Time off from work can protect against burnout



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For many workers, adequate compensation for the job can be a protective mechanism

Answer a business phone call in the well-deserved end of the day, take care of the business emails on weekends or on vacation. In short: be available around the clock. Although this scenario is a nightmare for many workers, many check their business emails long after work. This behavior can promote burnout

International definition of burnout
Burnout is in the International classification of diseases (ICD-10) described as "burnt out" and "state of total exhaustion". It relates to problems and difficulties in coping with life. Anyone who exposes himself to a mix of leisure and job in the long run feels burned out at some point. In the worst-case scenario, the person concerned is at risk of burnout.

To counteract this, Prof. Thomas Kraus from the German Society for Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine recommends consulting with his colleagues and superiors. "I can be reached at time X, the service cell phone is off at time Y." Active leisure activities, which also include sporting activities, compensate for stressful everyday life. "Instead of just falling exhausted on the couch in the evening and reaching for a beer after work, be it better to make music or do sports," says Kraus.

How do you recognize a burnout? If working people have the feeling that they are no longer able to perform the tasks assigned to them, or if they are less and less able to cope with the time pressure, these can be the first signs of an exhaustion syndrome. Increased alcohol and medication consumption can also be a warning sign.

Herbert J. Freudenberger, one of the best known and first psychologists who dealt with this topic, has identified 12 possible phases of a burnout syndrome. These are: extreme striving to be able to meet particularly high expectations, revision with neglect of personal needs and social contacts, dubbing or ignoring internal problems and conflicts, doubts about one's own value system as well as about formerly important things like hobbies and friends, denial of emerging problems, decrease in Tolerance and disregard for other people, withdrawal and avoidance of social contacts to a minimum, obvious changes in behavior, progressive feeling of worthlessness, increasing anxiety and depersonalization due to loss of contact with oneself and with other people; life is increasingly functional and mechanistic. Inner emptiness and desperate attempts to cover up these feelings through overreactions such as sexuality, eating habits, alcohol and other drugs, depression with symptoms such as indifference, hopelessness, exhaustion and lack of prospects, first thoughts of suicide as a way out of this situation; acute danger of a mental and physical breakdown. The order can also be different.

Employees who often feel exhausted are best advised to contact the company doctor. He is a competent contact person and can take countermeasures or even recommend a rehabilitation stay. (fr)

Image: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

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