Burnout is sneaky. It slowly drains you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Typically, problems that develop over a long time are multifaceted and difficult to crack.
How to recover from burnout is one of those problems.
Some hit rock bottom with an anxiety attack while others experience scary health issues. For me, it was the latter.
My goal with this article is to help men (or concerned partners) learn how to identify the source and recover from job burnout naturally. It’s a cautionary tale of workaholism, sleep deprivation, and burnout at age 29, when I discovered that I had testosterone levels of a 70-year-old man.
The scariest part? It wasn’t obvious. I was a normal guy with a normal job.
Now that my four-year burnout recovery timeline is over, my testosterone has increased fourfold and I feel like I’m in high school again. Here’s how it can happen to a seemingly healthy guy with a pretty typical schedule.
how to recover from job burnout
In 2017, I hit rock bottom on the burnout scale. I was desperate to know how to recover from burnout. It was all hands on deck.
Four years later, my health, vitality, energy, and happiness were at an all-time high. The scary thing is that I never thought of myself as “burned out.”
I felt that my daily life was pretty typical. Waking up at 5 AM, work out, eat breakfast, spend the day driving in my car for my sales job, have lunch and dinner with customers, drive back home, and fall asleep by midnight.
Nothing too out of the ordinary, right? When you’re on the path to burnout, you think you can ride the adrenaline train for years longer. You think, “I’ll pump the brakes once I get that promotion.”
In retrospect, I was clearly heading toward burnout, and if you’re reading this, chances are you (or a loved one) are too.
My Burnout Recovery Timeline
This article is a guide for men on how to recover from burnout naturally. However, while we have different hormones, it still offers useful strategies and advice for women.
We’ll discuss things like the signs, symptoms, stages of burnout, and a burnout syndrome test. Most importantly, I’ll share my burnout story and how I recovered from burnout to become stronger than ever.
After all, it’s not just meditating and self-care, your body and brain are injured. There are likely medical things you need to heal and fully recover from burnout.
And few people talk about that! Many people think burnout is woo-woo and for folks with anxiety problems. That couldn’t be further from the truth because burnout can manifest itself not just emotionally, but also physically.
If you’re a male suffering from job burnout, my story, the health issues I had to address, and what I did to recover will help you too. But, relax and be patient, because you’re not going to recover from burnout in 30 days.
The following are the most effective strategies to shorten your burnout recovery timeline.
The Most Effective Burnout Recovery Strategies
As a preview, the following three things I did make a huge difference:
1. I became motivated to change.
When the doctor told me my testosterone levels were that of a 70-year-old man at age 29, enough was enough.
2. I decided to recover from burnout the right way.
Be very careful of medical interventions that promise a fast recovery from burnout. Your lifestyle burns you out. All you need to overcome it is a better lifestyle. Plus, it’s free.
3. I eliminated a major source of stress.
Since I had a full-time job and a busy side hustle, I ended up quitting one job. This might seem extreme, but it worked for me when I decided nothing was more important than my health.
I realized I was burned out in May of 2017. Now, in May of 2021, I have not only overcome burnout, but I have recovered stronger than before.
My Burnout Recovery Results
You might wonder how I know I have recovered fully and stronger. This required way more than journaling. As an engineer, I had to track the data.
Job burnout is unique for everyone, but in my case, and the case of all the guys I talk to about this, job burnout is connected to sleep deprivation.
I tracked my recovery using testosterone levels and sleep quality. Here are my results from rock bottom at age 29 in May 2017 to fully recovered in May 2021 at age 33.
Total Testosterone Improvement
My total testosterone increased from 290 ng/dL (typical at age 70) to 1009 ng/dL (typical at age 17)
Sleep Quality Improvement
My highest sleep score (Pillow App) in May of 2017 and 2021 went from 74% to 94% respectively.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Burnout
Honestly, the recovery took less than 4 years but I didn’t check the data until recently. My gut feeling is that you can get out of a bad burnout cycle in around 2-3 years.
I accomplished this naturally, developing lifestyle habits that will benefit me for the rest of my life.
