Fit at work: switch off stressors

Whether in the office or on the construction site: the body and mind are challenged. This is how the balance succeeds

So that body and head get the well-deserved balance, experts recommend avoiding the cell phone during the lunch break

© plainpicture GmbH & Co KG / Josep Rovirosa

Finding fulfillment in your job enriches your whole life. And according to the Federal Statistical Office, almost 90 percent of Germans are satisfied with their job. Whether at the desk or at the cash register - facing challenges together with colleagues keeps you mentally more stable. The Robert Koch Institute has established that the unemployed are significantly more susceptible to depression.

But of course everyday working life also challenges us. Depending on the activity, for example, lack of exercise, excessive or improper stress often lead to back problems. Musculoskeletal disorders are the main reason for sick leave in this country. The health report of the Techniker Krankenkasse recently counted 60 million days off annually.

Time and performance pressure

Those who work a lot of hours a week or work overtime also reduce the time for the necessary regeneration. "The longer the weekly working hours, the greater the risk of cardiovascular diseases and sleep disorders," explains Jörg Feldmann from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA). Studies show that after eight hours of work, the risk of accidents increases exponentially.

Too much overtime makes you sick

Complaints from respondents according to the number of overtime hours per week in percent

Back and lower back pain:

48% no to 2 hours of overtime
54% more than 10 hours of overtime

sleep disorders

29% none to 2 hours of overtime
42% more than 10 hours of overtime


21% no to 2 hours of overtime
20% more than 10 hours of overtime

Source: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), figures for employees in Germany 2015


1 of 3


Many working people also see themselves mentally in a dilemma. The fear of job loss on the one hand and the increasing workload on the other often lead to time and performance pressure.

Every second German feels threatened by burnout, shows the survey "Company Health Management 2018" by pronova BKK. Half of the respondents said they thought too much about work and slept badly as a result.

Number of mental illnesses increased only slightly

According to the Federal Chamber of Therapists, the number of sick leave due to burnouts has multiplied in the past 15 years.

But: "Mental illnesses in adults have increased only slightly for 30 years - if at all. Only the number of treatment cases and early retirement due to psychiatric diagnoses has increased significantly," says Professor Andreas Hillert.

Little free time

Overtime and a long commute often mean that time for family and hobbies is wasted:

approx. 44 min. commute to work
approx. 4 hours of work
approx. 50 min. lunch break
approx. 4 hours of work approx. 44 min. commute

Remainder = approx. 13.40 hours (including 11 hours of statutory rest and sleep)

Average values ​​in Germany. Source: Federal Ministry of Labor

The chief physician for psychosomatics and psychotherapy at the Schön-Klinik Roseneck researches the topic of burnout. His conclusion: There are more than 140 different definitions, "it is certainly not a clearly defined clinical picture".

Break times are hardly observed

According to the World Health Organization, exhaustion and reduced performance are the main symptoms. Many of those affected feel that they have to do more - without this being properly recognized, says Hillert. What is also stressing working people today is that they can no longer work undisturbed. There are always interruptions.

New media and smartphones are one reason. They also help to blur the lines between private life and work. Most of the working population can even be reached on vacation.

In addition, using the cell phone is often part of planning a personal break, reports Dr. Johannes Wendsche, research assistant at BAuA. But that doesn't usually bring recovery.

Preferably by car

Commuters take an average of 44 minutes to get to work, most of them sitting down
68% auto
18% public transport
14% bike / on foot

Source: Federal Statistical Office

The expert has evaluated studies on the subject of work breaks: "Often the times prescribed by law are not adhered to. Many skip breaks or take micro-breaks that are too short." Body and concentration suffer statistically demonstrably. The head needs a balance.

Switch off stressors

Those who focus, pay more attention to breaks and compensation, remain stable even under pressure.

Don't lose focus

Pressure often arises from overcrowded daily schedules. "This is where time management can help," advises psychiatrist Hillert. This includes, for example, a list of priorities in order to process important and unpleasant tasks at the beginning.

Focusing is important: when things get tight, don't let yourself be distracted. Instead, just close the door and put the cell phone on silent so that you don't get torn from the flow of thoughts too often.

Recharge your batteries while you sleep: Individual rituals can help you fall asleep and support your sleep rhythm

© Getty Images / Digital Vision / Luis Alvarez

Consistently keep to the rest of the night

A lack of sleep is a big problem, "says Hillert. It is physiologically impossible to make up for lost bedtime at the weekend. It is much healthier to consistently keep an individually adequate night's sleep - usually between six and eight hours.

Anyone who is one of the six million shift workers in Germany should not use alcohol or sleeping pills to calm down. Better: support the rhythm with rituals and avoid sources of interference such as noise.

Set limits

Hardly anyone leaves anger at work indifferent. But the inner distance to stressful problems is important. "There is no magic formula for this," said Hillert. Mindfulness procedures, meditation, hobbies such as sport or music - everyone has to find out for themselves what will help them.

In any case, free time should be free from work: There is the legally prescribed rest break of eleven hours between the end of the day and the start of work.

Motivate yourself

The meaningfulness of doing is particularly important for motivation, "explains Hillert. Anyone who, despite phases of overtime, has the feeling that their performance is recognized and feels comfortable at work, feels less stressful in stressful times To want to save from vacation to vacation ", warns the expert.