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005. ’Tis the Season of Added Stress as the Holidays are Upon Us Amidst A Global Pandemic: Signs to Watch for to Avoid Adrenal Fatigue and Burnout

December 7, 2020

Episode 05: Show Notes:

’Tis the Season of Added Stress as the Holidays are Upon Us Amidst A Global Pandemic: Signs to Watch for to Avoid Adrenal Fatigue and Burnout w/ Dr. Sarah Harbottle RN.

Daily life in the modern world is stressful, and with Christmas on the way as well as a global pandemic on our hands, the risks of burnout are bigger than ever. Today we explore the subject of adrenal fatigue as well as approaches to preventing and recovering from this syndrome with Dr. Sarah Harbottle, a naturopathic doctor practicing in British Columbia. Dr. Harbottle begins by telling the story of how the burnout she was experiencing in her twenties from her stressful career as a corporate lawyer led her to seek out the help of a naturopathic doctor. The treatment she received was so beneficial to her that she decided to study to become a naturopathic doctor herself, and we talk about how she incorporates this philosophy into the way she treats patients feeling the effects of burnout. For Dr. Harbottle, the treatment and prevention of adrenal fatigue centers around an integrated approach that incorporates a healthy balance of many factors including sleep, diet, exercise, perception, and supplements. We also talk about lifestyles that cause adrenal fatigue, what the term ‘adrenal fatigue’ refers to and how to diagnose this syndrome, and the role cortisol levels play in feelings of burnout. So, if you are feeling like you are in a constant state of fight or flight, this episode could help you take the first steps toward a lifestyle change and lead you back to a state of calm and centeredness.


Key Points From This Episode:


  • An overview of Dr. Harbottle’s career; her switch from corporate law into naturopathic medicine.
  • Harbottle’s lifestyle and experience of adrenal fatigue while she was a corporate lawyer.
  • How naturopathic medicine helped Dr. Harbottle recover from adrenal fatigue.
  • The negative effects of stress and the work Dr. Harbottle does to help patients be less stressed.
  • Symptoms of adrenal fatigue and how the condition changes as it gets worse.
  • The process of ‘diagnosing’ adrenal fatigue by ruling out other conditions first.
  • How the term ‘adrenal fatigue’ is controversial because it describes a syndrome, or a group of symptoms.
  • Treating adrenal fatigue: Optimizing sleep, reducing caffeine, mind-body therapy, herbs.
  • The line between healthy exercise and overexercising; how the latter exacerbates adrenal fatigue.
  • How cortisol is good for us but if our levels are too high this contributes to adrenal fatigue.
  • Methods for being proactive with health to avoid burnout and adrenal fatigue.
  • High stress levels and the pandemic; how to keep this to a minimum right now.
  • Juggling plastic and glass balls: An analogy that helps us prioritize.
  • Essential supplements in Dr. Harbottle’s cupboard for sleep, gut health, and adrenal health.
  • Harbottle’s methods for keeping her own adrenal health intact right now.
  • Regular meals versus intermittent fasting for different body types.
  • What Dr. Harbottle’s morning routine looks like as a mom of three.
  • A deeper dive into Dr. Harbottle’s individualized treatment approach.




“My first experience with naturopathic medicine was as a fairly stressed out junior lawyer, so I sought out naturopathic medicine to help with that – with stress and burnout, with adrenal fatigue.” — Dr. Sarah Harbottle [0:02:07]


“If you perceive something as stressful it will be stressful and your body will react, but if you can switch your mindset so that stressor isn’t actually perceived as such, then you are not going to have that same physiological response.” — Dr. Sarah Harbottle [0:06:36]


“Cortisol is good, but you want to have the right output. Too much is going to make you feel anxious. It’s that fight or flight response.” — Dr. Sarah Harbottle  [0:15:52]


“A big one with our adrenal health is really working on our boundaries.” — Dr. Sarah Harbottle [0:20:48]


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


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