There are always stressful phases and less stressful phases in life. Initially invisible tasks that have to be managed in everyday life can lead to mental load in the long run. If, for example, family life has to be planned and organised in addition to the job, this can become too much at some point.
Read here to learn what Mental Load even is, how to recognize that you have too much on your to-do list right now, and how to reduce Mental Load.
Mental load generally refers to the permanent mental overload that can result from organising and coordinating everyday tasks. The following three aspects are characteristic of mental load:
The cognitive work of family life, such as thinking, planning, looking ahead and organising tasks for family members, meets the emotional aspects, such as feeling care and responsibility for the family. The combination of cognitive and emotional work makes mental work a load.
The supposedly trivial tasks that are often taken on by females lead to Mental Load. Especially during the pandemic, Mental Load gained importance as the boundaries between work and leisure became blurred. The home became the workplace and at the same time the children were looked after.
It is difficult to draw a clear line between mental load and burnout. If mental load is not reduced, it can lead to burnout. Mental overload can also lead to physical and psychological stress symptoms such as panic attacks, increased heart rate, tension or high blood pressure.
The following tips can help you reduce your mental load:
Recognising Mental Load
Ask for support
Writing To Do Lists
Setting boundaries & saying no
Set aside perfectionism
Create fixed times for rest
Finding professional support
Reducing mental stress not only has positive effects on our mental health, but also on our physical health and leads to a better sense of well-being. By writing down the "invisible little things" that occur in everyday life, what is done in everyday life becomes more transparent. As a result, work can receive much more recognition and appreciation.
Dean, L., Churchill, B., & Ruppanner, L. (2021). The mental load: building a deeper theoretical understanding of how cognitive and emotional labor overload women and mothers. Community, Work & Family, 1-17.
Podcast "Ist das noch gesund? Der Gesundheitspodcast der Techniker”: “Mental Load - Die unendliche To-do-Liste im Kopf - mit Dr. Olaf Hars”
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