Ego depletion is a concept currently being discussed in the academic world around the idea of ‘willpower’ being a finite resource. Like energy, willpower is a resource that can be used up and has to be replenished. If you don’t replenish your willpower pool, you will find yourself susceptible to irritability and have a much harder time controlling yourself around things that need willpower – like sticking to your diet, staying calm in traffic.

There is a certain level you can actually hit when it comes to willpower. Only so many times you can say ‘yes’ to your boss with a forced smile. Only so many times you can take the subway on a crowded morning. If you don’t watch our for your burnout levels, you may just explode or become weak at the wrong moment.

You can use this measure to track how you’re doing this week. If you start to get burnout, take a break! Use it to figure out if your emotions are ‘real’ or if you’re just burnout.

Rate these items using the scale below:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
never, almost never, rarely, sometimes, often, very often, always

1. Tired
2. Disappointed with people
3. Hopeless
4. Trapped
5. Helpless
6. Depressed
7. Physically weak/Sickly
8. Worthless/Like a failure
9. Difficulties sleeping
10. Telling yourself, “I’ve had it”

Scoring: Add your responses to the 10 items and divide by 10.


>2.4 – you’re doing just fine
2.5 to 3.4 – if you keep pushing you may get burnout
3.5 to 4.4 – you’re burned out, take a break
4.5 to 5.4 – very serious burnout, reduce commitment and increase self-care right now
5.5 – seek immediate professional help

Source: Malach-Pines, A. (2005). The Burnout Measure, Short Version. International Journal Of Stress Management, 12(1), 78-88. doi:10.1037/1072-5245.12.1.78

Lauren Martin
Just another girl in the world...and founder of Words of Women

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