Think mental health support should be a priority in your company?
Burnout is a workplace phenomenon characterised by three symptoms occurring together:
Exhaustion is when you feel tired, unfocused and lacking in energy a lot of the time. Other people might notice that you seem quieter, slower, or more withdrawn.
Negativity is when you feel downbeat, cynical and hopeless about your job and work prospects. Other people might notice that you’re quick to see the worst in things or seem more self-critical than usual.
Ineffectiveness is when you feel like you’re not getting much work done, or the quality of your work is lower than usual, even though you’re trying as best you can. Other people might notice that you’re dropping the ball at work more than usual, you’re missing things you usually wouldn’t, or the quality and speed of your work has dropped dramatically.
Because burnout isn’t a medical condition, there’s no official ‘yes or no’ diagnosis. It’s not like being able to get an X-ray and objectively tell whether you have or haven’t broken your arm. As with so much of mental health, burnout exists along a spectrum. So instead of “do I or don’t I have burnout?” the question is “how severe are my burnout symptoms?”
While there isn’t an official medical test, the Maslach Burnout Index is the most widely used tool for assessing burnout severity. It was created by Christina Maslach, who’s probably the world’s leading expert in the psychology of burnout. We’ve condensed the test down to three key questions for a quicker and easier version.
Download a PDF version here
Burnout is commonly confused with regular emotional exhaustion and depression, which have overlapping symptoms but are characterised by some key differences.
Some questions to ask yourself that may help distinguish if your symptoms might be explained by regular emotional exhaustion or depression:
→ If you think or someone you know is experiencing burnout, take a look at our burnout recovery plan in order to overcome the symptoms.
→ If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call the Samaritans’ free helpline on 116 123.