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Why Your Adrenals Need Extra Love During Midlife

Imagine this … it’s a particularly tiring Friday after a rather stressful week during an absolutely exhausting month.  You’ve “done had it” with everything and everyone.  T.G.I.F. vibes are dialed up to MAX levels today!  

As you’re packing your briefcase, playing the mental “what’s in the fridge for dinner” game, you get a call.  It’s your coworker and she’s going to be out all next week for an impromptu trip her friends invited her to tag along on.  She needs you to cover for her.  You reluctantly tell her you will and hang up.  

You forgot for one brief moment you are already scheduled up to the hilt next week with YOUR work….how on earth will you pick up the slack for her too?  

I imagine this is how a woman’s adrenals feel when she’s in the throes of perimenopause and her ovaries are going into retirement, AKA menopause.  They’ve been hard at work doing their job and it’s a thankless job at that, only to learn that now the ovaries are tapping out as they hit perimenopause.  

Did you know that when the ovaries no longer produce estrogen because they no longer have eggs to release, they tap the adrenals to ramp up production of androstenedione which is then turned into estrogen and testosterone?  

It’s a pretty cool biological shift until the adrenals are slapped with the reality that they are already taxed to the max living your crazy life!!  

If you’re like most women I know (myself included), you are already scheduled to the gills and running on empty.  You make it through the craziness of this thing called life thanks to caffeine hits by day and a little red wine to wind the evening down.  (Ok a lot of red wine…but who’s counting?)  

What happens when your hormones start their downshift in preparation for menopause?  What are your overtaxed adrenals to do in response?  

This is the reality we are faced with at midlife.  It’s very rare that a high-achieving woman will not have adrenals that are already limping along when she is approaching that final shift on her ovaries’ timecard.  

Just in case this is news to you, or you are like I was and think you’re invincible, this my friend is your “Come to Jesus Moment”, without the painful collateral damage I endured a few short years ago.  

Contrary to popular belief, I am NOT Wonder Woman.  I am far from her in fact.  I am 100% human.  And I’m pretty certain you are too.  The whole you can have it all and do it all and be it all and … blah, blah, blah … it all is freaking BS and one more thing that makes us women feel like we are not enough.  More on that “not enough” topic another day, let’s get back to the adrenals and what we’re to do when the ovaries tap out to play shuffleboard and Bingo with the other ladies at the community center.

You see, had I listened to those before me, I’d have beefed up my adrenals in preparation for perimenopause therefore circumnavigating the pit of despair I found myself neck deep in a few years ago.  But true to form, with delusions of Lynda Carter and those shiny bangles, I did not heed the warnings and therefore suffered the consequences.   

I don’t want to see you suffer like I did.  

Here’s a quick rundown of what you can do to show your adrenals some love before they’re put on double duty:  

  • Tame your stressors.  Stressors are the things (and people) who cause you to experience stress.  Stress is felt no matter how well you think you cope with it. 
  • Step away from the stimulants.  Our incredible brains are no match for the chemicals we throw at them on the daily: caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, some herbs, energy drinks, and the list goes on. 
  • Incorporate activities that dial down your stress levels.  Ones I’m particularly fond of are mindfulness, breathwork, and gentle yoga.  I find a nice walk in my neighborhood rather relaxing as well.  A quick dip in the pool can work wonders when I allow myself to float which helps quiet my mind. 
  • Take up a hobby that requires some focus, but not one that elicits any kind of stress.  I recently rekindled a hobby I used to do with my mom when I was a little girl, macramé.  I love to weave the ropes in and around when I’m listening to a podcast or while on a conference call.  My focus is heightened and my stress lessened with each knot I tighten.  

To drive home the point of this blog; your coworker will be back, your ovaries will not.  The time is now to board the Adrenal Love Boat.  The tips I shared are a solid place to start.  If your adrenals are already teetering on the side of burnout, you may have to pull out all the stops simultaneously.  

Bringing more mindfulness into your daily life is much easier than you may think.  If you’re a 40-plus woman, join us in the Unraveling Together Community for guidance on mindfulness and stress reduction as you enter your perimenopause and beyond. 

LINK: https://www.unravelingtogether.com/  

I’ll start you off with a quick mindfulness lesson.  In it, I teach you a simple strategy for taming your stress that you can do when you feel stress taking root.  The lesson is 7 minutes and the daily strategy takes one minute or less.  You’ve got one minute for your adrenals, don’t you?  Grab that lesson from me at https://drsamgraber.com/freebie/mindfulness-video-lesson/.  

What are a few other things you can do, and not do, to show your adrenals some love in anticipation for your ovaries making the transition to socks and sandals on the shuffleboard court? 

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