How To Recover From Extreme Burnout (Adrenal Fatigue, Exhaustion) (2023)

Are you currently experiencing extreme burnout? Have you been googling things like “adrenal fatigue”, “how to rest”, and “extreme tiredness”?

Whether you’re experiencing burnout from a place of workaholism-induced fatigue, situational depression, or a chronic (i.e. multi-year) lack of rest, this article will go into the twelve things that you can do to recover from your burnout faster than you thought possible.

My Extreme Burnout Experience

For the first three years of starting up my business, I barely took a day off. And I really mean barely. Even saying barely feels generous.

My best guess is that within my first three years of writing online, I may have had a total of ten days where I actually did zero work.

How To Recover From Extreme Burnout (Adrenal Fatigue, Exhaustion) (1)

First year of my business. Here I am working on my laptop while on vacation.

And while I feel so grateful to have the kind of job where I wouldn’t want to take many days off from work, and a job where the time flexibility is so great that I am able to chip away at it on a daily basis, ultimately I am not a robot. Eventually my plans of constant productivity came crashing down around me.

Throughout the majority of my third year in business I had a sense of feeling tired but also wired. It felt like my body wanted to take a ten hour sleep but I couldn’t because I had just consumed six cups of coffee. Which was strange because I don’t drink tea, coffee, or caffeine in any form. Nevertheless, this underlying message from my cells screaming out for rest went unheeded.

Then, one day, my body demanded that I pay attention…

It was a Wednesday morning that I woke up from an unusually long sleep (a full eight hours – gasp!) still feeling exhausted.

My body felt heavy… so heavy that I felt like I had woken up three times heavier than I had been when I went to sleep.

My brain felt foggy and exhausted. Stringing a complete sentence together was challenging.

The idea of getting out of bed to make myself breakfast felt impossible.

I felt so lifeless that I thought about calling an ambulance. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I felt emergency-room tired.

I called up one of my closest friends who I knew had experienced multiple forms of extreme burnout and fatigue over the previous years and asked her opinion of what was happening to me.

Her advice was a blur… but I remember her saying things like “adrenal fatigue”, “burnout”, and “you’re probably going to have to become your own doctor over the next few months.”

She was right. Regardless of what you label this burnout phase as (adrenal fatigue, burnout, exhaustion, etc.), I became my own doctor for the following couple of months and earned my way back to health.

Over the following two weeks I subjected myself to a battery of tests from doctors, naturopaths, and other healers… and nothing showed up. My blood work was pristine. I didn’t have mono. I wasn’t depressed. I was just… exhausted.

The best advice that I got from my doctor was to take some time off for a while. And while rest and relaxation is a sound solution for most ailments, I knew that I wanted to do more to be proactive in my recovery.

Through my rounds of experimentation I tried supplements, lifestyle changes, and a bunch of fringe hippy stuff. Throughout it all, I noticed what moved the needle for me and what didn’t.

Without further ado, here are the twelve highest leverage things that I did to recover from my bout of extreme burnout.

12 Steps To Fully Recover From Extreme Burnout Or Fatigue

How To Recover From Extreme Burnout (Adrenal Fatigue, Exhaustion) (2)

I saw two naturopaths and one doctor that told me that it would likely take me anywhere from 6-12 months to fully recover from my state of fatigue. By adhering to the following protocol, I noticed a significant uptick in my energy levels within 2-3 weeks, and felt almost 100% in under two months.

1. Decide to make your health your number one priority

I believe that illnesses are what happen to our bodies when we’ve been ignoring their messages for too long.

(Video) Burn Out to Brilliance. Recovery from Chronic Fatigue | Linda Jones | TEDxBirminghamCityUniversity

When you reach a point of extreme burnout, you’re there because you’ve been overriding your body’s message to slow down and rest for too long. It sees no other way than to stop you dead in your tracks andmake you listen.

It is imperative that you make the conscious decision that you are going to listen to your body, and make your health your number one priority from now on. Not just until you feel a bit better so that you can get back to your ‘normal’ life… but literally from now on.

This is a wake up call. It’s time for you to create some fundamental shifts in your life that will see you honouring your health more on a daily basis. No more taking your health for granted… it’s time for a real change.

2. Take an actual break to reset your nervous system

There are likely a handful of things in your life that you’ve been engaging in that have been draining your metaphorical batteries for a while now. In order to earn your way back to a clean bill of health, you must begin by taking a proper break from the things that have been exhausting you.

Take a two week break from work. Start saying no to social events that drain you. Pass off your least favourite responsibilities to someone else for a while.

Yes, people will be disappointed with you. But your health comes first. Full stop.

