Avoid and overcome burnout, with self-awareness

This article explores how burnout can be avoided and overcome and the results of a HappierMe poll.

A recent poll by HappierMe suggests that 70% of employees think burnout is very common in their organization. The poll was conducted in January 2024 and 1900 people took part.

It was commonest among those who had positions of responsibility, especially among CEO’s, teachers, finance professionals, doctors, nurses and those working in mental health.

It is the silent epidemic of modern life leading to emotional and physical exhaustion. Those who are experiencing burnout may not even realize the symptoms of it unless it’s too late. It is so important to spot it early and do something about it, and better still, avoid it altogether.

Symptoms of early burnout include feeling tired all the time, or unable to cope, or getting more irritable, or not sleeping well. We don’t enjoy our work any more, and are more likely to make poor decisions. We can feel like a victim of our own circumstances.

Burnout is caused by long term stress and there are many causes of that in our lives, work is just one of them.


Employers and managers are under pressure to deliver, and that pressure gets passed down to employees. In the name of efficiency, employers try to get more done from fewer people, not realizing that if an employee starts burning out, their productivity is going to decrease. They have a greater chance of going off sick or leaving their jobs.

Our own ambition to be better than others and climb the ladder of success can contribute to burnout, with some employees not taking their allocated leave, or working evenings and weekends just to get ahead.

We can get caught up in a frenzied competitive atmosphere and not be aware we are being conditioned by it. Many self-employed people live with a constant anxiety about having enough work or money in the future, and work longer hours than if they were employed.

Explore the module on Work here
Explore the Conditioning module here

Personal lives

Chronic stress can be a product of our personal circumstances. We may not have enough money, or worry about not having enough in the future. That stress contributes to burnout and exhaustion. Or we may have recurring conflict in our relationships and that can wear us down. Or we might be carers dealing with challenging circumstances with no respite. There are many sources of long term stress we have to deal with every day.

Explore the module on Relationships here

Past trauma

If we have suffered some past trauma, that may put our nervous system on high alert and the same situation can make us feel more stressed than it would others. In some surveys 70% of people have suffered some past trauma, and not everyone has resolved it. Long term stress can lead to poor sleep, and this makes us even more irritable and prone to stress during the day.

Explore a podcast on dealing with trauma here

Our need to be occupied

Our brains never switch off and the mind never gets a rest. When work finishes, digital entertainment takes over. Deep down our minds are restless and we feel uncomfortable being quiet in our own company. We scroll endlessly on social media, or watch TV, or listen to music or find other ways to try and escape from that feeling, including drugs and alcohol. The brain is an amazing machine, but it also needs periods of rest to recover and we need to recognise the importance of doing so.

What can we do to avoid and overcome burnout?

Perhaps the first step is to realize that it is common and can happen to anyone, and ask yourself if it may be happening to you.

Explore the module on Stress in the HappierMe app here and put in place practical measures to reduce your stress. Initially this could include regular breathing exercises or a meditation practice.

Stress is often caused by the automatic way our mind reacts to our circumstances. A deeper self-awareness can help us be in charge of our own reactions and find fresh ways to respond. Many of the causes of stress begin in our own thinking but we are not aware of them, for example our mind comparing all the time.

Understanding them can help us put them to one side and be less stressed.

Employers could also prioritize the well-being of their staff, realizing that it is in their own best interest to have employees who are not suffering from burnout.

To find out more, explore all the resources in the HappierMe app to avoid and overcome stress for the long term.

Listen to a podcast on Burnout here
Explore the Reactive Mind module here

Understand your mind. Live a happier life.

Life can be tough. The HappierMe app is your personal guide to help you feel better now, but also to take you deeper to understand your thoughts and feelings. It supports you to become the person you want to be, to be happier, manage your emotions and  succeed in the world. There are also coaches you can speak to through the app.

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved