Stress has been on the menu ever since life started serving struggle, and that entrée dates all the way back to Adam and Eve's big mistake in the Garden of Eden. Since then, stress has reared its ugly head every time there's a problem we need to solve, an obstacle we need to overcome or an unwanted task we need to complete.

Although managing stress can be difficult, it should still feel doable. Whether it’s a big presentation at work or a dozen chores to do at home, stress always comes with a light at the end of the tunnel—the presentation goes well and suddenly your mind is clear for a fun night out with the girls; the chores are done and now you feel like relaxing with a good book in your neat and tidy home.

Stress that lacks this resolutive quality isn’t stress at all. It’s burnout. Burnout is when you finish your presentation at work and instead of relief, you only feel dread for the next task you’ll be assigned. It’s when a fight with your partner over chores has resolved as you’d hoped, but you still can’t shake that feeling of resentment.

Here are a few questions to help you identify whether you’re feeling simple stress or battling serious burnout. In either case, Franciscan Health’s experts are available to help you with your mental health. Never hesitate to reach out.

Stress or Burnout?

Think about the source of your stress and fill in the blank for each statement. Then, review the answer key below to see whether your answers are symptoms of stress or indicators of burnout.


When it comes to this problem or task, I tend to_____.

A) Overthink or obsess about it

B) Look for ways to distract myself rather than think about it


When I think about this problem/task, I mainly feel a sense of ______.

A) Helplessness

B) Urgency


It’s difficult to resolve this problem/task because I struggle with a lack of _______ to get it done.

A) Energy

B) Motivation


The thought of tackling this problem/task makes me feel _______.

A) Anxious

B) Depressed


When I finish tending to this problem/task, I’ll mostly feel _____ drained.

A) Mentally

B) Physically

C) Emotionally

Indicators of Burnout: 1. B, 2. A, 3. B, 4. B, 5. C
Symptoms of Stress: 1. A, 2. B, 3. A, 4. A, 5. A or B

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