Expert classification – how to protect yourself from burnout at work and in everyday life – knowledge


Stress in everyday life is constantly increasing for many. What the SRF community is doing – and what the experts say.

“Wow, that opened my eyes,” writes reader Rui. “Thank you for taking up this topic,” comments YouTube user Severnaya.

The Einstein² “Burn On” episode and an interview with psychotherapist Bert te Wildt about the initial stages of burnout motivated you, dear SRF community, to share your experiences of balancing between constant tension and excessive demands. What do Swiss burnout experts say about it?

It helped me to enter breaks at work and privately in my calendar. Meeting just for me.

Good approach to avoid balancing between overwhelming and exhaustion, as confirmed by Sebastian Haas, head of burnout and stress crises at Hohenegg’s private clinic. “But meeting these deadlines requires discipline. Even if there are supposedly more important things to do or the stress level at work is increasing ”.

Professional Stress Index 2020

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  • Three in ten workers in Switzerland perceive more stress at work than resources they could use to counteract it.
  • Almost a third of employees (28.7%) are emotionally exhausted.
  • It shows that from 2016 the pace of work in the perception of employees has increased significantly.
  • Younger employees report it more often than their older colleagues.

Health Promotion Switzerland regularly provides key figures for work-related stress and
about its links with the health and productivity of Swiss employees.

It is this stress that is becoming an increasing burden for Swiss workers, as shown by the latest study by Health Promotion Switzerland.

I go barefoot without listening to music. Or I’m going for a walk in the woods.

Focusing on one thing can also be a relief. “Immediate perception with your own senses, without being distracted from outside and inside, creates new areas of cognition and helps to reassess your own needs and adapt accordingly to the situation and even life,” Sebastian Haas also knows. Everyone can decide for themselves whether to go barefoot or cycling.

I try to question the importance of things at work and in private and combine them with each other. Realization of your needs and sometimes rejection.

But how can you be successful in solving tasks at work and in your spare time, even in stressful situations? “It can help you to reflect on these matters with your partner or friend. An important requirement is the time spent on this, ”says Elisabeth Balinth, senior physician at a private clinic in Meiringen and co-responsible for the burnout unit there. It doesn’t work when the TV is on or at the bedside table when the kids are talking to you.

In my opinion, burnout has to do with poor leadership.

Is it really so? “It’s always a combination of factors at work – leadership plays a big role here – and my own mindset, skills and behavioral patterns. The proportion is different for each burnout, says Marcus Sievers, specialist in neurology and psychiatry at the Meiringen burnout unit.

Leaders can be part of the solution

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It is important to find areas that you can influence. These can be factors in your working life when looking for a different boss. These can be individuals through psychotherapy.

“But principals can also be part of the solution,” says psychotherapist Sebastian Haas. The relationship of trust that has been built between the managers and their employees is crucial: Do I dare to tell my manager if I am not feeling well? Can I do it without worrying about negative consequences for myself or my team?

It took me two years to be reasonably productive again. Fortunately, unlike many others, I have an extremely understanding employer who made my reintegration easier.

What is the primary role of the employer in reintegration?

– Already during the stay in the hospital, we engage the employer in a discussion in which the patient, supervisor and human resources department participate, as well as the internal social service of the hospital and the attending physician or psychologist – says Elibeth Balint.

This gives the employer the opportunity to listen to a professional assessment of the treating person, which may relieve patients. Stigma worsens the health and productivity of workers.

Training in healthy leadership behavior

Besides, it also makes sense to educate managers about the relationship between work and health and about healthy leadership behaviors, adds Elisabeth Balint.

“A study commissioned by the SECO Secretariat of State for Economic Affairs showed the following: the more interviewees experience good managerial behavior from their line managers, the more satisfied they are with the working conditions.” The less stressed the respondents felt, the less emotional exhaustion and the less reported health problems such as back pain.

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