3. Reach out for help

If you’ve reached a place of full on burnout, it’s highly likely that you’ve been shouldering too much for a long time.

Do you find it difficult to ask for help? Do you feel like no one has your back? Do you live by the moniker ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself’?

Stop trying to do life on your own.

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Ask your friends for support. Tell your family members or close confidants that you’re struggling.

Let people in. There is probably a flood of people who would want to help you with your situation, if they only knew how much you needed their help.

We are a social species. We need each other to thrive. You are no exception.

Reach out to a handful of people and ask for their help. Start now.

4. Build a team of healers to help you on your journey

It took more than one factor to get you to this place of burnout, and it’s likely going to take more than one form of treatment to help you get better.

On my personal journey, I visited a medical doctor, two naturopaths, a registered massage therapist, an acupuncturist, an energy healer, and a therapist. I made healing my full time job… and I knew that having a dedicated team of healers around me would expedite my process.

While I’m not guaranteeing you’ll need more than a simple visit to your doctor to get the clarity that you’re looking for, it never hurts to get multiple opinions and tests done, just to rule out various health factors.

Healing your physical body from extreme burnout is a war of attrition, not a war of annihilation. Put in another way, lots of little things are going to add up to helping you to heal, more likely than it is that you’ll find one magic bullet to heal you right away (as nice as that would be).

So enlist help. Yes, friends and family… but also enlist the aid of people who help others heal professionally.

5. Regularly engage in slow, gentle forms of exercise

The health benefits of exercise are innumerable… but when you’re in a phase of extreme burnout it can be challenging to get out of bed, let alone get yourself to the gym to have a personal trainer kick your butt around the room for a full hour.

When it comes to getting your blood flowing during your burnout recovery, ease is the name of the game.

How To Recover From Extreme Burnout (Adrenal Fatigue, Exhaustion) (4)

Mmmm… you might want to try something more relaxing than this.

(Video) Reiki to Boost the Recovery Process from Adrenal Fatigue & Burnout | Prolonged Stress Exposure

Engage in exercise for short periods of time, without pushing yourself too hard.

Go for slow walks away from traffic noise. Stretch for a few minutes on the ground in your living room. Go for a walk in the forest with a friend. Practice yoga from home. Dance around your home to a song that you like. Try one of these three lazy workouts.

If you find yourself even more tired the day after your workout, you may have been pushing a bit too hard. Whatever form of exercise you engage in, make sure you aren’t overly exerting yourself.

6. Make room for play and laughter in your life

Laughter is like an instant vacation.

If you’re chronically waking up and barely able to function, life can seem pretty unmanageable and certainly not very funny.

But it’s important to do whatever you can to prioritize laughter and play in your life.

Watch stand up comedy (live, or online).Invite your most hilarious friends over for breakfast. Go see professional improvisational comics do their thing.

Whatever it is that tends to tickle your funny bone, put it on your calendar and make it happen.

7. Question and re-prioritize your values

Whatever millions of little decisions that led you to your particular form of burnout, the root cause of you having gotten there is most likely, at least in part, screwy values.

As an example, if you value financial gain over your health, sooner or later it’s going to bite you on the ass.

Take a moment to sit with the question “What have I been valuing that has led me to this place of extreme burnout?”

If you want to read more on the topic of prioritizing healthy values for your life, I strongly recommend reading The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson. The title makes it sound like a cutesy pop-psychology book, but really it’s just an epic primer on discovering and prioritizing durable, healthy core values.

8. Eat small meals frequently to avoid sugar spikes

During your burnout recovery, you want to ensure that you’re being as gentle with your blood sugar levels as possible.

The worst thing you could do is consume two or three massive, overly processed meals per day. The best thing you can do is eat four to six small, nutrient dense meals per day. More on this in the next two points.

9. Eat these five foods more often

On top of a generally healthy, nutrient-dense palate of foods, throughout my research I found a handful of foods that contributed to burnout recovery the best.

– Pasteur raised egg yolks

Organic, grass-fed bone broth

– Avocado / organic avocado oil

Organic pumpkin seeds

Flax seeds / flax seed oil

Buy organic whenever possible (for the above five foods, and what you eat in general).

And for an example of what an overall healthy meal plan looks like, check out my article The Better Sex Diet: Exactly What I Eat Every Day.

10. Avoid processed sugar, caffeine, and any other stimulants or drugs

Again, in line with taking it easy on your blood sugar levels, you want to ensure that you’re avoiding all refined sugar, caffeine, and any other stimulants or drugs. No alcohol, smoking, or junk food.

