When Adrenal Insufficiency Takes You Down: A Recovery Plan

This post was initially written June 2015 following an adrenal crisis. I still reference this when I am recovering from any situation that “takes me down” for a length of time ex- illness, injury, etc. *Please note, nothing here is to be taken as medical advice. You should be under a doctor’s care for any illness. It is not a cure for anything.

First of all, this main idea of this recovery plan is SELF CARE with a purpose. What is self care? Self care is an intentional act to build or preserve physical, mental or emotional well being. It includes basics such as eating, drinking, medical care, safety. It includes taking care of your own hygiene, social relationships, and our personal interests and desires. Take this list one step at a time, and do not move on until you’re done with the previous step. Yes, you may have a ton of obligations begging for your attention, but you can’t handle those and neglect your health. One thing at a time. Below is an image of Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In a nutshell, according to Maslow, we must care for our basic needs before we can build up to achieve our potential. So let’s follow this principle and take it one baby step at a time shall we?


Recovering is about YOU! Let go of everything non-essential in your life for now. Chances are many of the obligations stressing you out will be just fine waiting, or delegated to someone else for a while. You should also be mindful of the people around you at this time. People that leave you emotional, drained, or depleted will need to be kept at a distance until you are well enough to reevaluate that responsibility or relationship.


👧Start with yourself:

1. Focus on getting better. Just the basics. Hydrate yourself! Nourish yourself! Allow yourself to rest! It is vital you give yourself enough cortisol. Do not attempt to cut down your dose until appetite and energy return. Any sooner will only sabotage your recovery.


2. Hygiene. We stop taking care of our basic needs when we’re sick. It happens. As soon as you are feeling up to it, shower and change your sheets. Make it a point to shower at least once a day (or whatever is normal for you 😉 ) and always after you sweat. Brush your teeth. Put on clean clothes and deodorant. (Pj’s are definitely acceptable attire at this stage.)

3. Appearance. Now that you’re practicing good hygiene again, time to regain esteem in your appearance. Start by wearing clothes that aren’t pajamas (yoga pants are okay.) Shave, you’ll feel so much better. Once you cover the basics you can do things like your nails, hair, etc.


👪Move on to your family:

1. Your spouse. Significant others are often the ones trying to pick up the slack when we’re ill. This can leave them stressed and exhausted. When you are able, give your spouse a break. Maybe that means time out with friends or alone, or maybe a date night is in order. Anything to allow your S.O. to relax/blow off steam. Make sure you communicate your appreciation for all their hard work while you were ill, and their continued contributions.

2. Children. Age of kids and their personalities will determine how you complete this goal. Clear some time for each child. This can be an outing together, a game, a book, a movie they enjoy. You will need to reestablish their normal routine and possibly remind them of their regular rules and expectations. This might also be a good time to talk about Adrenal Insufficiency with them.


🏠You can begin getting your home and responsibilities back in order while still building up your family. Do not attempt housework until you are back to good health. It helps if you keep your dose increased while you tackle this objective:

1. These areas seem to have the biggest impact on the overall cleanliness and feeling of a home. Focus on these main areas first. Tackle them one baby step at a time, play some music, ignore everything else until you complete these areas *one at a time.* Digging out of the mess can be overwhelming, don’t stress about anything not on your list.
– Kitchen
– Laundry
– Bathrooms

2. Other responsibilities: Sort through all your mail, handle accordingly, file it away. Ensure your bills are paid, appointments are scheduled, necessary phone calls made etc. Take it one step at a time (tired of reading that yet?)

I can’t stress enough that recovery is a slow process. You will reach a point where you are frustrated with your progress and want everything caught back up right away. Breathe. You’ll get there.

If there was ever a time to ask for help and delegate duties, it’s now. If you can afford a maid get one, or ask a friend or family member for help with house work, baby sitting, errands etc. Don’t make recovery any harder on yourself than it has to be.


Take it easy friends,

4 thoughts on “When Adrenal Insufficiency Takes You Down: A Recovery Plan

  1. Michelle,

    The only crisis I’ve had was during surgery. I was diagnosed over the next 4 months so obviously my recovery was very drawn out. In your experience, how long does recovery take? Are you talking weeks or months? I understand that it will vary by individual but I was interested in your experience.


    • Hi Laura,

      Your recovery will depend on many things. First of all it depends what caused the crisis in the first place, and It doesn’t necessarily have to be a crisis to take you out. Any manner of illness or injury can do a number us. The time it takes you to heal will depend on your steroid dosing, any other medical conditons you may have and their effect on your AI. Also your willingness to rest and let yourself heal will have a lot to do with it.

      To answer your question though, just from my own experience it can take a couple weeks to a couple months to recover from a crisis or any condition that leaves you bed ridden. It can even take several months if it an especially severe illness.


  2. Thank you, Michelle. Your response was really helpful. I have found that I’ve been knocked down by minor illness and it has taken a few weeks to bounce back. At least, now, I know it is normal to feel that way and will show myself a little more grace in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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