The world speaks of burnout. That too little work can make sick, however, is largely unknown. Psychologist Benjamin Martens explains the background to Boreout - and what you can do about it
When work leads to total fatigue, concentration problems and depression, burnout is imminent. Researchers are now on the trail of another phenomenon: many people show burnout symptoms, although there can be no talk of work overload. A second look often shows that these people do not suffer from over-demand but from under-demanding.
This can happen at work as well as in private life. "Too little work, too undemanding tasks - this is the main cause of boredom, especially among young, motivated workers, and the resulting burnout symptoms," explains Benjamin Martens from the portal "psycheplus.de". These are, for example, listlessness, irritability and frustration.
Pia Heine can confirm that: For half a year of her life, she was stuck in a job in which she had far too little to do. "I felt useless and also at home constantly pondering what to do next," says the 27-year-old from Munich. That gnaws at self-confidence.
Young, motivated, bored to death
The fact that the topic is relevant was also shown recently by a report from the Federal Government from 2011. It can be seen that up to two-thirds of respondents have experienced periods of boredom and under-demands in the workplace. They claimed to be able to do more than was required of them - and to want to do more. "But all motivation does not help you if there is not enough work left," says former Boreout Heine.
The problem is that a bore-out is often not recognized in time. One thinks of everything else, but not to the workplace as a trigger. Many sufferers - and even doctors - first look for physical causes of the symptoms. Or one suspects that another mental disorder such as depression is behind the symptoms.
The consequences of Boreout are no less dangerous than those of the dreaded burnout. They can actually lead to depression and permanent disability.
People with a burnout now find understanding in our society. Above all, because Burnout has the aura of meeting especially highly-skilled people. "Those who complain about health and mental problems due to under-demanding, however, are not taken seriously," says Martens. Because who has too little work, it is your own fault, so the general presumption.
The logical consequence: Affected people do not talk about their problem and can come up with so many things to disguise the situation: they pretend to be busy. "Unfortunately, such measures affect outsiders and the boss often as if the employee was well busy with his work," explains the psychologist. "Otherwise you might get the impression that you are lazy or do not feel like working." And that's not true: people with Boreout are often even particularly ambitious and motivated. And frustrated for that.
Looking for solutions
Having a little less on your desk for a while can be quite enjoyable. However, this situation quickly shows its downsides. The own motivation sinks and the affected person gets into a maelstrom of boredom and frustration. "Concerned persons must first recognize this process and admit it to themselves," says Martens.
Then you should definitely actively seek a conversation with the boss. In many cases, new or additional projects can be found that fully restore the affected population. Here, all parties involved should make sure that the situation does not turn into the opposite and leads to burnout. "It is important to find an ideal measure," says Martens.
Image 1 of 9
A question of willpower?
Impotent, dejected, joyless - such symptoms of depression are often misunderstood by outsiders as weakness and lack of willpower. They are typical signs of a serious mental illness that can affect any meeting. One in ten suffers from it in the course of his life. Nevertheless, there are still many rumors and errors circulating. Read here what's wrong with the most common depression myths.
Image 2 of 9
Antidepressants are addictive
Many believe that drugs are addictive to depression (called antidepressants). That's wrong. The medicines neither cause them to want more and more, nor do they somehow make them "high". There is a danger of addiction in sleep and sedatives such as Valium. However, these are not antidepressants!
Picture 3 of 9
Now pull yourself together!
The fact is: depression has always existed. The impression that more people have been suffering from pathological sadness for several years is easy to explain. Depression is called depression and does not hide as it did in the past with alternative diagnoses such as chronic pain, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, etc. In addition, more and more sufferers dare to demand professional help.Presumably, doctors recognize the disease faster than even 20 years ago. For all these facts speaks, that fewer and fewer people commit suicide. Everyone knows the feeling of being overwhelmed, exhausted, sad or desperate. With willpower you can overcome such temporary lows. But a real depression is different. People with depression can not get out of the black hole on their own. They are petrified, they feel inwardly as if dead. Healthy people can not understand that. The well-meaning advice: "Now just pull yourself together!" is therefore the wrong Apell.
Image 4 of 9
Antidepressants change the personality
Antidepressants act on the disturbed functional processes in the brain. Many sufferers fear that their personality will change when they take the medication. But do not worry, that's not the case. Only the typical changes in experience and behavior that are typical of depression disappear when the medication starts. In that case, those affected feel as they are in their healthy state.
Image 5 of 9
Fatal blows as a trigger
Stressful living conditions such as death of a family member, separation or overburdening of the job can, but do not necessarily have to precede depression. Even positive events such as a passed exam, a wedding or a promotion cause stress and are possible triggers. Often, however, no external cause can be found. Experts suggest that several factors play a role in the development of depression. In addition to psychosocial influences, there is also a genetic predisposition.
Image 6 of 9
A nice vacation or a lot of sleep - in depression, both are rather unfavorable. In a strange environment the hopelessness and despair are felt even more intense. Long sleep can even worsen the depressive symptoms. On the other hand, it has been proven that sleep deprivation leads to a sudden improvement in the symptoms of about 60 percent of those affected - albeit not permanently.
Picture 7 of 9
Physical complaints make you depressed
Depression is often associated with physical complaints such as headache or backache, ear noises or heart problems. If properly predisposed, these diseases can trigger depression. More often, however, the opposite is the case: Due to the depression, the patient feels the physical symptoms stronger. Sometimes they are in the foreground so strongly that the mental cause goes unnoticed for a long time.
Picture 8 of 9
The work stress is to blame
Everyday work is getting faster, the line between leisure and work is becoming more and more blurred. In fact, it has not been proven that work stress itself is the trigger for depression. Because working people do not meet the heavy melancholy more often than other people.
Picture 9 of 9
More and more people are becoming depressed
The fact is: depression has always existed. The impression that more people have been suffering from pathological sadness for several years is easy to explain. Depression is called depression and does not hide as it did in the past with alternative diagnoses such as chronic pain, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, etc. In addition, more and more sufferers dare to demand professional help. Presumably, doctors recognize the disease faster than even 20 years ago. For all these facts speaks, that fewer and fewer people commit suicide.
When there is really nothing left to do, working hours may be reduced in stages. Perhaps the time gained in this way will even be invested in meaningful and exciting training. Otherwise, more free time offers the opportunity to broaden your horizons and to fill with new activities. "I cooked a lot during that time," says Heine. At least for the recipe search on the Internet, she had ample opportunity.
Anyone who can not or does not want to afford a reduced working time financially, or who falls on deaf ears with his boss, can also be the right choice for a job change. "Such a step should of course be well considered," says Martens. But being underemployed in the long term is not a good alternative.
For Pia Heine, the turnaround came just in time: A new boss brought fresh wind into the company. "He has finally given me more demanding tasks in which I could sometimes be really creative," she says. Boredom and frustration were then suddenly no trace.