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Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue?

Do you get every single virus that comes through?  Or maybe you biorhythms seem to be out of whack – no energy in the morning when you need it, and lots of energy later in the day.  Maybe you just can’t function without your coffee – especially early in the afternoon.

It turns out that prolonged stress can literally wear out a person’s adrenal glands.  There is some debate about whether this is a ‘real’ condition.  Some medical practitioners don’t accept that this is an actual health issue.  However, some doctors, nurse practitioners, and alternative medicine practitioners recognize it.

One doctor who has explored the topic in depth is Dr James Wilson, author of Adrenal Fatigue:  The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.   According to Wilson, there are particular professions that seem to correlate with the occurrence of this kind of exhaustion.  While doctors and police professionals can certainly have high levels of constant stress,

Middle executives, secretaries, and teachers are examples of professionals who suffer from “sandwich stress.”  This is stress that comes from having to meet the demands and expectations from above and below without the power or authority to make the necessary changes or to do their job effectively.  It is frequently the person in the middle who takes the blame when things go wrong but not the credit when things go right.

Of course, he wrote this back in 2001. These days, I think it’s probably an even more apt description.

The climate in the Education world has become more and more negative toward teachers.  Teachers are assigned the blame for the state of today’s schools.  Teachers are held to ever higher standards – for example, the requirement to attain a Master’s degree – while they are often not empowered to use the expertise they were required to attain.

It’s no wonder teachers are prone to developing adrenal fatigue.

Here is a list of behaviors that often lead to adrenal fatigue.  Do any of these fit you?

  1. Lack of sleep
  2. Poor food choices
  3. Using food and drinks as stimulants when tired
  4. Staying up late even though fatigued
  5. Being constantly in a position of powerlessness
  6. Constantly driving yourself
  7. Trying to be perfect
  8. Staying in double binds (no-win situations) over time
  9. Lack of enjoyable and rejuvenating activities

Take any mix of those behaviors, and add in the stresses that happen in a normal life.    Things like moving, divorce, having children, caring for an ill family member…..you know the list. Mix any of that together, and  it’s a recipe for exhaustion.

There is all kinds of information out there, available to you about Adrenal Fatigue.  I had to overcome it in order to start doing more than just walking through life in a fog.  Doctors aren’t great about diagnosing it though.  They tend to want to just hand you anxiety or depression medications.  Those don’t help over the long term if Adrenal Fatigue is your problem.

How do you know if you have fatigued your adrenal glands?

While there are a whole host of potential symptoms related to this condition, Wilson identifies some general symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue.   The website myadrenalfatigue.com provides an online assessment.

In my opinion, anyone who is in the teaching profession should generally keep an eye on their stress levels.  One bad year can be enough to wear you out both physically and emotionally.

Adrenal fatigue is quite easily treated.  If you think you might be struggling with this disorder, you will want to find a practitioner who will help you out.  In the meantime, there are some things you can do related to the way you conduct your life  – things related to diet, exercise, sleep….. it’s all very doable.

The teaching profession is likely to be a stressful profession for some time to come yet.  The best thing you can do is be aware of your own well-being, and to take care of your own needs.

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