Why do people feel stress during work

Excessive demands: triggers, symptoms, help

Overwhelming is now a common phenomenon in almost all industries and professions. A large number of employees temporarily or even permanently have the feeling that they are no longer able to cope with the demands and the workload. The result is usually an even greater burden, as there is an incorrect reaction to the situation. We show how you can tell that you are overwhelmed and what measures you can take to counteract it ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition of excessive demands: what is meant by this?

Overload is spoken of when the subjective feeling is one's own Resources and capacities are no longer sufficient to provide a service appropriate to the situation. There are different forms - for example cognitive or psychological overload - that can relate to different areas of life.

If you feel overwhelmed, you will feel one high levels of stress - although nowadays this is mostly interpreted negatively. Psychology differentiates more precisely between distress (negative stress) and eustress (positive stress).

  • Eustress

    We are very busy with positive stress, but we don't necessarily find it uncomfortable because we know what to do. Those who have eustress are motivated and work through the tasks in sequence, for example when they are in a flow. As a positive effect, eustress increases the attention and performance of the respective person. This form of stress only has a negative effect when it becomes permanent and there are no compensation options.

  • Distress

    The psychological overload is above all a question of the perceived stress, which means: The person affected has the feeling that he or she has no room for maneuver and does not feel up to the task. It does not matter whether other people in the same situation come to a different conclusion. For example, if you didn't have the time or the necessary knowledge to prepare your PowerPoint presentation for the meeting, you will feel stressed - with more time and the appropriate knowledge, the same situation would be assessed differently.

Stress has become one Mass phenomenon become. Almost six out of ten Germans find their life stressful. Employees in particular are under constant pressure. Common stressors:

Those in employment between the ages of 30 and 40 suffer from one Double burdenbecause they are in a phase of life in which starting a family coincides with important career steps.

Many employees feel they are under pressure

Stress quickly leads to dissatisfaction at work: You no longer feel comfortable in the current work environment, work is no longer fun, but is increasingly becoming a burden.

A State of permanent dissatisfaction leaves its mark on the psyche. Depression can result.

A study by the Bertelsmann Foundation that deals with the consequences of to high demands employed by employees even comes to the frightening result: The increasing overstrain at work leads to stress as well as stress self-endangering behavior among the employees.

Of the 1000 employees many said they were overwhelmed. At the same time, they are under so much pressure that they are hers endanger their own healthto meet performance targets. More accurate:

  • Close 25 percent do not believe that they will be able to maintain the current pace of work in the long term.
  • 18 percent regularly reach their limits.
  • In order to manage the workload, do without 23 percent completely on breaks.

Every eighth even appears sick to workto meet expectations. It is accepted that such behavior can lead to permanent damage to one's own health. 42 percent of respondents said their Working environment shaped by increasing performance targets is. At the same time, however, one in three no longer knows how to cope with the growing demands.

The big problem: Employees overwhelm themselves and their health in order to implement guidelines. If the goals are then achieved, however, they apply as a new benchmark. It is particularly difficult for employees to escape from this circle. Because 51 percent of those questioned in the study stated little or no influence on the volume of work to have.

Symptoms of excessive stress

Many employees push away the thought of being overburdened as they interpret it as a sign of weakness. At the same time they tell themselves that the Blame them and bet that it will get better after a short time.

It is true that not every stressful professional phase is accompanied by a burden that requires immediate action. On the other hand, it is imperative that you use the Recognize signs of impending or already acute excessive demandsto be able to react to it.

Classic symptoms of excessive demands:

  • You feel limp, exhausted, tired, frustrated and do not feel like doing anything.
  • They are often sick and unable to go to work.
  • You don't know how to help yourself, but you also hate to talk about it.
  • You have to pull yourself up and overcome yourself to go to work.
  • You have to work more and more overtime as the allotted working hours are insufficient to carry out your duties.
  • Mistakes in the workplace pile up even though you keep trying.
  • They also increasingly suffer from the professional situation in their private lives.
  • You are afraid of new tasks.

Being overwhelmed and stress as a power strategy

Hardly anyone would admit it, but in fact being overwhelmed is not just a disease of civilization, it is also a strategy. In other words, not everyone who claims to be stressed actually has it. It is very common manipulated.

Stress is not just an expression of Excessive demands, feelings of powerlessness or narcissistic injuries. Often it is nothing more than one Submission gesture - and thus a subtle power strategy:

  • Through stress signals the lower rankthat he recognizes the higher status of the boss (You can stress me out!). Ergo he will continue to be tolerated, maybe even promoted.
  • Or the stress moralizes wrongdoing (That was too much!). Expectations are shifted back and forth, blame is assigned and a guilty conscience is made.

Sociologists say: without one Behavioral repertoire groups wouldn't work.

So it's no wonder that the Stress levels in companies worldwide is increasing: everyday work is increasingly characterized by uncertainty, precarious conditions, and project work. New teams are constantly being put together, in which the members constantly have to find new roles and rankings. You remember: group stress.

Showing a little stress makes you feel good unsuspicious, arouses sympathy in others and lulls dominant alpha types.

However, the reverse also applies: The higher you rise in the hierarchythe less stress you are allowed to show. Because whoever leads, does not (officially) fear - not even pressure.

