Burnout and work pressure
When stress and work pressure persist over a long period of time, it can lead to a state of severe emotional exhaustion known as burnout syndrome.
What is burnout?
More than half of all employees in Germany – regardless of sector, age, gender or qualifications – say they have a heavy workload and time pressure at work. In combination with a lack of recognition and a poor work-life balance, this can lead to overload. The term “burnout” points to this severe emotional exhaustion, the feeling of “being burnt out”. This state is accompanied by reduced performance and a clear imbalance between current demands and one’s own resources.
Signs of mental overload
The transition from a bearable workload to overload and from there to burnout is often gradual. Many different factors play a role. Besides the working conditions, of relevance here are the resources a person can draw on and how they feel about the options open to them for dealing with their situation. The signs of overload manifest themselves on different levels; depending on the severity of the overload experienced, a wide range of symptoms can occur:
On the physical level, overload can manifest itself in, for example, sleeping problems, headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, digestive problems, heart problems or sexual problems. In general, there is often a reduced physical capacity.
On the mental level, overload often first shows itself through a feeling of nervousness, emotional exhaustion and helplessness. In addition, feelings of guilt, concentration problems, slowed thinking or even aggressive impulses often show up.
Usually, overload also leads to changes in the behaviour of the person affected. At first, this often manifests itself in the person making more mistakes, rushing things and not being able to organise themselves well anymore. As it progresses, the person affected begins to withdraw from their social environment and become very impatient; their attitudes can often change to indifference, cynicism and pessimism if the stress continues.
These warning signs do not in themselves constitute burnout, but they do give the first indications of overload. If this persists and those affected see no way of coping with it, it can result in mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety as well as causing physical side-effects such as tinnitus and diseases of the cardiovascular system. Therefore, always take any initial indications seriously – with regard to both yourself and others – and do not ignore them.