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10 Road Trip Tips for People with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

Hormone Circuit Bioenergetics Circuit Detoxification Circuit Inflammation Circuit Neuroaffect Circuit Cardionomic Circuit

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Carrie Lam, MD; Jeremy Lam, MD

An image of a family in the car wearing sunglasses and smilingRoad trips are difficult for most people under the best of circumstances. If you have adrenal fatigue and one or a few of its associated symptoms, the thought of going on a road trip could be a potential nightmare. You can, however, make life a lot easier if you follow a few well-designed and thought out road trip tips. These top tips would not only make your trip a more pleasurable one but at the same time make it easier on others going on the trip with you. Whether you or someone you know have adrenal fatigue, these road trip tips would definitely be beneficial.

Road Trip Tips That Make Things Easier

To put it mildly, even the thought of an upcoming long road trip can be stressful. With adrenal fatigue, you may begin to fear that you will fall ill by the end of the trip. Long hours of being cramped in a vehicle is not appealing to most of us, and with your condition, even less so. Let us look at some of the road trip tips that might help you on the road.

Preparation is Key

The first of the few road trip tips, would be the preparation, as this would ensure that the trip is stress-free and you would feel more relaxed before you start. Begin with identifying your destination and plotting your route. The route would be based on your choice of roads, for example. You may want to drive on the highway or avoid it. One would be a shorter and faster route and the other longer and therefore slower. This decision would then allow you to determine the places of interest for sightseeing or a place where you could stop to stretch your legs, get something to eat, or just to take a break from the long drive. Pleasurable activities not only take the edge off your anxiety during the long drive, but they also give you the time to relax your body. With good preparation, you can avoid the tension before the trip which otherwise would have added to your existing burden of dealing with adrenal fatigue.

Clean the Clutter

An image of a car's center console with trash all over itIt is said that a cluttered desk, clutters your mind. The key is to be more organized in the days leading to the road trip, be it filing away the paperwork or packing for the trip. Clutter around you would naturally stress you and this would backfire on your health during the road trip. One of the road trip tips would be to dedicate a few extra minutes each day, a week or two ahead of your trip to stay on top of your organization. This would avoid last-minute panic and stress. You would otherwise begin to feel tired even before the road trip.

Have a Co-Pilot

If you have adrenal fatigue or one of its related conditions, and you are the designated driver, one of the road trip tips would be to consider having a co-pilot. Sharing the driving duties with someone would allow you to recharge your body by either taking a quick snooze or just stretching your muscles. It will also prevent any unexpected situations involving panic attacks, adrenal crash or flare-ups. It must be noted that sometimes a continuous vibration of the car may cause an adrenal crash and a co-driver would not only help you to take a break but also drive you to the nearest healthcare facility, should the need arise.


Staying comfortable is another of the road trip tips that you should always remember when going on a long drive. Slow down, take a pillow, use neck support, take a nap, as long as it makes you comfortable. With adrenal fatigue, it is crucial that your comfort is taken into consideration at all times.


An image of a group of smiling people in a car, sharing a beverageOne of the most essential road trip tips is to always hydrate. Even though you may think that drinking a lot of fluids on the road trip may increase your need for pit stops, staying hydrated, however, is very important. It prevents water retention and swelling, helps you to stay alert, boosts digestion and protects you from getting overheated. Your digestive function usually slows down during long periods of sedentary car journeys and drinking water may just help with it.

The amount of water you should ideally drink is about 35 ounces for every four hours of driving. Drink small amounts of fluid at regular intervals rather than all in one go. This will allow continuous hydration of your body.

Food Stops

When you plan your trip, look for places to eat at regular intervals along the route. Be it snacks or food packed from home or having a meal somewhere. So, another of the road trip tips would be to take the time to stop and eat a decent, healthy meal, and stretch your legs. It gives your body a break while helping with any mental stress you have built up along the way. It will also stabilize your blood pressure and blood sugar levels and replenish all the nutrients needed for your body to function optimally.

Take a Break

One of the road trip tips many people forget about is that you need to take regular breaks, whether you are driving, or whether you are a passenger. Taking a break allows you to get out of your vehicle and stretch your legs. With adrenal fatigue, it is crucial to let your body rest. It will not only relieve stress, but also improve your digestion, blood circulation, and mood. It will also prevent leg cramps or developing back pain. Long haul flights and road trips are a primary cause of a condition called deep vein thrombosis. Lack of any movement for a certain length of time leads to the formation of blood clots in your deep veins, which can be fatal. It is vital that you stop the car at a safe place and take a walk at regular intervals. Taking a break would be one of the top road trip tips which would help you manage your adrenal fatigue with ease.

Have a Conversation

Nothing can be more boring than a silent road trip. Having a conversation while driving is another of the road trip tips that, even though looks like common sense, is surprisingly not often carried out. Engaging in a conversation keeps the driver from falling asleep, remain alert and therefore be safe. Depending on the nature of the conversation, we presume that it will be a happy one and not add to the stress. Staying stress-free is important if you have adrenal fatigue and a happy conversation is one way of ensuring that. Listening to music is another way to maintain the stress-free state during road trips. Avoid continuous use of your cell phone as it emits electromagnetic radiation that may contribute towards adrenal fatigue. Of course, you may need it for communication and navigation.