This might sound challenging to you, but it’s necessary. In terms of your burnout recovery, there’s more flexibility with sugar than there is with drugs, alcohol, and caffeine… but truly do your best to avoid all of the above, especially during the first 2-4 weeks of your recovery.

(Video) 7 Home DIY Tests for Adrenal Fatigue and STRESS

If you find yourself having a craving for junk food, just drink a litre of lemon water, eat some coconut oil and/or cashew butter, and take a nap. Believe me, your body will be much happier with you.

11. Supplement like a beast

The first thing that I started doing when I felt my burnout/adrenal fatigue/exhaustion creep up on me was I started researching all of the supplements that I could start downing on the daily in order to recover more efficiently.

While I don’t believe in any magic bullet or overnight quick fixes, I do believe in pumping my body full of vital nutrients that aid in speedy recovery.

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Through my research, these ten things ended up being the most significant for me. I took most, if not all, of them on a daily basis for the first 4-6 weeks of recovery.


Holy basil tincture

Magnesium bisglycinate(take 450-600 mg per day)

Licorice root extract

Liposomal glutathione


Liposomal vitamin C

B vitamin complex

Flax seed oil

Omega 3 + DHA

Caffeine free electrolyte tablets

A high quality, organic greens powder

And, much more infrequently (maybe 3-5 times per month), when my cortisol levels were all out of whack and I was having trouble passing out, I would take Brain Evolve before bedtime to help me sleep.

12. Regularly do nothing

As much as I benefitted from getting massages, getting blood work done with my doctor, and turning into a human pin cushion at my acupuncturists office, there were many days where the best thing that I could do for myself was to stay home and do nothing.

For the type-A overachievers out there, doing ‘nothing’ might seem like too nebulous of a concept. So here are some options as to what doing nothing could look like.

– Sit in front of the ocean/a large body of water and just look at it

– Lie on your back on the ground and just breathe

– Take a nap whenever you feel called to nap

– Take a long, luxurious epsom salt bath

(Video) What To Do If You Have Adrenal Fatigue – Dr. Berg Shows Adrenal Fatigue Exercise

– Go to bed early, and stay asleep for as long as you’re able to

Remember… any kind of extreme burnout phase is meant to be a wake up call.

If you’re feeling this tired, then what is it in your life that needs to change? For me, it meant less screen time, only putting out articles that I deeply believed in, and spending more time investing in my rest and self-care. For you, it could be something completely different.

Get in the habit of regularly checking in with your body and asking it what it needs from you. Your body is wise. It has a lot more answers for you than you might think.

Start By Doing These 3 Things

So… twelve things might seem overwhelming if you’re in the super early stages of your burnout.

I would recommend starting with the tips that have the most bleed-over effect into other areas of your life. Namely, tips #1, 3, 4, and 12.

To re-cap:

1. Decide, today, that your health is your new #1 priority above all else.

2. Reach out for help to friends and family.

3. Build a team of helpers and professional healers to help you along in your journey.

4. Regularly do nothing. Simply rest.

Recommended Products For Healing Extreme Burnout

Here are some additional products and resources to help you along in your journey (these are all things that helped me through my most extreme burnout phase).

– Supplements:Ashwagandha, holy basil tincture, magnesium bisgylcinate, licorice root, zinc, vitamin B complex, omega 3 + DHA, electrolyte tablets, a high quality greens powder,liposomal vitamin C and liposomal glutathione

– Book:Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome

Dedicated to your success,


Ps. If you enjoyed this article, you might also benefit from reading:

How To Manage Stress (Or How I Weathered My Shit Storm Of A Year)

All Of Your Suffering Was Worth It

21 Of The Best Self Care Practices Ever

How To Overcome Depression Naturally

The Better Sex Diet: Exactly What I Eat Every Day

3 Crazy Effective Workouts For Lazy People (and/or burned out people!)

(Video) How To Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally ⏐ 4 Easy Tips To Quickly Overcome Adrenal Fatigue



How long does it take to recover from adrenal burnout? ›

Recovery from adrenal fatigue can take anywhere from 3 months to 3 years. Each individual has a unique set of symptoms and an individual response to treatment. The recovery process depends upon the stage and severity of the adrenal exhaustion.

Can you recover from adrenal burnout? ›

Most people with adrenal fatigue will recover quite quickly but severe symptoms may take some months to recover, or even longer. The time for recovery will vary enormously from person to person and will also depend on the cause of stress and the severity of symptoms.

What is the fastest way to cure adrenal fatigue? ›

How is adrenal fatigue treated? Your alternative health practitioner may treat adrenal fatigue by recommending that you quit alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and cigarettes, eat certain foods, exercise more and get more sleep. All of this advice should make you feel better.