I am so thankful that I stopped depriving myself of sleep and working myself into the ground. Your health is your greatest wealth, and it feels good to have a grip on mine again.
Many people are on the same path that I was on, or even further down the road, and I hope my story and this guide on how to recover from burnout change their trajectory.
Burnout Signs and Symptoms
What Is Burnout?
Simply put, burnout is work-induced depression.
It’s become so prevalent, that the World Health Organization added burnout syndrome to their list of recognized diseases.
They define burnout as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
According to medical experts, burnout syndrome is characterized by exhaustion, feelings of detachment, and reduced satisfaction in performance.
Those are a few of the mental and emotional side-effects. But, according to this statement from the Association for Psychological Science, burnout has lasting physical effects:
“It’s a mistake to assume that burnout is merely an emotional response to long hours or a challenging job. Rather, mounting scientific evidence shows that burnout takes a profound physical toll that cascades well beyond our professional lives. Using cutting-edge techniques, integrative research teams are demonstrating that burnout is not just a state of mind, but a condition that leaves its mark on the brain as well as the body.”
For a more detailed definition of burnout and preventative strategies, I found this article about Burnout in Healthcare Workers informative.
Burnout Signs and Symptoms
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably been overworked and overstressed for a year or more and you’re feeling the hallmark signs and symptoms of job burnout:
- Low energy
- Loss of enthusiasm
- No work-life balance
There’s one word that best describes what burnout feels like:
There are physical, mental, and emotional signs and symptoms. Many overlap with those of depression.
1. You’re Physically Exhausted
You feel tired multiple times throughout the day and feel like you have insomnia. It’s having an impact on your productivity and performance so you fight back with stimulants (aka coffee… or harder substances).
Your job stress seems to cause headaches, body aches, stomachaches, chest pain, muscle tension, loss of appetite, or dizziness.
You might be slipping into more of a sedentary lifestyle with bad habits like drugs, alcohol, high sugar intake, or overeating.
2. You’re Mentally Exhausted
You never accomplish enough on your daily to-do list. Work feels robotic since you lack the creativity and problem-solving ability that you used to thrive on.
Your forgetfulness is at an all-time high and it’s very difficult to concentrate. Furthermore, new projects are not exciting. They are a new source of stress and anxiety.
3. You’re Emotionally Exhausted
You’re easily overwhelmed and more pessimistic and moody than ever before. Often your work, company, and co-workers frustrate you.
You no longer have time for hobbies or social engagements because when you’re not busy at work you only want alone time. Even after a vacation, you return feeling the same.
How To Identify Job Burnout
There are reliable burnout questionnaires that can help you identify burnout.
We’ll cover those too, but first, just take a moment and think.
Forget about Google and think about your personality and behavior during your whole life leading up to feeling burned out.
1. Think About Your Personality
When I did this activity, it was pretty clear what personality traits were contributing to burnout.
I have always been a busy-bee workaholic and a people pleaser who takes on too much responsibility. I realized that even as a young boy, I showed signs of workaholism.
I got that trait from my grandpa who, instead of relaxing at the cabin on the weekend, would produce work — cleaning engines in the garage, picking weeds in the garden, straightening the dock, and blowing leaves off of the property.
Guess who was always the first to help him? Me. This continued into college. I studied hard for my engineering degree but managed my time obsessively.
I wanted to have it all: the good grades, the nights out, and even time for fishing. I embodied the “work hard, play hard” mindset and took it to a whole new, unhealthy level.
Out of college, I worked at two corporations as a materials engineer.
My same obsessiveness and perfectionism came out at work. Naturally, my to-do list grew and my 40-hour work weeks started creeping up towards 70 hours.
Since it was paying off, I maintained my workouts and my social schedule. Without noticing, I began to sleep less and less.
This is when I transitioned from the “honeymooner” to the “early stress” phase of burnout.
2. Know What Stage of Burnout You’re In
There are 5 stages of burnout and they happen over years, not months.
You’re new to a position, satisfied with your work, and have plenty of energy to take on responsibility. You experience stress and handle it gracefully.
