Series – 10 tips: Prevent burnout: go slow when you're in a hurry

Totally exhausted, at the end of one's tether, psychologically and physically: more and more people suffer from burn-out syndrome and need medical help. The first signs of burnout include exhaustion, cynicism, pejorative communication and inefficiency. But who constantly turns in the hamster wheel, usually does not notice that. The environment also rarely reacts early. Only when burnout is officially diagnosed do many sufferers finally withdraw and their environment reacts with understanding. Of course, it would be better to counteract this at an early stage. We have a few tips on how to keep that feeling of being drained at bay for as long as possible.


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We live in a fast-paced age. Acceleration characterizes professional life. In our private lives, too, we are constantly on the move, always reachable and capable of multitasking. No wonder that even young people have the feeling that they are always under pressure. It becomes really dangerous when you only have tunnel vision and can no longer control your own actions. Don't let it get that far. Pull the ripcord when you realize that you are completely exhausted and still keep going. Take a few days off or call in sick to give yourself a breather. Use the time to think about yourself. What you can change? What do you want to change? Continuing as before is not the solution. Tip: Set yourself realistic goals in realistic time frames. Make a note in your calendar and check after about three months what you have implemented so far.

Less is more. Don't accept every appointment. Try to delegate as many tasks as possible. Don't bunker down your knowledge, but make employees or colleagues smart so that the work can be distributed on several shoulders. Tip: Don't fall into the trap of working more and more in order to cope with everything.

Everyone needs time just for themselves. Just a few minutes can make a big difference. It is ideal to relieve stress right after work all to yourself. This can be during sports, a short walk or listening to a relaxation CD on the way home. A ritual could also be writing a diary with the focus "What did I do well today??"Such rituals help to gain distance and to close a chapter. Tip: Don't stress yourself out in your free time either. Learn to say "no" in your private life, too, when it all gets too much for you.

Work-life balance means a good balance between professional demands and private needs. In other words: Don't work 60 hours and fall onto the couch in the evening, exhausted, but still have time and desire for family, friends, hobbies, voluntary work and other demands of life. Since the job accounts for a large part of the active daytime, it is important to pay attention to a good working atmosphere and to a positive mood at work. Making work go more smoothly. Take the good feeling home with you. Tip: Not every company can afford to hire a "feelgood manager". But the idea that work must also be fun should be anchored in every mission statement. If then the tasks are distributed according to ability and interest, the internal balance is right.

Eating with a cell phone and fork. Panic when your battery runs out. Disaster if there is no network, no WLAN available. The boundaries between working time, free time and the virtual world are becoming increasingly blurred. But the problem is often homemade: We feel more pressure than it really exists. In many companies, it is policy to stop sending emails after hours. Most employers accept that their employees are not available outside working hours. Yet we succumb to the myth of constant accessibility. And in our private lives, we cause ourselves unnecessary stress if we want to play all the social media channels perfectly. Tip: Even bosses need to take digital timeouts. This can be achieved by clearly communicating to employees that mails will only be processed once a day. You can give a short feedback to customers that it will take a few days to process a request. If you give reasons for the time delay, most people will understand.

The term resilience refers to psychological resistance. It makes people strong against stress and strain. The interesting thing is: Resilience can be trained. You can influence and replace your inner attitude, attitudes and behaviors with other thought patterns. Example: If you get angry in traffic jams every morning and work yourself up into a rage, you won't move a meter faster – but you'll put yourself under pressure and whip up your adrenaline levels. If, on the other hand, you accept traffic jams calmly and say to yourself: "That's just the way it is. Can't help it", will reach the goal in a much more relaxed way. Good music, an audio book or a sip of coffee make the situation even more bearable. Tip: Plan enough time for all activities and tasks. Maybe you can manage to leave ten minutes earlier in the morning or try to avoid traffic jams.

7 BE AWARE Mindfulness has been in vogue for years now. It's all about being completely in the moment with your thoughts and remaining neutral to the situation at hand. Simply notice what is happening right this minute. Take deliberate action: Not drinking tea or coffee while on the phone and working on emails at the same time. Instead, savor the tea or coffee one sip at a time, noticing the taste and smell. How hot is the drink? What does it do to me? Sounds a bit esoteric, but helps to get down. Try it out. Tip: Don't think about the day's workload while you're in the shower. But to relax and enjoy the refreshment. The more you think about tasks and stupid appointments, the more you get into stress and in your mind the mountain of tasks gets higher and higher.

Mindfulness is a form of relaxation. Classic relaxation methods such as meditation, yoga, autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation have an even deeper effect. Sport and exercise help you to switch off, as do listening to music, being creative or cooking and chatting with friends. Everyone has different preferences. But regularity is important. Meditating for ten minutes every evening helps more than a 14-day vacation. Tip: Build small breaks into your daily routine. It's not laziness if you relax a bit at least every 90 minutes. Conscious breathing, a little movement, looking out of the window – that loosens you up and your subconscious develops new ideas along the way.

Nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked. On the job, the rule is: listen to things calmly. What does the employee want? What is the customer's concern? Ask questions, gain clarity and some distance and only then decide what to do. When the going gets tough, this stress breaker will help: count backwards from ten to zero and imagine the stress running through your body to drain through your feet into the ground at zero. Tip: "Walk slowly when you're in a hurry" is a Chinese proverb. Rushing and hurrying only lead to mistakes and you need extra time to fix them. Better take a deep breath. Lean back for a moment.

10 ENERGIZE Stress costs energy. The need for vitamins and minerals increases. That is why it is extremely important to provide the body with enough nutrients. Fast food, sweets and too much coffee are counterproductive. In a pinch, fruits, vegetables, natural yogurt, nuts and seeds provide healthier, longer-lasting energy. Fresh herbs also revitalize body and mind. Perhaps there is still room for a few pots of herbs on the windowsill in the office? Tip: Water is our elixir of life. Depending on our age, our body consists largely of water. It needs to be constantly replaced and exchanged.

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