6 Signs of Burnout & How to Overcome It

Blog Banner: 6 signs of burnout and how to overcome it

In a world where our worth is often measured by productivity and workplace success, burnout has become an insidious threat, silently eroding our well-being and hindering our potential. It’s a condition that affects millions, draining us of vitality and leaving us trapped in a cycle of exhaustion and disillusionment.

Join us as we delve into the realm of burnout, exploring its signs and discussing useful strategies, including psychedelic-assisted therapy, that offer a path to rapid recovery and rejuvenation.

Defining Burnout

Burnout is a debilitating condition characterised by emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It affects one’s work life and inevitably spills over into one’s personal life, leaving a person feeling drained and depleted.

If we don’t address it, chronic stress can escalate and lead to burnout.

The World Health Organization views the following as risk factors to developing occupational stress, burnout and fatigue:

  • Time pressure
  • Lack of control over work tasks 
  • Long working hours
  • Shift work
  • Lack of support
  • Moral injury (having to witness behaviour or behave in ways at work that are inconsistent with one’s own values)
We’ll discuss the common signs of burnout shortly, but first, it might be important to consider its impact on a broader scale, to drive home that burnout is not merely an individual problem.
The Effect of Burnout, in Numbers

Burnout has recently been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM 5) as a diagnosable mental health condition. 

Dubbed ‘the silent corporate killer,’ it’s currently the leading cause of employee underperformance and sick leavecosting South African companies an average of R40.6 billion rand a year (or 2.2% of GDP), according to Dr Renata Schoeman from PsychMG (2016). Alarmingly, recent data (Shaufelli, Leiter & Maslach, 2009; Stylianou & Menegaki, 2023) suggest that burnout is steadily increasing, and it is projected to cost companies $1.8 trillion dollars a year by 2026. Not to mention the cost to individuals in both time, money, and – most importantly – health.

A quote by Arianna Huffington stating that Burnout is not the price you have to pay for success. It's a wake-up call to redefine what success means to you.
Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

Spotting the warning signs of burnout is essential for taking timely action. 

6 Common Burnout Symptoms:

Physical and emotional exhaustion | Decreased productivity | Emotional detachment | Physical symptoms resulting in compromised health | Increased irritability and cynicism | Withdrawal from personal relationships

Take this burnout quiz

If you have answered YES to any of the above questions, we recommend that you seek guidance from a trusted professional to determine whether you’re at risk of burnout, or whether another factor could better account for the persistence of a specific experience.

If you have answered NO to the above questions, great! Keep an eye out for these signs, and take action if anything changes.


NOTE: This quiz is not intended as a diagnostic tool, but aims to create awareness about some of the common symptoms of burnout to look out for in order to seek timely support.

Burnout's Effect on your Brain and Body

On a physiological level, both your brain and body can undergo significant changes due to the chronic stress and exhaustion that accompany burnout.

Let’s start with the BRAIN. 

  • Prolonged stress can impact the functioning of the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions. It becomes hypersensitive, making you more prone to feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or even experiencing emotional outbursts
  • Additionally, the prefrontal cortex, which handles decision-making and problem-solving, can suffer; leading to difficulties in concentration, memory lapses, and decreased productivity.

Your BODY also bears the brunt of chronic stress.

  • The adrenal glands, which produce stress hormones like cortisol, work overtime, leading to an imbalance in your body’s stress response system. This imbalance can result in fatigue, sleep disturbances, weakened immune function, and even digestive issues.
  • Furthermore, the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the “fight or flight” response, may become chronically activated, keeping your body in a constant state of high alertness. This ongoing activation can leave you feeling constantly wired, yet exhausted at the same time.

Overall, the physiological impact of burnout is a complex interplay between your brain, stress hormones, and bodily systems.

Understanding these effects helps shed light on why burnout is more than just feeling tired—it can have a profound impact on your mental and physical well-being.

A quote about the value of resting by John Lunnock
Recovering from Burnout

Recovering from burnout is a journey that requires self-compassion and a commitment to prioritising your well-being

You cannot pour from an empty cup.

Traditional approaches to managing burnout and work stress, such as scheduled leave, rest and traditional therapy have had relatively low success rates – not because they aren’t valuable and useful strategies, but because once a state of burnout has been reached, people are in desperate need of fast, sustainable relief. They tend to feel guilt and worry about taking time off, and may feel frustrated at the slower pace of traditional therapy. This brings us to psychedelic-assisted therapy and its potential to provide fast-acting relief for some.

A novel approach to treating burnout - Psychedelic-assisted Therapy
  • In the realm of burnout treatment, amongst other conditions, a novel approach has emerged offering new hope and unparalleled results: psychedelic-assisted therapy. This innovative form of therapy combines the power of carefully administered, legal psychedelic substances with professional guidance and integration therapy.

