Prevent stress and burnout

Prevent stress and burnout

Stress is a widespread phenomenon in today's working world. We have grown accustomed to it. But stress can make you ill. That is why it is important to stay mindful and to take early warning signs seriously. Dealing with stress properly will allow you to avoid illnesses caused by chronic overexertion.

What exactly is stress?

Stress is our body's natural reaction to risks and threats. It is an unpleasant sensation that makes us feel tense, restless or even anxious. Often the cause of stress can be found in the company itself. Restructuring processes, redundancies, rapid product cycles, change of management and overwork mean that employees no longer feel they are part of the company.

Stress at the workplace occurs when a person feels that they cannot cope with their tasks. Or if they cannot cope with the situation at work, for example in the event of conflicts, bullying, distrust or lack of recognition. A poor work-life balance also poses a risk, for example due to constant availability via the Internet and e-mail.

We feel stress when work and reward are imbalanced.

When stress becomes permanent

It is not the duration of the stress that is the issue, but mainly its nature and our ability to adapt to it. How we perceive stress depends on our individual attitudes, self-esteem and abilities. If someone is in good shape, can adapt to stress and is motivated by it, they may be able work well for a long time under highly stressful conditions. Furthermore, stress can also be perceived as something positive when, for example, we are working on an exciting task, fall in love or watch a soccer match with our favorite team.

Good stress increases motivation, attention and performance.

A risk of burnout arises when someone cannot apply their personal values and talents either at work or in their private lives. If they do not experience work as meaningful and fruitful. If they see their private life as a burden and not as restful. Those affected often try to hide their difficulties for a long time and play down initial symptoms or find other explanations. It's not easy to admit that you can no longer cope your with professional or private situation.


Behavioral changes:

  • Making work the main purpose in your life
  • A sense of being indispensable and irreplaceable at work
  • Hyperactivity and restlessness, going to work despite being ill
  • Irritation, often quick-tempered, aggressiveness
  • Social withdrawal, breaking into tears about every little thing, nail-biting
  • Eating while standing, constantly late


  • Stomach problems, racing heart, difficulty breathing, sleeping disorders
  • Back pain, tinnitus, dizziness


  • Despair and depression, negative thinking, low self-esteem
  • A sense of helplessness, brooding, loss for words, impaired concentration, decision-making difficulties, forgetfulness
  • Panic attacks, insecurity, loneliness, anger, resignation, continuous sadness, over-sensitivity, lack of drive or motivation

What can the employer do?

Today, a good working climate with a genuine team spirit and clear values, fair professional development opportunities and space for self-determination is more important than the orientation to material values. It is therefore advisable to cooperate with experts in a preventive manner.

If the health of an employee deteriorates due to ongoing stress or their behavior changes noticeably, the employer should seek professional help from a doctor, psychologist or coach before the situation gets out of hand for the person concerned.

Burnouts can be mitigated or prevented with timely and correct help.

If warning symptoms are recognized early on by the employer and in the employee's private life, the right kind of help can prevent or lessen the effects of burnout. The employer should therefore actively approach those concerned and offer them support. If this is done in time and with the support of a professional, the result is efficient and satisfied employees.

Incidentally: Zurich also helps its customers with the prevention and early detection of burnout cases – in the sense of a long-term partnership between the company and the insurance company.


Draw up a weekly schedule that includes professional, social and private time slots. In your professional life, separate the unimportant from the important and work in a focused way. This creates peace and energy. At the same time, you should schedule time for relaxing activities. Some examples are:

  • Physical activity, for example sports, hiking, walking, cycling, yoga
  • Wellness, for example massages, sauna, a hot bath
  • Relaxation techniques, for example progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, meditation
  • Leisure activities and hobbies, for example activities with friends or family, gardening, reading
  • Movement and recreation in nature, for example on the Zurich vitaparcours fitness trail

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