Burnout... an Occupational Phenomenon

Right up until he passed away, Dr John Hinwood was a prolific blogger (an award-winning blogger in fact!). John’s blog’s shared musing from a rich history of experience, learnings, travel and wisdom.

The Hinwood Institute is named in honour of Dr John and to continue his legacy, we’re republishing his blogs to keep his wisdom, wit and wise words alive for the world to enjoy.

You can learn more about the legacy of Dr John Hinwood HERE.

In late May 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed ‘burnout’ to be an occupational phenomenon coming from job stress that undermines how well people perform at work.

Stewart Taylor the Managing Director of the Resilience Institute reported… “that over a third of workers in this segment were regularly burning the midnight oil and stress in the form of confusion, disengagement and even distress in some cases, was being reported.”

burnout - work stress

WHO listed burnout in its latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), defining it as a ‘syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’. It stopped short of classifying burnout as a medical condition.

University of NSW Professor of Psychiatry Gordon Parker said WHO’s wording left open the possibility of listing burnout as a disease in the future.

“I more read ICD-11 as drawing attention to burnout as an explanation for some states and perhaps gently setting the stage for its later formal classification,” Professor Parker said.

The listing stated that burnout was characterised by…

  • feelings of exhaustion

burnout - exhausted

  • mental distance from a job

burnout - mental distance

  • reduced professional efficacy

burnout - unproductive

It refers specifically to workplace issues and “should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life,” WHO stated.

“If burnout is caused at least in part by external triggers in the workforce – for example, forced overtime, overloading – then it will be the responsibility of employers to eliminate these triggers,” Professor Parker said.

“If burnout became accepted as a diagnostic condition”, Professor Parker said the door could be open to insurance claims and sick leave for Australian workers.


At the Stress Management Institute, we believe that in dealing with burnout the ‘Three R Approach’ is very supportive.

  • Recognise

    • watch for the warning signs of burnout
  • Reverse

    • undo the damage by managing your stress. Meditation and visualisation can be very calming tools.
  • Resilience

    • build your resilience to stress by using techniques, tools and strategies that work for you and taking care of your physical and emotional health
Burnout - 3R Approach

P.S. If you want to discover how you score against key resilience indicators and increase your ability to minimise stress, maximise timelive well, and roll with the punches, take the Resilience test below.

resilient leader scorecard
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How well do you roll with the punches?

Discover how you score against key resilience indicators and increase your ability to minimise stress, maximise time, live well and roll with the punches.


How it works:

  • Answer 25 simple questions
  • Generate results instantly
  • Receive feedback to enhance your score

Listen to the Podcast here

About the Author

Dr. John Hinwood

Dr. John Hinwood is a Global Leader in Stress Management. He is a very experienced and respected executive coach, mentor, consultant, sought after international speaker and author. He specialises in facilitation that leads clients out of the stress and into the calm. He has a reputation for innovative and transformational work in stress-life balance and mindset change for front line employees, to managers and business leaders.

Dr John Hinwood has shared the stage with Dr John Demartini, Dr Deepak Chopra, Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr Joe Dispenzia, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul fame), Dr Bruce Lipton, Dr Masaru Emoto and others who are at the cutting edge of human behaviour and mindset change.

He has written 14 books with 4 being Amazon international best sellers. He has had papers published in academic journals and was once Captain/Coach of the Danish National Rugby Team. Dr. John’s experience as a health professional by training, successful businessman by effort and an inspiration by inclination has given him an awesome array of practical tools for success.