooked not on drugs but on a super-sized life, juggling it all without dropping a ball: power career, marriage, motherhood, perfect parties, posh home, toned body…

Just thinking about it can be exhausting. As I wrote last month in Why You Should Drop Out, books like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In exhort women to give their all to work so that they'll want to return to the corner office after having kids. And while women certainly deserve to rise to the top like the (organic) cream in their half-caff, burning the proverbial candle to a nub day in and day out can create serious health issues. Such as adrenal burnout.

While all of us are familiar with the term "adrenaline," not many people stop to associate it with the adrenals, two tiny glands that sit atop the kidneys and are responsible for regulating our stress hormones. When your blood pressure rises or your heart starts beating in double-time, that's the adrenal glands pumping the hormones cortisol and adrenaline into your body in response to stress. Which works superbly if you're running from a tiger (or perhaps confronting an angry partner), but not so much as a steady diet. Living like the Energizer Bunny doesn't cut it long-term. You can simply replace Bunny's batteries when they run down; our bodies require continual, comprehensive care.

Some of the areas to examine:

  • Sleep: are you chronically exhausted? Believe it or not, going to bed earlier will not only help you get rested — it can help you lose weight!
  • Diet/nutrition: grabbing junk food or even "food bars" in place of healthy meals? Even the best food bars are cut-rate fuel.
  • Exercise: are you too busy — or too tired? Just a 20-minute walk 3-4 times a week is restorative. Then you can think about adding cardio and weight training.
  • Supplements: what do you need to restore balance?
  • Work: do you need to delegate more? Hire an assistant or VA (virtual assistant)?

You'll have more to give in all areas of your life when you feel vibrantly healthy. So put yourself first on your to-do list. After all, there's a reason those airline emergency drills always tell you, "Put your own oxygen mask on first!"


Paul said...

Yes I am a junkie. Thanks for the reminder to take better care of my overworked adrenals! Putting meditation and exercise at the top of my list, because recently I realized if I don't, no one else will.

Love your humor and wisdom!

Amara Rose said...

Thanks, Paul! I write what I know: used to be very Type A until my deteriorating health forced a change in direction. Here's my story:

I'm glad you're motivated to take better care of yourself. You're a bright star!