Work–life Balance - Consequences of An Imbalance

Consequences of An Imbalance

Mental health is a balancing act that may be affected by four factors: the influence of unfavourable genes, by wounding trauma, by private pressures and most recently by the stress of working. Many people expose themselves unsolicited to the so-called job stress, because the "hard worker" enjoys a very high social recognition. These aspects can be the cause of an imbalance in the areas of life. But there are also other reasons which can lead to such an imbalance.

Remarkable is, for example, the increase in non-occupational activities with obligation character, which include mainly house and garden work, maintenance and support of family members or volunteer activities. All this can contribute to the perception of a chronic lack of time. This time pressure is, amongst others, influenced by their own age, the age and number of children in the household, marital status, the profession and level of employment as well as the income level. The psychological strain, which in turn affects the health, increases due to the strong pressure of time, but also by the complexity of work, growing responsibilities, concern for long-term existential protection and more. The mentioned stresses and strains could lead in the long term to irreversible, physical signs of wear as well as to negative effects on the human cardiovascular and immune systems.

Prominent cultural beliefs that parenthood is the best avenue for a happy fulfilling life may not be justified. In, The Joys of Parenthood Reconsidered, what was found is the opposite, that parents actually suffer worse mental and physical health than childless adults. This is associated with the high costs of parenthood described in the article. Simon states that, “In America we lack institutional supports that would help ease the social and economic burdens associated with parenthood.”

Psychoanalysts diagnose uncertainty as the dominant attitude to life in the postmodern society. This uncertainty can be caused by the pressure which is executed from the society to the humans. It is the uncertainty to fail, but also the fear of their own limits, not to achieve something what the society expects, and especially the desire for recognition in all areas of life. In today's society we are in a permanent competition. Appearance, occupation, education of the children - everything is compared to a media staged ideal. Everything should be perfect, because this deep-rooted aversion to all average, the pathological pursuit to excellence - these are old traditions. Who ever wants more - on the job, from the partner, from the children, from themselves - will one day be burned out and empty inside. He is then faced with the realization that perfection does not exist. Who is nowadays empty inside and burned out, is in the common language a Burnout. But due to the definitional problems Burnout is till this date not a recognized illness. An attempt to define this concept more closely, can be: a condition that gets only the passionate, that is certainly not a mental illness but only a grave exhaustion (but can lead to numerous sick days). It can benefit the term that it is a disease model which is socially acceptable and also, to some extent, the individual self-esteem stabilizing. This finding in turn facilitates many undetected depressed people, the way to a qualified treatment. According to experts in the field are, in addition to the ultra hard-working and the idealists mainly the perfectionist, the loner, the grim and the thin-skinned, especially endangered of a burnout. All together they usually have a lack of a healthy distance to work.

Another factor is also, that for example decision-makers in government offices and upper echelons are not allowed to show weaknesses or signs of disease etc., because this would immediately lead to doubts of the ability for further responsibility. Only 20% of managers (e.g. in Germany) do sports regularly and als only 2% keep regularly preventive medical check-up. In such a position other priorities seem to be set and the time is lacking for regular sports. Frightening is that the job has such a high priority, that people waive screening as a sign of weakness. In contrast to that, the burnout syndrome seems to be gaining popularity. There seems nothing to be ashamed to show weaknesses, but quite the opposite: The burnout is part of a successful career like a home for the role model family. Besides that the statement which describes the burnout as a "socially recognized precious version of the depression and despair that lets also at the moment of failure the self-image intact" fits and therefore concludes "Only losers become depressed, burnout against it is a diagnosis for winners, more precisely, for former winners.".

However, it is fact that four out of five Germans complain about too much stress. One in six under 60 swallows at least once a week, a pill for the soul, whether it is against insomnia, depression or just for a bit more drive in the stressful everyday life. The phases of burnout can be described, among other things, first by great ambition, then follows the suppression of failure, isolation and finally, the cynical attitude towards the employer or supervisor. Concerned persons have very often also anxiety disorders and depressions, which are serious mental diseases. Depressions are the predominant causes of the nearly 10,000 suicides that occur alone each year in Germany. The implications of such imbalances can be further measured in figures: In 1993, early retirement due to mental illness still made 15.4 percent of all cases. In 2008, there were already 35.6 percent. Even in the days of illness, the proportion of failures due to mental disorders increased. Statisticians calculated that 41 million absent days in 2008 went to the account of these crises, which led to 3.9 billion euros in lost production costs.

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... These aspects can be the cause of an imbalance in the areas of life ... But there are also other reasons which can lead to such an imbalance ... The implications of such imbalances can be further measured in figures In 1993, early retirement due to mental illness still made 15.4 percent of all cases ...

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