How do you fix adrenal burnout? ›

Supporters of adrenal fatigue may advise you to improve your lifestyle by giving up smoking, alcohol, and drugs. Starting an exercise program, eating healthy foods, and following a daily routine for sleeping and waking will almost always make you feel better, no matter what the medical diagnosis.

What is Stage 4 adrenal burnout? ›

Stage 4 (Burnout/Crash)

Our adrenal glands have ceased to function, and little can be done to restore our bodies homeostasis. During the final stage of burnout and individual can suffer from lack of sex drive, depression, restlessness, anxiety and little to no interest in surroundings.

What does adrenal burnout feel like? ›

It is a lay term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems.

How do I know I am healing from adrenal fatigue? ›

Fatigue reduces, palpitation frequently dissipates, and anxiety attack diminishes. Blood pressure starts to stabilize, brain fog starts to dissipate, and functional sleep returns. There might be mini-crashes and setbacks from time to time that last a few days.

What happens if you don't fix adrenal fatigue? ›

The adrenal fatigue theory suggests that prolonged exposure to stress could drain the adrenals leading to a low cortisol state. The adrenal depletion would cause brain fog, low energy, depressive mood, salt and sweet cravings, lightheadedness, and other vague symptoms.

What is alternative medicine for adrenal burnout? ›

Three herbal supplements that are very effective in assisting adrenal fatigue are rhodiola, ashwagandha, and licorice. These herbs are classified as adaptogens, which means they have been shown to naturally balance and restore the body.

What is the best vitamin for adrenal fatigue? ›

Specifically, vitamins such as magnesium, B and C can help prevent adrenal fatigue. Magnesium aids in calming and supporting the nervous system, improving your quality of sleep, reducing stress levels, and boosting energy production.

What vitamins fix adrenal fatigue? ›

Natural supplements and herbs for adrenal support
  • Vitamin C: The adrenal glands require Vitamin C to produce stress hormones and maintain their balance. ...
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): ...
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): ...
  • Vitamin E: ...
  • Calcium: ...
  • Magnesium: ...
  • Trace minerals: ...
  • Astragalus root.
Nov 15, 2022

What is the root cause of adrenal fatigue? ›

Adrenal fatigue is thought to occur when the adrenals have been overworked to a degree that they can no longer secrete levels of cortisol that are adequate for optimal function. Potential stressors include environmental and dietary influences, as well as anxiety and emotional stresses.

How do you reverse the signs and symptoms of adrenal crisis? ›

Treatment. In adrenal crisis, an intravenous or intramuscular injection of hydrocortisone (an injectable corticosteroid) must be given immediately. Supportive treatment of low blood pressure with intravenous fluids is usually necessary. Hospitalization is required for adequate treatment and monitoring.

What is Stage 3 adrenal exhaustion? ›

Stage 3: High Adrenal Fatigue

In this crash stage, the adrenals fail to meet the needs and can no longer produce cortisol. Therefore, cortisol level is low all day and all night. Chronic fatigue and inability to perform routine daily activities or work-related duties will occur.

What blood test for adrenal burnout? ›

ACTH Stimulation Test This is the most specific test for diagnosing adrenal insufficiency. Blood cortisol levels are measured before and after a synthetic form of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), a hormone secreted from the anterior pituitary, is given by injection.

How long do adrenal crashes last? ›

Stage 3D Adrenal Fatigue (Near Failure)
Adrenal Fatigue StageInterval Between Level 1 and 2 CrashesInterval Between Level 3,4,5 Crashes
2 more rows

What foods should you avoid if you have adrenal fatigue? ›

Eat at regular intervals to avoid straining your adrenal glands and to keep your blood sugar stable. Avoid processed, fatty, or sugary foods, and instead focus on organic, whole foods.

How long does it take to recover from Stage 4 adrenal fatigue? ›

Full recovery from HPA Dysfunction or adrenal fatigue can take anywhere from three months to two years, depending on the severity and how long the condition has existed. Your adrenals are stressed the most by emotional stress, followed by diet, and, finally, by the hidden stressors I listed earlier.

Does adrenal fatigue get worse before it gets better? ›

Symptoms of an adrenal fatigue crash are similar to those of AFS, such as fatigue, brain fog, mood changes, hypoglycemia, and poor digestion. The difference is that these symptoms come on more intensely during the Crash Phase, and get better after the Recovery Phase.

Can adrenal fatigue be debilitating? ›

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is a collection of non-specific yet often debilitating adrenal dysfunction symptoms. It is not a myth but rather an increasingly common and often debilitating condition.