However, in cases of severe adrenal fatigue, you may consider being in quiet solitude, without any conversation or music. Your body can be very sensitive to loud noise and the above tip might just be contra-indicative. Practice adrenal breathing exercise during the journey.


Taking a probiotic is probably one of those road trip tips most people never think about. Given that a sedentary road trip for an extended period tends to slow down your digestion, and you might feel sluggish and may have constipation, it is important to look after your gut health during this time. Probiotic drinks or snacks help with your gut health. They are easily available in stores and are very convenient for road trips. Not only would they normalize your gut, but they also keep you hydrated. Examples of probiotics include kombucha and live-culture yogurt. Avoid those with added sugar and always check the label to ensure that it does not worsen the adrenal fatigue.

Healthy Snacks

An image of a tray with healthy snacksOf all the road trip tips you have ever read would probably recommend you to eat snacks. Snacking is one way of killing boredom during a long road trip and so it is important to make sure that the snack is healthy. A healthy snack would support your adrenal function and keep you going till the end.

Healthy, adrenal-friendly road trip snacking options include:

  • Whole fruits like apples, bananas, peaches.
  • Cherries and berries.
  • Organic eggs, hardboiled.
  • Organic, low fat, low salt beef jerky.
  • Hummus or guacamole with carrots or celery.
  • Rice crackers.
  • Salad rolls.
  • Dried fruit like apricots.

If you feel that you need to have chocolate during your trip, choose dark chocolate and eat a little at a time.

In Addition, Look after Your Hygiene and Be Mindful

Maintain good sanitation in addition to the top ten road trip tips. Keep a roll of paper towels, some wet wipes, and a hand sanitizer in the glove compartment. Hygiene is important if you have adrenal fatigue. There is a need to avoid infection and water-borne problems.

It might look obvious, but it is worth being mindful about the stressors that can cause an adrenal crash. These include overwork, dehydration, infections, getting too little sleep, your diet, drinking too much coffee, and the long road trip.

What Is an Adrenal Crash Why Does It Happen, and What Can Be Done about It?

NEM CircuitAdrenal fatigue is a condition whereby your adrenal glands, during the first stages of the condition, supply constant or ever-increasing amounts of cortisol in response to a stressor. The stressor could be the result of psychological or physical issues ranging from constant work-related stress, an injury due to an accident, or exposure to air pollution. This stressor is identified by the hypothalamus in the brain which is one of the components of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. Chemical messengers are sent from one triad component to the next resulting in increased cortisol production in the adrenals. This automatic process is designed to help your body deal with stress and is known as the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response.

The NEM response results in a cascading, albeit temporary, effect throughout your whole body, and is felt in just about all body systems. It sees an increase in heart rate, affects your immune and inflammatory responses, has an effect on hormone production, and also slows down your digestive system. Once the stressor is removed, however, all systems return to functioning normally.

Continuous stress, however, keeps the HPA axis, in a steady active state. Prolonged, increased cortisol production becomes problematic and various symptoms arise that makes you feel unwell. For example, you may encounter a hormonal imbalance that could affect different areas in your body, such as thyroid function, both male and female sexuality, and cause digestive and inflammatory issues, amongst many others.

At some point, your adrenals start wearing out because they reach a stage where they are unable to keep up with the demand for cortisol. Your adrenals may now start producing less cortisol which means it is unable to deal with any kind of stress in the future. Conditions commonly associated with adrenal fatigue include:

    An image of two kidneys with a stethoscope  on the adrenal glands

  • Irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, or depression.
  • Issues with sleeping.
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Thyroid issues.
  • Hair loss, brittle hair, brittle nails, dry skin, and skin conditions like eczema.
  • Fatigue.
  • Allergies or food sensitivities.
  • Lowered libido in men and women.
  • Infertility in men and women.
  • Increased symptoms of PMS or menstrual cycle issues.
  • Food cravings.
  • Weight issues.
  • Temperature intolerances.
  • Constipation and other digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Dizziness.
  • Mental fatigue.
  • Certain types of cancer.
  • Various inflammatory response conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis.

An adrenal crash happens when any of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue suddenly intensifies and may include a sudden yet drastic decrease in your energy levels, sudden drop in blood sugar levels, sudden mood changes, a sudden increase in brain fog and dizziness, the sudden onset of digestive issues, etc.

By considering our road trip tips before heading out on the road, you can give your adrenals some much-needed support and avoid a sudden adrenal crash.

In Closing

Even though the focus of this discussion and the road trip tips mentioned may be beneficial to those with adrenal fatigue, they are of use to someone who is in peak condition as well. They are designed to make your trip as stress-free as possible while at the same time could also be considered safety measures to get you to your destination safely.

© Copyright 2021 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam's Key Question

There are many causes of an adrenal crash. A long road trip may be a contributing factor. By preparing beforehand using these road trip tips you may help support adrenal function and help address certain of the possible issues a long journey may cause.

© Copyright 2001-2021 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
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