2. Early Stress
You are starting to get worn out and optimism fades, but only on bad days. Your workload has increased, but when you’re done at the office you check out.
3. Chronic Stress
Now the stress is getting to you and more days are ‘bad days.’
You’re regularly exhausted and you adjust life to cope. This means more caffeine, a poor diet, you’re more sedentary, and you have less social time with friends and family.
At this stage, you’re suffering almost all of the symptoms daily and the stress is causing physical pain.
You can’t remember the last time you really felt energized and alive.
5. Habitual Burnout
When burnout and depression take over your life. At this stage, clinical intervention is best because you’re sad and depressed.
For details on each phase and common symptoms, read this narrative review.
This is especially helpful if you’re unsure what stage you’re in. It’s good to know and will give you hints on how to recover from burnout.
3. What’s Causing You To Burn Out?
Since burnout happens gradually, it’s hard to pinpoint the start or the exact cause. For many, it’s that grind-grind-grind attitude or a strong desire to prove yourself.
The main culprits: a heavy workload and a lack of work-life balance.
Remember when I said that I am a perfectionist? Part of this is because I care a lot about my reputation.
If I claim to be a fisherman, or a health coach, or a high-performing salesman, I feel compelled to demonstrate a high level of expertise. Often work would consume my mind, my day, and even my dreams at night.
Things that I used to value more than anything, like social outings and fishing, took the back seat because I was working like a dog.
On top of all of this, I added a side gig (now a full-time job) as an online health coach through Team Beachbody to help myself and others stay accountable to fitness.
I was a walking version of the Benjamin Franklin quote, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”
With my increased workload, my alarm clock was set for 6 hours of sleep. I had to get up, work out, and work the side job before starting my day job. Usually, the early morning work in my coaching job continued throughout the weekend.
The hours would fly by before I would realize that I hadn’t eaten anything all day. By nighttime, there was no energy left to socialize.
Week after week, my then-fiancée-now-wife, Alex, would ask if we should have dinner with friends that night. I don’t know how many times I said, “no, let’s stay in,” before she stopped asking.
This should have been my first red flag.
Still, I let it slide. The hours continued to pay off in the areas I monitored. The extra hours invested in my career boosted my bank account and my reputation at both jobs.
Although the results never slowed down, my health did. That was the area that I was not monitoring well.
I didn’t know yet (it took 4 years to haunt me), but adding this extra job is what caused me to burn out. Excelling in two jobs as a perfectionist was too big of an ask.
While there are likely many contributing factors, try to nail down one or two major life changes that caused you to burn out.
This is critical information for understanding how to recover from burnout.
4. What Symptoms Are You Experiencing?
If you’re burned out, there’s a 100% chance that you’re experiencing chronic stress. But, that stress manifests in different ways.
Also, 9 out of 10 potentially burned-out dudes I talk to are either massively sleep-deprived (with months of “sleep debt”) or medicating with caffeine to feel alive.
Is that you? If so, write down all the ways burnout is making you feel like crap. On the outside, I was a very fit, thriving 29-year-old. In reality, I was chronically stressed, dangerously sleep-deprived, and officially burned out.
Had I not been exercising daily, eating a clean and well-balanced diet, and in tune with my body for the prior three years, I may have written off my rapid health decline as aging or slowing metabolism.
However, I knew something was seriously off. I had three main symptoms that tipped me off.
Symptom #1: Unmanageable Fatigue
Every morning when I woke up, I never felt well-rested. Before my workout, I’d drink a pre-workout energy supplement.
Between that and my workout, I could get through a couple of hours in the morning. Then I would hit the road for a customer visit and stop at the first Starbucks on my route.
Before an important customer meeting or presentation, I would drink 5-hour energy to get in the zone. Multiple times in the afternoon, I would drink coffee.
More often than not, the coffee did nothing. I was behind the wheel for up to 12 hours a day for my job, so this was scary.
When coffee failed, I had to pull over (usually at a gas station) and take a 15-20 minute power nap in the front seat of my car. I did this too many times to count. A couple of times a week, for years.
