BY DR. ANDREA PURCELL
COVID-19 has brought a lot of change. Change leads to loss. Loss of a life we have come to expect in the United States. A loss of safety, connection, joy, support, and even loved ones.
Loss leads to pain. Pain is uncomfortable… This year has taken us on a roller coaster ride of every painful human emotion that exists… shock, grief, fear, anger, frustration, overwhelm, apathy, rage, and confusion…
Here’s the thing, pain leads to growth. There comes a time when we need to push beyond the pain to get to the other side. Pain can hold us down so that we “drown” in it or we use it as a trampoline to “breakthrough” to the other side.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
I know this year has been hard, let’s recap the last quarter of 2020…
Month 1 – shelter in place, buy 4 weeks’ worth of groceries, consider homeschooling and working from home… Binge on Netflix, and pretend it’s a staycation.
Self-talk, “Ahhh, what is happening? Is this for real?”
Month 2 – shelter in place, enter new normal, home-school, work from home, clean the house, dishes, dishes everywhere…
Self-talk, “We’ve got this, just a little bit more, but it’s getting old.”
Month 3 – Shelter in place, attempt re-openings, and go under city wide curfew. (Which turns out is even worse than shelter in place). Kids graduate from school on a wing and a prayer and summer begins. News-flash there are no summer plans, it’s triple digits and the pools are closed….and BTW nothing has returned to normal.
Self-talk, “If I don’t get some alone time I will scream, someone pass me the vodka.”
Needless to say, the second quarter of 2020 has been filled with twists and turns. Nothing is as it was with new challenges presenting themselves daily.
Change requires effort because we have to create new routines. We need to find patience to home-school our kids, we need to regulate our emotions and find new outlets for our frustrations. We need to figure out how to work from home successfully, and carve out our own space.
Guess what? It’s pretty common to FEEL TIRED after the last three months. Everything in your life is different and the changes continue.
It can be exhausting, overwhelming, and depleting.
It’s like running three marathons back to back where you find yourself wondering, “Why am I still running?” “When can I take a break?” “Shouldn’t this have ended by now?” “Is this race filled with switchbacks ever going to end?” “No not another obstacle!” “Where’s the finish line?” “Who turned out the lights?”
And the answer is… “I don’t know where the finish line is or when the light will shine through, I do know that it is out there though.”
Wouldn’t it be nice during times like these if we had our very own Teflon overcoat? Some type of magic cloak we could causally throw over our shoulders to feel tough, resistant to high heat, flexible and self-lubricating? Hey, Sign me up. I want one of those…
The truth is that this year is nowhere close to done with all of its twists and turns.
We all need Teflon coats.
Now is the time to recognize low energy, disrupted sleep, overwhelm and be honest with yourself if you are running on fumes.
Chronic stress is extremely depleting to our adrenal glands. Adrenal glands produce adrenaline aka cortisol.
In order to successfully finish the marathons that are yet to come we need to develop internal resistance and resilience. We do this by supporting our adrenals.
To rebuild and come back stronger, and avoid burnout in the future, adrenal health is paramount. Here’s the bonus, when you support your adrenals not only will you regain your energy, and feel like yourself again, it also helps your immune system. Healthy adrenals lead to a stronger immune system.
Immunity weakens under chronic and long term stress.
A grouping of herbs called the adaptogens are some of the best herbs to help us through stress. Adaptogens can be used as singles or in combination formulas depending upon the use.
Herbs cannot change the circumstances of our world but they can change our internal environment by fortifying us with resilience and the ability to adjust to stressors in a healthy way.
Adaptogenic herbs are defined as agents that support the body’s ability to adjust to physical, mental and emotional stresses by strengthening the immune system.
Here are just a few of my favorite adaptogens…
*Ashwagandha- Ashwaganda is a traditional ayurvedic herb that has been used for thousands of years to help us better adapt to the stressors of life. Ashwagandha is modulating and calming it helps nourish and restore optimal health by supporting normal mood, energy levels, and overall immune function. It also helps with sleep.
*Rhodiola- Rhodiola is energizing and enhancing. It has been traditionally used to support strength and endurance. It can combat fatigue caused by stress and enhance work performance by increasing concentration.
*Holy Basil- Holy Basil helps you respond to stress in a healthy way, with gentle calming support. Holy Basil supports adrenal health and brings about a state of equilibrium in the body.
*Schisandra- Schisandra berries can enhance the body’s natural resistance and adaptation to stressful influences. It supports mental endurance, and promotes a balanced metabolism by stabilizing blood sugar levels caused by adrenal surges.
*Eleutherococcus senticosus- Eleuthrococcis is used to increase mental alertness and performance, enhance concentration, reduce stress and fatigue, and build overall immunity. In Chinese Medicine, it is used to boost energy, strengthen and nourish the body.
So, go on, what are you waiting for? Help for your adrenals is around the corner at your local health food store and at your local Naturopathic Doctors office. Use a combination of these herbs to support your nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system to prepare for the next marathon ahead.
With Love and Fortitude,