Why doctors don t believe in adrenal fatigue? ›

Because test results do not technically meet man-made standards, Adrenal Fatigue as a diagnosis is rejected.

Can adrenal fatigue last for years? ›

As already stated, it can take one to two years to recover from adrenal fatigue. It may even take longer for some people. You must be gentle with yourself.

What is the best tea for adrenal fatigue? ›

Ginger tea, a tea for adrenal fatigue hailing from Asia, has gained popularity worldwide. And with good reason. This tea has many positive health impacts and is particularly known for its calming properties that could help lower stress levels.

What foods help adrenal fatigue? ›

Some foods to eat on the adrenal fatigue diet include:
  • protein sources, like lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, and legumes.
  • leafy greens and colorful vegetables.
  • whole grains.
  • relatively low-sugar fruits.
  • sea salt in moderation.
  • healthy fats like olive oil and avocado.

Is adrenal fatigue the same as burnout? ›

The symptoms are likewise similar. In some cases at least, the relationship between adrenal fatigue and burnout may actually constitute a progression over time from burnout to adrenal fatigue. However, burnout may occur without the feeling of stress as well. Some people mat not develop stress as they become burned out.

What are the signs of recovery from adrenal fatigue? ›

Fatigue reduces, palpitation frequently dissipates, and anxiety attack diminishes. Blood pressure starts to stabilize, brain fog starts to dissipate, and functional sleep returns. There might be mini-crashes and setbacks from time to time that last a few days.

How long does it take for cortisol levels to return to normal after stress? ›

According to Dr Lee, it can take three to four hours for your cortisol levels to return to normal after a stress response (like an argument or high-stakes meeting), but Kirkpatrick notes if your levels have been high for some time, it can take up to six months to balance them out.

How long does adrenal response last? ›

Side effects may include sweating as a reaction to stress, feeling lightheaded due to changes in blood and oxygen supply, and a change in temperature as a result of the blood redirection. The effects of adrenaline on the body can last for up to 1 hour after an adrenaline rush.

What not to do with adrenal fatigue? ›

Foods/Beverages to Avoid
  1. Added sugar, which can increase inflammation and exacerbate adrenal fatigue symptoms.
  2. White flour, which is quickly converted to sugar and can also increase inflammation.
  3. Caffeine- and alcohol-containing beverages, which can increase cortisol production and make symptoms worse.
Feb 13, 2020

What is Stage 3 adrenal fatigue? ›

Stage 3: High Adrenal Fatigue

In this crash stage, the adrenals fail to meet the needs and can no longer produce cortisol. Therefore, cortisol level is low all day and all night. Chronic fatigue and inability to perform routine daily activities or work-related duties will occur.

What does a cortisol dump feel like? ›

As the body's primary stress hormone, cortisol surges when we perceive danger, and causes all the symptoms we associate with “fight or flight”—increased blood pressure and heart rate, muscle tension, and the digestive system slamming to a halt, resulting in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

How do you recover from cortisol burnout? ›

15 Steps to Combat Adrenal Fatigue
  1. Eat Meal Within an Hour After Waking. ...
  2. Skip Processed Foods. ...
  3. Say No to High Impact Exercise. ...
  4. Say Yes to Fresh Air. ...
  5. Take B Vitamins. ...
  6. Get Lots of Sleep. ...
  7. Include Protein. ...
  8. No Caffeine.
Apr 20, 2021

What does overproduction of cortisol feel like? ›

Too much cortisol can cause some of the hallmark signs of Cushing syndrome — a fatty hump between your shoulders, a rounded face, and pink or purple stretch marks on your skin. Cushing syndrome can also result in high blood pressure, bone loss and, on occasion, type 2 diabetes.

What causes adrenal fatigue to flare up? ›

Adrenal fatigue is thought to occur when the adrenals have been overworked to a degree that they can no longer secrete levels of cortisol that are adequate for optimal function. Potential stressors include environmental and dietary influences, as well as anxiety and emotional stresses.

How do you recover from adrenaline dump? ›

The easiest way to help curb the dump is breathing. Slow, deep breaths help calm your heart and body down. It's not full proof but is a good start. Next, make sure to stay hydrated.


1. How to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue | Dr. Josh Axe
(Dr. Josh Axe)
2. What is the Meaning of Burnout | How to Recover From Burnout Symptoms
3. Ask The Expert -Truth About Adrenal Fatigue
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4. Dr.Berg Unfolds the Biggest Symptom of Adrenal Fatigue
(Dr. Eric Berg DC)
5. The Difference between Adrenal Crisis and Adrenal Fatigue
(Barrow Neurological Institute)
6. Adrenal Fatigue - 100% Recovered!
(MJ Gordon)
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