Symptom #2: Bizarre Allergic Reactions
I started having bizarre allergic reactions, so I began journaling about my health. It was strange. I would wake up 3-4 times a week with tingly and inflamed lips, sometimes an eyelid, which eventually went away after some time.
I journaled every night and morning, tracking sleep location, food/drink consumed that day, where that food was cooked… everything.
I was meticulous and I experimented with gluten-free and dairy-free diets in hope of sleeping better and not having puffy lips.
After over a year of journaling, nothing made a difference and there were no patterns to my episodes.
Symptom #3: Physically Sick Due to Work
As I mentioned earlier, even my dreams were focused on work.
When I wasn’t working, I was thinking about it, and in hindsight, it was controlling my life.
I started getting stomachaches and feeling physically sick when something wasn’t perfect in my job, even things out of my control like delayed shipping or a price increase.
I was in too deep and my sleep-deprived self wasn’t able to handle these stressors.
It was helpful to identify these strange and bothersome symptoms because they were something I could monitor while I recovered from burnout.
5. Take A Burnout Syndrome Test
At this point, you probably already know whether or not you’re burned out. I took all the burnout quizzes and tests available online and I failed them all with flying colors!
I guess you could say I was even a perfectionist about burning out.
The best questionnaire I found was on Tim Ferriss’s blog within another eye-opening and cautionary burnout story you should read.
Best Burnout Syndrome Questionnaire
1. Do I feel guilty or anxious when I’m not working?
2. Have I stopped playing with my friends?
3. Do all of my daily activities revolve around building a more successful career?
4. Am I always sleeping fewer than eight hours per night?
5. Am I consuming stimulants multiple times per day to hide my exhaustion?
6. Do I sit still and stare at screens for most of my waking hours?
7. Do I interact with people primarily through screens?
8. Am I indoors all day long, depriving myself of fresh air and sunlight?
9. Do I depend on alcohol or drugs to cope with social situations outside of work?
All of these are red flags for burnout. Except for the ninth question (unless caffeine is a drug), I would have said “yes” to every single question, every single day.
If you answered “yes” to the majority, you have some degree of burnout.
Another Useful Emotional Exhaustion Test
This was another test that I found helpful in diagnosing job burnout.
- Do I feel fatigued often during the day?
- These days, do I feel less motivated in my work and home life?
- Lately, am I less optimistic?
- Is my productivity on a downward trend at work?
- Have I become less social and more reserved?
- These days, am I making more mistakes and having more brain farts?
- Have I been more lazy, caring less about my diet and appearance?
- Is my mind constantly at work, even when I am not at work?
- Have I experienced unusual health problems lately?
- I am not happy with my work life and it’s affecting my home life too.
Again, if you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions, you’re emotionally burned out and experiencing burnout syndrome.
Now that you have a better understanding of where you are on the burnout scale, it’s time to dive into how to recover from burnout.
Step By Step – How to recover from burnout The Right Way
I recommend getting a “before” testosterone measurement or blood panel as you start your recovery process. Going forward, you should check progress every 3-6 months.
I visited T Off, a testosterone-specific clinic, to get my testosterone reading. It cost $150 back in 2017.
Today, there are much better options. Now I use Life Line Screening, which has an at-home testosterone test via finger prick for $99. I recommend either that or the at-home ‘Men’s Health Test’ for men 30+. It’s a step up and includes five additional tests for reproductive health and prostate cancer.
This is all for the same cost as what I used to pay at T-Off for $149. Next, here are the steps I recommend to recover from burnout.
1. Tell People
It’s time to set aside your pride and open up to your partner, friends, and if necessary, your boss.
They should know what you are going through, and you’ll find that your friends and loved ones want to help.
When I opened up to Alex, she shared that our friend’s husband was also suffering from burnout. It was great to connect with him. When I opened up, I learned that I had a lot of guy friends who went through burnout.
2. Seek Out a Variety of Medical Professionals
Personally, I was confident that I could handle my mental and emotional burnout symptoms through lifestyle adjustments. As a budding health and lifestyle guru, it should have been my job to lead by example.
