Example: When things are piling up
Kasper is a team leader. On his way to work he already receives his first call from an employee whose child is sick and wants to take the day off to care for the child. Kasper has to find someone to take over the shift.
His mobile rings again, and he has to say yes to taking part in a meeting that same night instead of going to handball practice – he is a bit annoyed about that. Kasper receives yet another call from a driver who cannot unload his goods because there is no one there to let him in.
Kasper senses that again today everyone will want something from him, and tasks are already piling up. If this continues over a longer period, it may result in occupational stress.
What is stress?
Stress is not the same as being busy. Stress is a state of imbalance between demands and resources over a longer period of time. It is an emotional and physical reaction – not a disease.
Stress is a natural reaction and a state of alertness to help cope with external pressure.
Stress strikes individually – but must be prevented and dealt with collectively. Good psychosocial working conditions can help prevent stress.
Several types of stress
- Short-term stress is normal and useful: We experience short-term, acute stress when we are under pressure – our body goes into a state of alertness to sharpen our senses and help us cope. If we resolve the situation, or we expect that we can resolve it, the state of alertness will go away again. The body will relax. So, acute, short-term stress is a part of life.
- Long-term stress is harmful: Continuous, long-term stress occurs when stressful situations and events are not resolved and do not go away. The body is prevented from relaxing for weeks, months, even years. Long-term stress can cause a serious illness or make an existing illness worse.
Constant stress for more than a month should be considered a warning sign. After three months, this will turn into chronic stress, increasing the risk of a number of diseases.
- Occupational stress typically occurs when a person is facing demands, pressure or a workload that exceeds their possibilities, abilities and resources. Your own expectations about whether you can cope with the situation also affect the development of occupational stress.