Projects piling up, deadlines looming. The household gets left behind, the children cause problems and the dear colleagues tear their mouths apart. On top of that, the cell phone is constantly ringing and the inbox is overflowing with e-mails. There is no end to the tasks. But even this day has only 24 hours.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic stress is one of the "greatest health risks of the 21st century". No wonder, since it leads to a variety of health problems. For example, the risk of heart attack increases considerably and those affected are threatened with burnout.
To prevent permanent stress as an everyday phenomenon from making people ill, there are some simple recipes for declaring war on excessive demands and staying fit:
Switch off and come down with a fragrant full bath with lavender bath oil - just half an hour in the pleasantly warm water ensures calming and recovery from the day.
Add to this perhaps candlelight and soft music, and the wellness treatment becomes a relaxing experience within your own four walls.
Jogging, Nordic walking or yoga help to stay fit and "work off" the unhealthy stress of the day. Above all, physical exercise in the fresh air brings new energy and relieves pent-up tension. Sport remains one of the most important means of combating stress.
Taking unfinished work home with you should remain an option for absolute emergencies. Almost always, projects that have been started can wait until the next day. Once you have taken your work desk with you, it quickly becomes a habit - so be careful and rather stay in the office for half an hour longer.
In times of home office, the separation of work and private life is even more difficult to achieve. That's why it's important to strictly separate work and private life in the home office and to return to private life after work.
If it is not possible to calm down in bed at night and "switch off the head", autogenic training is a good relaxation method. It is based on a kind of self-hypnosis, in which one puts oneself into a trance-like state and repeats short formulaic sentences such as "My body is completely calm" or "My arms are getting heavy" several times while maintaining a calm posture. In this way, relaxation can be achieved schematically.
Autogenic training can be learned in groups, for example at the adult education centre or from some doctors, but also with books or on the Internet. Once you have internalized it, it can be used in almost any posture and situation for inner relaxation.
This technique works with the help of the conscious contraction of individual muscle groups. The entire attention is focused on these contraction and relaxation phases, which are held briefly in each case. The targeted concentration not only improves the perception of one's own body.
With a little practice it is possible to release tension and reduce restlessness and stress. Instructions are also available here in the literature, in courses or on the Internet.
Acting with foresight can help to avoid stress in advance. Unavoidable tasks around the household and family become more predictable. Lists for daily or weekly planning also ensure that nothing is forgotten in the daily grind. Perhaps not expecting too much of yourself is also an option. Perfectionism can become a stress trap.
It is worth thinking about the extent to which burdens can be shared between several shoulders. Just as everyday household chores should be shared by all housemates, collaboration at work can be effective. Those who consider themselves indispensable experience even more stress and increase the burden at work.
Ultimately, the best relaxation techniques do not fundamentally help against deadlines that cannot be postponed, overtime, time pressure and private worries. But stress can be dealt with. As simple as it may sound, a positive attitude - "I can do it, that's a laugh" - can work wonders.
And at home, a few rules of conduct that are binding for all family members - perhaps: no mobile phones at the table or in the bedroom - can relieve the pressure. Setting limits, possibly also for professional partners and one's own boss, is not to be realized without effort. But they can help to maintain peace of mind and physical health.