It was my physical health problems that freaked me out.
I knew that I was going to need medical help to recover from this health scare, so, like you, I started plugging away on Google.
I read up on the latest news, research, and books on a variety of health topics. One crossed my path covering sleep deprivation.
I knew that I didn’t sleep enough and never woke up feeling rested, so I got a blood test done to check my vitamin D levels. They were low.
In parallel, I decided to visit with two different sleep doctors to see what they thought.
The first doctor dismissed me because I didn’t have an apparent sleep disorder, like sleep apnea.
The second doctor, though, shared an interesting nugget. He said, “If you have only been sleeping 6-hours a night for just one year, that adds up to 30 full days of sleep debt.”
Wow, I had been sleeping 6 hours a night for 3 years. I needed a three-month nap (I know, it doesn’t work like that).
Around this time, I had a conversation with another friend who had been dealing with fatigue. He told me that he had a testosterone test done recently that showed he had low T.
He said it was more common than people thought.
So, when I went to the doctor to re-check my vitamin D, I asked to get my testosterone tested. My doctor scoffed and told me that I didn’t need it. I was young, fit, healthy, and didn’t exhibit low T symptoms.
Could It Be Low Testosterone?
Still, it nagged at me. Everything nagged at me. After learning about my severe sleep debt from my sleep doctors, I read up on the subject.
I learned that testosterone is produced while you sleep, so I decided that I needed the data. At a different doctor’s office, I requested a blood test to check my testosterone levels.
When the results came back, both the doctor and I were shocked. I had an extremely low testosterone level of 290 ng/dL, the typical level for a 70-year-old man!
I was 29 years old, muscular, lean, eating organic and no processed foods, and there were no problems in the bedroom.
He said he was baffled because I was nothing like his typical low-T patients (overweight, poor nutrition, smokers, drinkers, etc.) A retest confirmed that the results were valid.
This was the last straw. I accepted that I was officially burned out and I was committed to learning how to recover.
3. Make These Immediate Changes
This was when I decided to change. Maybe you’ve pulled your last straw too. Whether you have or you haven’t, you need to think about what is your motivation.
What about your life do you hate now that you’re burning out? Focus on that, because you need a strong motivation to make the major life changes essential to recover from burnout.
Your #1 Priority = SLEEP
You will not overcome burnout without doing this, plain and simple. Your brain is injured, and it needs time to rest and heal. No amount of meditation or doing what you’re passionate about will suffice.
Like they say in that kid’s book, “Go the fuck to sleep.”
To overcome burnout and my severely low testosterone, I immediately started sleeping 8-hours a night or more. But where did I find time for this?
I decided to cut my workload significantly.
Get Work-Life Balance Back
Chances are you are working 60-80 hours like I was, and thinking about work for another 40-60. That needs to stop.
For healthcare workers, you’ll need to talk with your supervisor to make a plan to adjust your hours.
I was already working remotely with no supervision in both my jobs. For entrepreneurs or self-managed people like me, cutting back on hours is a lot easier.
I dropped my side-gig (I did the minimum to support current clients) and started managing my to-do list much more effectively in my day job.
Then, I amped up my self-care routine and filled my newfound wakeful hours with outdoor activities, hobbies, social outings, camping trips, playing guitar, and training for an obstacle race.
I also quit social media.
I was healed!! Right? No, but at least I was on the right track. My sleep quality was still very low and so was my testosterone.
I had to put in a lot of work to physically recover from job burnout, and you will too.
4. Track Your Recovery
As mentioned, I was tracking my sleep and testosterone and, in the first 6 months, only seeing marginal improvements.
The great thing about tracking your recovery is it provides information on what is working which fuels your motivation to keep going.
To naturally boost my testosterone, I began lifting heavier weights, eating more meat, doing bedtime yoga, taking natural testosterone supplements, and conducting sleep improvement experiments.
Just FYI, I found that most of the advice online about increasing testosterone didn’t work for me. Such as eating more meat. That made me feel terrible and I almost fainted a couple of times.
