Emotional Resilience in Everyday University Life

Overflowing schedules? Too many impending deadlines? Fears of failure or pressure of competition?

Stress ist, wenn man nicht nur der Arbeit nachgeht, sondern die Arbeit einem selbst nachgeht. (Stress means it’s not you who finishes the work done but the work that finishes you.)
(Professor Gerhard Uhlenbruck)

Who does not know the feeling of being stressed and the negative attending ills that come with it? When you are torn between work duties and family-related or other responsibilities, it can often seem difficult to break the vicious cycle.

If you experience various symptoms, it may be reasonable to take preventative measures before they worsen. In an emergency situation, do not hesitate to seek advice from internal and/or external counseling services.

How can being overworked manifest itself?

  • Burnout

    What can I do when I experience permanent overload in my job and everyday life and am no longer able to recharge my batteries in my free time?

    Burnout is the reaction of our body and our emotional life to chronic stress. According to the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) , symptoms include

    • emotional exhaustion: e.g., lack of drive, lack of energy, weariness, ready irritability
    • depersonalization: increasing distance between affected people and their environment (clients, colleagues, etc.), which results in increasing apathy.
    • failures: especially in view of continuously increasing demands your own achievements seem small. Mental overload can also lead to more mistakes.

    Burnout can cause different kinds of symptoms: psychological or physical symptoms, changes in behavior or in the social field.

    Take care of yourself and let others help you!

  • Anxiety

    ... is a feeling that stays with us throughout our lives – and it has its raison d’etre! But if anxiety takes control over our everyday life or lasts for a very long time, if activities in our free time, our social life and relaxation only happen once in a while and we cannot really enjoy it, if we maybe even suffer from physical symptoms, talking to a trusted person (family, friends), psychological counseling or therapy might be helpful.

    If you suffer from psychosomatic symptoms due to constant (mental) overload, such as issues of digestion, headaches/migraine, breathing problems or even panic attacks, do not hesitate to seek help!

  • Depression

    It is sad but true: depression is one of the most common illnesses of our time. According to the depression guideline of the German Medical Association and other studies, one in five adults will suffer one form of depression in their lifetime. But: feeling sad, gloomy or pessimistic or having lost hope does not automatically mean you are depressed! 

    Depression is clinically diagnosed by assessing the presence of certain major and minor symptoms. The number and severity of the existing symptoms determine whether a mild, moderate, or severe depression exists. Next to common symptoms such as “feelings of sadness, loss of pleasure and interest in activities, feelings of excessive guilt and low self-esteem, disrupted sleep, lack of appetite, fatigue, and poor concentration”, as listed by the WHO, there can also be other symptoms linked to depression.

    Women are more often affected by depression than men and depression often starts at a young age.

    Whatever your specific case is, the most important thing is: the earlier you get help and support, the better! But for those affected by symptoms of depression, it is often especially hard to bring themselves to take the first step of seeking help.

  • Impostor phenomenon

    They are caught up in a complex psychological system of self-doubt that diminishes their successes and achievements. They do not believe that it was their own potential that let them accomplish it. Often, they attribute their accomplishments to luck or coincidence rather than to ability.

    This perception may also be influenced by the so-called “Matthew effect”: in line with the proverb “to him who has will more be given”, past successes may have a stronger bearing on current success than the actual current achievements. This may be due to the associated resources and preferential attachment.  

    But just knowing about these attributions and thought patterns can be the first step towards change! Additionally, writing therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other strategies for changing thought patterns have proven useful. Take care of yourself and let others help you!

  • Effects on employees

    According to current research, up to 80% of employees experience stress at the workplace and suffer from its consequences. When it comes to sick absence rates, the proportion of psychological stress and mental illnesses leading to incapacity for work has increased from 2% to 16.6% in the last 40 years. According to the 2018 health report of the company health insurance funds (BKK), nowadays they are the second most common diagnosis in medical certificates.

    Furthermore, an online survey of the pronovaBKK from April 2020 shows the effects of the pandemic: approx.30% of employees worry about their jobs and 80% report higher stress levels compared to the time before the pandemic.

Advice and support for affected people

The stresses and strains on employees in everyday university life are real and tangible – we take them seriously and offer you advice and support!