Help if you are overwhelmed: what you can do

A first step towards improvement is acceptance. It won't get you anywhere pretending everything is fine. Make yourself no reproachesbecause these are unfounded and only lead to more problems. Instead, you should be aware of your own limits and act accordingly.

There are different ways to combat excessive demands:

  • Cut down on your tasks

    An important step in ending being overwhelmed is to reduce the load on your shoulders. This is hardly possible for employees to do on their own, so speak to your boss. Explain to him the situation and your problems with the high demands. Solutions can be worked out together in order to distribute tasks differently or to reduce your responsibility.

  • Reflect on your activity

    It is not always the pure workload, sometimes it is simply the wrong work: Do you generally enjoy your job? Is this the job you have been trained to do and want to do? Sometimes interests or responsibilities have changed over time. In such cases, you should not apply the adjustment screw to the workload, but consider a professional reorientation or a job change.

  • Focus on the most important things

    Sometimes you just take on too much at the same time - both professionally and privately. Cross a few things off your to-do list and ask yourself what is your top priority right now. With clear priorities, you know in which areas you should invest your energy.

  • Take regular breaks

    Breaks are essential to recharge your batteries, reduce stress and gain new motivation. Don't make the mistake of sacrificing your breaks to work more. After a short time this attempt backfires. Instead, make your breaks a ritual that you cultivate.

  • Make up for it

    This is not about displacement or ostrich politics. But to keep your work fun, you need time off and variety. Dealing with the same content (and problems) day after day is tiring and boring at some point. Anyone who takes care of physical and social activities in the meantime is mentally present in a completely different way at the beginning of the week and contributes accordingly.

  • Find the conversation

    In order to successfully cope with the upcoming tasks, it is important that realistic work goals are set. In some cases the supervisor has no concrete idea of ​​what his employees are doing in detail. A conversation can create clarity on both sides in this regard: what is expected, what can be implemented, which ideas and concepts are planned for the future. Such binding and, above all, realistic target agreement discussions help to minimize self-endangering behavior.

Overstrained: 7 things that only make things worse

Some reactions, which are also widespread, do not help at all, but tend to make the situation worse. We show seven typical behaviors that you do without and what to do instead:

  • Downplaying

    Isn't everything so bad - try to explain your situation nicely to yourself. Think of friends and acquaintances who are stuck in underpaid jobs or who have no job at all. Although you no longer enjoy your work and the situation does not change, you hold on to your job. You don't want to admit that you are constantly working overtime and that you are hopelessly overwhelmed.

    What to do instead

    Try to be honest with yourself and admit what is going wrong. With the setting It's not that bad close your eyes and remain in an unhappy position. Even if it is uncomfortable to find out that the job is making you unhappy, this is the only way you can do something about it.

  • The distraction

    You try to think as little as possible about your situation at work. After work, you pack up your things, devote yourself to your hobbies or do sports. You put all your energy into redesigning your home, for example. You drag yourself to work Monday through Friday and can't wait for the week to be over.

    What to do instead

    Don't avoid problems on the job. Ask yourself: Why am I dissatisfied? What is overwhelming me? What can I do to improve the situation? In short: don't just accept it, take action to change something.

  • The self-pity

    You are troubled by your work environment. At work you are under enormous pressure to perform. You are nervously tense as a result. You know that you are not happy in your current job. You feel that your boss and colleagues have treated you unfairly. But self-pity doesn't get you anywhere either.

    What to do instead

    Right now you are suffering in silence for yourself, but you are not doing anything that could change. Talk about your problems and explain to the boss which requirements and expectations are causing you to be overwhelmed.

  • The isolation

    All of this becomes too much for you, but you don't say anything. You don't want to admit in front of your colleagues that you are overwhelmed. You don't want to show weakness and instead work alone. You have become a loner and try to isolate yourself from the others as much as possible.

    What to do instead

    If you do everything alone, you lose the ability to work in a team in the long run. Your boss will also notice this and he will doubt your social skills. Everyone comes to a point where they need support. This is not a weakness. On the contrary: You can improve your work even further through the input from outside and you can share tasks and responsibilities.

  • The paralysis

    You see a mountain of work ahead of you, but you can't get started. You don't know where to start. This leads to a state of shock in which you just watch the mountain get bigger and bigger without doing anything about it.

    What to do instead:

    Approach it systematically. Get an overview of the tasks to be done. Then start working through the tasks step by step.

  • The self-flagellation

    At work, things are not going the way you wanted them to. You blame yourself for that. If only I ... - With this in mind you hold yourself against all your mistakes and put yourself under pressure. You compare yourself to your colleagues and have the feeling that it is easier for them to cope with the stress and the workload.

    What to do instead

    The comparison with your colleagues only hurts you. Everyone has a different sense of stress and is overwhelmed at a different point in time. Focus on finding your own pace of work.

  • The overzealousness

    You counter your excessive demands by trying to do everything at once. The work is slowly getting over your head, but you are trying hard to keep up. You take on the concerns of the boss and colleagues, even though you do not have any free capacity. You find it difficult to say no and set limits. In doing so, you keep overwhelming yourself.

    What to do instead

    Openly tell your co-workers and your boss that it is getting too much for you. Ask your coworkers for help and get back to a workload that you feel comfortable with.

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January 24, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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