At the doctor, I learned that my cholesterol was through the roof. The best diet for me turned out to be flexitarian (vegetarian with meat or fish 1-2 times a month).
Do your research, but take everyone’s advice (mine included) with a grain of salt. You have to be the CEO of your burnout recovery.
In the short term, I only felt slightly better, and my bimonthly testosterone tests showed only small improvements. My testosterone levels were fluttering between 300 and 450 ng/dL, still super low for my age, weight, and fitness level.
Things were happening, but slowly. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t considering merging into the fast lane.
5. Recover Naturally, Or Bust
Modern medicine in the U.S. is a business. Every time I went in to get my testosterone checked, I was reminded of that.
After loads of research, I continuously rejected the recommended solution of testosterone replacement therapy. The “low-T” specialists taking my blood never missed the opportunity to sell me on this.
My main doctor was 34 years old and was low T after surviving med school. Now, he takes weekly T shots in the butt so that he can feel normal again. He’ll need those shots for the rest of his life (and hopefully he didn’t want kids).
It sounded like a great quick fix, but I was horrified of what that could do to my body and long term health.
Testosterone replacement meant that my body never needed to produce its own testosterone again.
Convinced that there was a better and more natural way to get my body up and running again, I had work to do.
As any engineer would, I dove into the research, talked to healthy friends, and stumbled upon some interesting methods.
6. See A Natural Doctor
The method that caught my eye was called nutritional balancing.
While learning about it, I joked with Alex that it was a form of witchcraft.
Nutritional balancing is a method that involves a hair tissue mineral analysis. You to submit a hair sample to the lab for a biopsy. Hair is better than blood or urine because it holds 3 months worth of history.
The results identify key nutrient mineral levels and their ratios. If you want to do some reading, the best source is the godfather himself, Dr. R. L. Wilson.
I loved the idea of getting more data, but the way they interpret that data seemed extremely fluffy.
But, what the hell… I was desperate. I headed to the post office with my hair in an envelope and booked an appointment to meet one of Dr. R. L. Wilson’s approved doctors to read my results.
In my whole lifetime of doctor’s appointments, I always went through the same routine of checking all of the “no” boxes in their check-in questionnaire.
No, I don’t take any medications. No, I don’t smoke. No, I don’t have a family history of medical conditions. It always made me feel proud and healthy.
But clearly, I wasn’t healthy, and this was the first doctor’s visit in my life that left me feeling like I had significant room for improvement to reach my peak health. It was refreshing.
Step one to recovering from burnout is finding a doctor who can tell you you’re physically ill. Nutritional balancing did that for me.
My Nutritional Balancing Hair Test Results
The results of my hair test were in. The doctor explained that my nutritional profile matched that of the “Four-Lows Mineral Pattern.”
It meant that I was deficient in all four main minerals — magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium.
After reading the results and hearing about my burnout and low testosterone, he warned that my adrenal gland was on the verge of shutting down.
He explained how, in this case, most doctors would prescribe a steroid to wake up the adrenal gland.
He said this was a bandaid solution and that over time, stimulation makes your adrenal have even less function. This made logical sense to me. It sounded familiar too.
Kind of like how testosterone replacement therapy would weaken the body’s ability to produce testosterone naturally, steroids would reduce the adrenal gland’s ability to function naturally.
Instead, he suggested that we “put my adrenal gland to sleep.”
7. Listen To That Natural Doctor
As mentioned, when I was reading about these natural medicine options, it sounded like witchcraft. After seeing the doctor, it felt even more like witchcraft.
At one point I was on my back and he was holding a jar of organ tissues to my chest with one hand while rubbing a smooth stone attached to his belt to measure energy and frequency.
As an engineer, did I think this was crazy? Yes.
Was he the first doctor to show me something was wrong and provide me with a plan? Yes. Keep an open mind.
I loved what he said about my adrenal gland, and I trusted his recommended supplementation schedule to lift my body out of the “Four-Lows Mineral Pattern.”
