Excessive demands in everyday life: causes, consequences, and countermeasures
Pressure to perform and an excessive amount of work, family responsibilities, expectations of the social environment, constant accessibility – the list of those factors that lead to more and more people in everyday life, and associated mental and physical complaints, is long. In the western industrialized nations, an estimated five to twenty percent of people simply feel overwhelmed by everyday life.
Those who find that their duties exceed acceptable levels and mental or physical fatigue affects their quality of life should take targeted action to protect themselves from chronic stress. These range from simple behavioral changes to professional help and special courses to strengthen your resilience.
Overburdened by everyday duties
Millions of working people in a wide range of industries are confronted each day with having to reach goals that are often too unrealistic for managers. Achieving the expected benefits requires hectic work without adequate breaks, a stressful work environment and long hours. Many people also suffer from a problematic work environment characterized by intrigue and bullying. The fact that people are constantly reachable through the Internet and mobile devices and that they have to answer emails and phone calls after work also mean that a literal shutdown during their free time is almost impossible.
The boundaries between work and leisure are no longer clearly defined in today’s world so that a constant willingness in the evening and on the weekend of many employers is required. Besides, many people have private obligations and thus the constant concern that they can not reconcile them with working life. An attentive and loving education of children, family businesses on weekends and holidays, cultivating contacts with relatives and friends are often no longer regarded as beautiful aspects of life in the face of ever-increasing demands from the job, but simply as strenuous necessities to reconcile. The additional care of dependent relatives leads many people with professional and private obligations to excessive demand in everyday life, which in the long term can lead to serious health problems.
Consequences of stress and overwork
As diverse as people react to pressure to perform, a hectic working environment or private challenges, the impact of stress on health and well-being is just as diverse. Chronic stress as a result of constant overstrain in everyday life can disrupt the hormone balance of the body and thereby trigger significant health problems. These range from sleep disorders, anxiety, and nervousness to depression, aggression, exhaustion, and burn-out syndrome.
Many people develop psychosomatic diseases that can trigger a variety of symptoms due to a hormonal imbalance that is disturbed by excessive stress and chronic stress. Some sufferers suffer from skin diseases or hair loss because they no longer feel comfortable in their skin. Others develop digestive problems, stomach upset and eating disorders, note concentration difficulties and performance decline, or suffer from chronic headaches and other pain syndromes, dyspnea, palpitations or tinnitus.
The fact that no organic causes are found for the complaints and therefore also no successful conventional medical treatment approaches can be defined, makes the situation even more unbearable for those affected. It is, therefore, all the more important to hear the warning signals of the body and soul already at the beginning of excessive demand and to consistently take countermeasures.
Protection against stress and associated complaints
Many people who are overwhelmed do not want to acknowledge this fact because they feel weak and inefficient, or ashamed of their superiors, peers, and family members. However, when the body begins to respond to chronic stress, it is high time to accept the overwork, because only then can it be targeted.
Those affected should first try to gradually reduce their responsibilities – in professional life as well as in family and private relationships. Often it helps to first consult a psychotherapist, holistic physician or alternative practitioner to be able to define the exact causes of the psychosomatic complaints. A subsequent discussion with the supervisor can help to redistribute certain activities or to develop a mutually satisfactory solution. Overburdened workers who fear such a conversation should be aware that in many well-known international corporations already the first measures to protect the employees from stress and congestion are set and even legally laid down in the employment contracts.
Even so-called resilience training, which underlies developmental psychology findings, is already being booked by many companies today to prevent their employees from experiencing burnout and exhaustion – and thus long illness-related absences. These courses, which are offered not only to companies but also to private individuals, teach overburdened people to build targeted protection mechanisms and general resilience to stressful living conditions and to counteract performance pressure with motivation and positive feelings.
Those who suffer from excessive demands in everyday life should also try in private life to reduce tasks. Part of that is to cancel a meeting in the evening or a weekend and to take a leisurely walk in the woods instead of lavishly organized family outings or to set up a vegetable patch with the children in the garden. Small rituals such as ten minutes of yoga after getting up in the morning, autogenic training, breathing stress or mindfulness exercises contribute significantly to stress reduction and can be easily integrated into everyday life.
Also on a healthy diet should be respected consistently in a stressful everyday life or stressful circumstances. This does not mean that in addition to the professional and private obligations, it also prepares elaborate meals three times a day, but instead integrates foods with high nutrient density into the diet. Above all, magnesium-rich foods increase physical and mental resilience. In the form of dried fruit, bitter chocolate with high cocoa content, bananas, nuts, and kernels, they can also be nibbled on the side, proving a healthy, restful sleep and providing strong nerves in every life situation.