Why Having High-Functioning Anxiety Leads To Burnout

In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about why high-functioning anxiety is a breeding ground for burnout, and what you can do about it. If you struggle with high-functioning anxiety and are feeling burnt-out, or fear that you’re heading towards burnout, then this episode is perfect for you.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The warning signs of burnout and signs of high-functioning anxiety
  • Why high-functioning anxiety sets you up for burnout
  • 4 tips to help you prevent burnout when you have high-functioning anxiety




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Click to view the episode transcript.

In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about why high functioning anxiety is a breeding ground for burnout and what you can do about it. If you struggle with high functioning anxiety and are feeling burnt out, or you fear that you’re heading towards burnout, then this episode is perfect for you.

Welcome back, and welcome here if you’re a first time listener. Thank you so much for tuning in. Nobody wants to feel burnt out. It’s inherently crappy. According to helpguide. org, burnout, quote, is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, Emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands, unquote.

Here are some warning signs that you may be heading towards burnout if you have increased irritability at both work and impersonal relationships. If you have feelings of overwhelm and a never ending todo list. If you feel constantly drained or you’re having difficulty sleeping, never feeling like you can relax or take a break, or feeling pessimistic and as though you don’t have support or you’re alone in your work or tasks.

Burnout happens when you’re giving too much to others and to your responsibilities and you’re not taking the appropriate time to give back to yourself. So how does high functioning anxiety lead to burnout? First, just a quick rundown of what high functioning anxiety is. It’s not a mental health diagnosis, but it occurs when somebody is struggling with anxiety that it isn’t negatively impacting their day to day functioning.

Which means that this person is still able to go to work, be successful, function in their daily life, take care of the responsibilities that they have, and anxiety isn’t a significant hindrance on those things. Therefore, it’s not to the level of an anxiety disorder diagnosis. It’s when you appear successful, high achieving, and perfectionistic on the outside, and people aren’t always aware that you’re struggling on the inside.

You might struggle with overthinking, a fear of failure, procrastination, people pleasing, and always needing to be busy for fear of not doing well. To put it simply, anxiety and fear often propels you forwards towards doing more and achieving more. And you might already understand how these characteristics can result in burnout.

When you struggle with high functioning anxiety, you often put tons of pressure on yourself and you have very high expectations and you also fear letting other people down. And all of these characteristics result in doing more, being busier, and not taking care of yourself and your needs to rest and recharge.

And it’s exactly this behavior of overworking and feeling drained and overwhelmed that leads to burnout. Now we’re going to talk about what you can do about it. But before I get to that, I want to quickly tell you about my free course. If you’re a high achiever who struggles with putting way too much pressure on yourself, you have difficulty disconnecting, and you feel like you can never fully relax, then you’ll want to enroll in my free three day course, How to Calm Your Mind So You Can Finally Relax.

In this free course, I walk you through getting to the root of what’s preventing you from fully relaxing, learning my relax framework to help you identify the best ways to relax and recharge, and how you can relax intentionally so that you set yourself up for long term success. You can enroll in this free course by going to calmlycoping.com/relax or by clicking on the link in the show notes. So what can you do to prevent burnout when you have high functioning anxiety? Tip number one is to challenge your beliefs of always needing to be busy. There’s often fear underneath that drive to keep doing and to never say no. So, what are you afraid will happen if you stop working and take a break?

Really think about this. Think about what you’re afraid of and if it’s something that you could cope with. Let’s say you’re afraid that if you stop working, things won’t get done. Is this something that is realistic? Is this consistent with your personality that you just let the ball drop and don’t get things done?

Or is this just a fear that’s coming up and that’s really driving you towards doing more and always working, but it’s not necessarily a realistic outcome. Tip number two is to question and think about your self worth. Is your self worth tied to your accomplishments and how much you do? Are you used to viewing your self worth as a result of what you have achieved and how much you can do?

Oftentimes people will equate their self worth and how valuable they are as a person with things that they have achieved or accomplished in their life. And a lot of the time this can happen unconsciously just as a result of the gauges and the measures that we have for what it means to be a valuable and a productive person.

So reflect on and think if your self worth is tied to how much you’re doing. how busy you are, how successful you are, what kind of responsibilities you have, and any of those things. And reflect on what you would think of yourself if you weren’t constantly busy. Does this change your view of yourself as a person?

Do you feel like you would be lazy if you weren’t constantly busy? This can often be a sign that your self worth is tied to how much you’re doing. And this belief often leads to more busyness and feeling like it’s difficult to slow down and that’s the quick road to burnout. So viewing yourself as a complex person who needs both busyness and rest.

And changing the idea of your self worth in that way can help you prevent getting on that road towards burnout. Tip number three is to recognize that the desire to stay busy can also be a way of avoiding difficult emotions and thoughts. Those moments where you feel like you just can’t take a break because you’re too busy are often the moments where you need it the most.

because it can be a sign that you’re trying to stay busy to avoid the internal overthinking or difficult emotions that are coming up for you. So in order to prevent this, then it can be helpful to check in with your emotions, check in with your thoughts, and assess how you’re doing and feeling rather than just pushing through and finding things to distract yourself, such as reaching for a glass of wine or scrolling through Instagram or binge watching Netflix.

Tip number four is to take action. Take a break and refill your cup. Your energy and your mental health are like a battery. At some point, your energy becomes depleted and you’re going to have no more to give to others or to yourself. You must recharge your battery by taking care of your physical and mental health.

Otherwise, you’re going to deplete those reserves, which equates to burnout. I want you to remember that you are taking the first step by listening to this podcast episode, which is amazing and means that you realize that what you’re doing isn’t working right now. Nothing changes if nothing changes, so take the first step and re evaluate the way that you’re doing things right now.

And your action tip is to take just 5 minutes once a day to stop, close your eyes, and check in with yourself. Are you running on empty? Do you need to pause to reflect and recharge? Assess your internal temperature and give yourself the space you need to recharge. If you want my step by step guidance on how to start finally relaxing so that you don’t burn yourself out, then you’ll want to take my free three day course, How to Calm Your Mind So You Can Finally Relax.

You can find it at calmlycoping.com/relax or by clicking on the link in the show notes. And put this into action and let me know how it helps. I’d love to hear your feedback. You can DM me on Instagram at Tatiana GLPC or email me at tati at be calm with tati. com and let me know. And if you found this podcast episode helpful, then please leave me a review on iTunes letting me know your thoughts.

While you wait for next week’s episode, I have other episodes about decreasing anxiety, adopting a healthy mindset and managing your time and energy. Thank you so much for tuning in today and until next time, be calm.

Until next time…

Be Calm,


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Hey, I'm Tati!

I believe that everybody deserves to live a calm, fulfilling life. My hope is to inspire high achievers to stop fear from running their lives and start putting their needs first.

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