“Colleague Meyer is sick again. Nobody sees how I can get myself out of here and do his job and at home it continues the same way – I’m afraid to burn out.” Almost everyone knows something similar from their working life. Chronic pressure makes you sick. This is also borne out by more recent data:
According to Statista, mental illness is now the second most common cause of inability to work. Depression accounts for around a third of this. The burn-out, formerly known as a fashion disorder, is closely linked to this diagnosis. Symptoms are total physical and mental exhaustion. According to the DAK, the burden of illness due to burn-out diagnoses has increased twenty-fold since 2006 and researchers repeatedly associate burn-out with a high workload.
What should I do? Discard the (unconscious) expectation that colleagues will see the diligence or that bosses will appreciate additional assignments. They are not there for that. Nobody has a right to recognition. Not even humanitarian agencies such as churches or NGOs are “automatic machines of appreciation”. Those who expect this will make themselves unhappy and will be demotivated. External appreciation can never replace a lack of internal appreciation because you do not believe what bosses or colleagues say about you. Instead, it is better to accept that the appreciation is satisfied with the payment.
The next trap is expected to be that the job is safe. Even in times when there is a shortage of skilled workers, there is no guarantee of a job. A restaurant chef can be such a nice guy. If he cooks badly and the guests stay away, his boss will quit him. It’s different in families. Here, people are more important than function. Nobody would think of replacing mom just because she can’t fix the car.
Chronically dissatisfied and thus at risk of burnout often wish that things were fair. Justice is a question of the beholder. The personal location decides whether we perceive something as fair or unjust. People like to complain about their low wages. But can buy shirts for three euros without great inner inhibitions at the textile discount store, the price of which is only possible through inhumane employment in Asia and Africa.
Anyone who expects fairness at the workplace will get reasons to get excited. This in turn hinders performance or you feel neglected. It is similar with meaning in the workplace. Even if it seems modern, no employer, not even the charitable ones are responsible for the sense fulfillment of the individual. Whoever expects this slips into the victim role and hands responsibility over to society or the employer.
Whoever works for a social institution, for example, may not believe this. Because they advertise to make sense. But everyday life shows that everything that companies want can never make sense. However, your day is full of opportunities to make sense or to be just. The best opportunities are in full contact with colleagues and customers. It’s easy: listen and give people the compassion they need. All of the mental needs mentioned, such as meaning, security and appreciation, which we shift to the outside, make us dependent on external factors, but these are uncontrollable.
In order to remain vital, motivated and healthy, we should not link our well-being to illusions and hopes outside. It is the most effective burnout prophylaxis.
How it works: Strengthen mental self-regulation:
If something goes wrong, I can regret the failure, be sad. Without strongly condemning me and making violent reproaches.
I can forgive myself because I don’t have to be perfect. My self-worth feeds on the inside and not on the praise outside.
If a mistake happens, I am curious to find out why it happened. I do it without any stress.
I can set clear limits. I know when to say no. I don’t always have to differentiate myself.
Switching off is easy after work if other impulses are perceptible. This ensures inner balance.
My self-esteem is not primarily dependent on reaching (professional) goals.
Inner freedom allows me to find alternatives and I enjoy developing myself. I want to live my talents.
Power, money or admiration are substitute needs that I have exposed as such.