Meanwhile, Alex and I had just quit our jobs to move to South America. I wanted to devote my time to recovering from burnout stronger and living as healthy as possible. We would grow my old side gig to make a living.
Putting My Adrenal Gland to Sleep
Before leaving, I bought supplements for my prescribed daily vitamin plan.
Each night, I took my vitamins, and while I slept, so did my adrenal gland. Just like that crazy doctor told me (joking… I want to hug the man), it was the calcium vitamin that made me sleep like an infant again.
The other vitamins I took, in addition to calcium, was kelp, fish oil, and Vitamin D. Four years later, I still take these as part of my daily routine.
Literally, for three months while living in Ecuador, I slept for 12-13 hours every night. I could feel my body healing. I knew I had figured out how to recover from my job burnout.
My Burnout Recovery Timeline
First, everyone’s timeline is going to be different. If you have an experience of your own to share, or if you have questions about how long it might take you to recover, please share them in the comments section.
Second, you’re not going to recover from burnout in 30 days. It takes years to burnout. Recovery also takes years. I’ve helped dozens of men on their recovery journey, and it generally takes 3-5 years to recover from burnout.
Here is my burnout recovery timeline.
1.5 Years Post Burnout
I originally wrote this article 1.5 years after getting my low T data and realizing I was burned out.
The vitamins (especially calcium) helped, but what made all the most difference was sleep. To overcome burnout the natural way, it takes your body considerable time to repair itself.
Within 1.5 years, all three of my symptoms (crippling fatigue, allergic reactions, physically sick from work) along with symptoms I never thought to correlate were gone (like my low testosterone, acne, headaches, and even an allergy to cats and dogs).
My sleep went from 13 hours a night at the very beginning to 8-10 hours a night a year later. I still woke up tired some days and felt sleepy during the day, but it was far less frequent.
I attributed that to my testosterone which was still recovering slowly.
4 Years Post Burnout
After living in Ecuador for 3 months, we spent 3 years living in 7 different countries in Latin America.
I kept monitoring my sleep passively. My Apple Watch is synced to the Pillow App and it tracks my sleep every night.
I continued to optimize my health, learned how to cook great meals at home, cut back on alcohol, walked instead of driving, and basically eliminated all processed foods.
Eventually, I almost never felt fatigued during the day. I still drank one or two coffees a day but it was hard not to when we lived in spectacular coffee countries like Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama.
Recently, I quit drinking caffeine cold turkey just to see how I would feel. Turns out, I didn’t need it for energy, and when I stopped drinking coffee daily my deep sleep increased 10% in 30 days.
Most importantly, I am much happier, less stressed, and am more creative with my work than ever.
So, on my 4 year burnout anniversary, I went in for a total testosterone test to see if my lifestyle changes had worked.
Burnout Recovery Timeline Complete
The results were higher than I ever could have imagined: 1009 ng/dL!
To recap, just 4 years prior, I was at 290 ng/dL. That’s more than a 3-fold increase. I went from having the testosterone of a 70-year-old man to the level for a peaking teenage male at 17!
I am grateful that I took my burnout and low testosterone symptoms seriously and was in a place where I could notice them in the first place.
When I hear of friends complaining about aches, pains, and getting old, I immediately distrust that it’s the aging process. Now I have my body healthy and functioning from natural healing, and I’m not going to risk it again.
Burnout especially, but even low testosterone for men in their 20s and 30s, is a more common story than we think. I see my friends in medical school working longer hours than me.
Or recently, while on vacation with a friend, I noticed that he continued to work throughout the holiday, missing group activities, and then sleeping only 3-4 hours a night.
By now, I am sure you agree with me that it’s not worth it. But, if it’s too late…
Your lifestyle burned you out, and changing your lifestyle is the only way to recover.
Closing Thoughts For men Recovering From Burnout
I know how you’re feeling and the extent of how damaging this can be to your health. Let’s talk about your burnout recovery.
Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
Optimize Your Life, One Friday at a Time
Enter your name and email address to sign up for our free newsletter, the Duo Life Letter. Each Friday receive evidence-based tips to elevate your health and relationship.