But what sets it apart from traditional approaches, and why should it be considered as a viable option for those seeking fast and sustainable relief from burnout?

Unlike conventional therapies that may take months or even years to yield noticeable results, psychedelic-assisted therapy operates on a different timescale. It has shown remarkable efficacy in producing rapid and robust remission of burnout symptoms after just a single treatment (Carboni, Carta, Carboni & Novelli, 2021; McIntyre et. al, 2020). This means that individuals experiencing burnout can potentially find significant relief in a remarkably short period.

So, how does it work?

The treatment process typically involves a 45-60 minute drip-based infusion in a safe, comfortable setting.

During a legal psychedelic-assisted therapy session in South Africa, a trained professional administers a sub-anaesthetic dose of a specific psychedelic substance. This induces a unique state of consciousness that temporarily quiets the brain’s habitual patterns and activates alternative neural pathways. This “explosion of communication” across the brain fosters profound shifts in perspective and facilitates deep healing and recovery.

Moreover, the effects of psychedelic-assisted therapy are not limited to the duration of the session. Research suggests that when paired with thorough preparation and integration therapy, the benefits of the treatment can extend far beyond the immediate experience, leading to lasting improvements in mental and emotional well-being.

One of the key advantages of psychedelic-assisted therapy is its speed. Unlike traditional therapies that may require multiple sessions to observe notable progress, individuals undergoing this novel approach often report significant improvements within hours of treatment. This swift response can provide much-needed relief for those facing the burdensome weight of burnout.

Furthermore, psychedelic-assisted therapy may offer a unique perspective on the underlying causes of burnout. Rather than solely addressing surface-level symptoms, this therapeutic modality has the potential to delve into the depths of one’s consciousness, helping individuals gain a fresh understanding of themselves and their experiences. By uncovering new insights and re-contextualising past events, individuals can effectively heal and transform their relationship with burnout, ultimately leading to more sustainable outcomes and fulfilment.

SUMMARY: Infusion treatment is often sought in cases of stress and burnout, since it is;

  • Quick: Taking effect within minutes, and a single infusion lasts less than an hour.
  • Safe: It has been safely and routinely used as an anaesthetic for children and adults for over 50 years. In a treatment setting, it is administered by a qualified medical professional to suitable candidates at much lower doses than those used in hospital settings.
  • Effective: Its effects are rapid and robust, typically felt within hours, if administered to suitable candidates by experienced professionals.
  • Legal: It is approved for use in South Africa when administered by suitably qualified healthcare professionals after thorough screening to ensure safety and suitability.

It’s important to note that psychedelic-assisted therapy may not be suitable or desired by everyone. Each individual’s circumstances and preferences should be considered when exploring treatment options. However, for suitable candidates seeking a novel and potentially transformative approach to addressing burnout, psychedelic-assisted therapy offers a promising alternative worth exploring.


NOTE: While we recognise the potential of psychedelics in treating mental health and wellness concerns, we believe in a holistic approach to wellbeing.

Equanimity Wellness operates using best-practice science, only with medicines that are LEGAL in a given country, and we prioritise participant SAFETY above all else.


The following list includes some practical strategies to help manage the onset of burnout:

By recognising the signs of burnout, taking proactive steps to address it, and exploring potential holistic therapeutic approaches, you can reclaim your balance, renew your vitality, and build a healthier, more fulfilling work-life dynamic. 


The Equanimity Wellness Centre in Sandton is an evidence-based wellness facility at the forefront of innovation in mental health. Pioneered by experienced South African clinical psychologists Anthony Townsend and Brad Kallenbach, it has successfully treated many who suffer from burnout, chronic stress, depression, anxiety and substance use since opening in January 2023.

If you’re in need of professional support in managing symptoms of stress and burnout, please contact us:

Email: gina@equanimitywellness.co.za | Phone: (+27) 10 594 5850 OR (+27) 82 723 5723 | Visit: Upper Grayston Office Park, Block B, 150 Linden Street, Sandown

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Welcome to the Equanimity Wellness Centre

Equanimity is a next generation, evidence-based wellness centre – located in Sandton, South Africa – that offers a scientific approach to psychedelic assisted therapy.

Our holistic psychedelic-assisted therapy program is underpinned by international best-practice and safely administered and monitored by suitably qualified medical professionals.

The benefit of the psychedelic experience lies in the therapeutic system within which it is grounded. Only with thorough preparation, careful attention to set and setting, a trusting therapeutic relationship and ongoing integration can we begin to tap the truly wondrous potential of these compounds.

We’ve drawn on decades of clinical experience to craft the journey of a lifetime, tailor-made to your personal biography, intentions and long-term vision.

Monday to Friday 08:30 – 17:30
Saturday 09:00 – 13:00
Sunday Closed
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