In order for a manifest burnout disease not to develop in the first place, it is important to counteract permanent stress through targeted preventive measures. Just like on a journey where you pack your suitcase according to all eventualities, it is the same with the precaution for your psyche to be prepared for all the imponderables of life. There are above all five areas (according to Petzold) which are of outstanding importance for the stability of your identity and your balance.
One of the 'pillars of identity' is the body. Physical activity is an excellent means of improving mental and physical health. Modern man, however, realistically moves only about two to five kilometres a day. The effects of regular endurance training are enormously positive: it not only leads to a better general sense of well-being and reduces stress, but also strengthens self-confidence and sustainably improves the ability to concentrate. It is therefore beneficial and advisable to be physically active at least two to three days a week. However, one should not demand the last reserves from an already strained body. Even an evening walk at an increased pace can significantly reduce the stress level.
A further important aspect in the care of our body is a healthy diet. There are many different, sometimes contradictory opinions on the subject, which lead to this self-evident area becoming the cradle of a permanently bad conscience. However, it is important that followers of very different nutrition theories can live a healthy life. The central principles include moderation and enjoyment of food, which is sometimes neglected in our culture. Treat yourself to a weekend care session for your body – a 'mini wellness programme' so to speak – or go for a sauna. This will enable you to gradually become more aware of your body and to treat yourself with esteem.
It is essential to get rid of one’s worries with friends or acquaintances, to negotiate problems and to exchange ideas. Even modern internet platforms cannot afford or compensate for this, because humans are social beings and need contact and exchange. Therefore it is important that you cultivate your friendships: Spend time regularly with people who mean something to you. It is advisable to establish and maintain contacts in various areas of life, such as with family, close friends, fellow students, sports clubs or choirs. This does not mean, however, that you have to be constantly on the move looking for new contacts and maintaining old ones. Because a sincere friendship costs time and work, but at the same time also donates a lot of energy. Do not be afraid to part with people for whom you merely act as a listener, but for whom you receive no consideration. It is therefore advisable to review the contact list annually to make room for new contacts who are more responsive to your needs.
As a student you are only on your way into professional life. Nevertheless, it is essential that you already strive for a reasonably clear career goal during your studies and associate it with a sense of purpose. People strive to use their talents and abilities to contribute to a 'greater whole'. It is therefore important that you think about your gifts, values and motivations and derive concrete ideas for your future from them. For example, work out a future collage on all those areas that are important to you, such as career, family, friends, me. As a student, you are of course first and foremost responsible for the choice of your field of study. It is essential that you identify with this, because this is often the main cause of dissatisfaction. Question your path and check whether it corresponds to your ideas and wishes.
Values are of outstanding importance for a person’s identity and, accordingly, for his or her balance. They form something like an inner guideline according to which we structure our lives, make decisions and assess situations. Therefore, they control our actions enormously. This makes it all the more important to question one’s personal values and identify them, for example, through a value list in which one works out one’s five most important values. Of course, values are also changeable: In childhood, one first takes over those of one’s parents, since one ultimately cannot make a conscious choice and there are also no possibilities for comparison. However, especially with the transition to adulthood, one’s own values develop. From now on our value system changes permanently. You should therefore check your values from time to time to determine which 'inner rules' are most important to you.
The occupation with that which is dear and dear to us, forms an important source of energy and is of elementary importance especially in the well-organised work or study everyday life. Therefore, invest time in the care of a specific hobby or try out a new sport or the like. People also have a natural need to 'create' something or to be creative. This is more important than ever in view of the ever less visible or tangible products. So consciously allow yourself possibilities for this: cook something or design an invitation for a meeting with friends. The complex of spirituality, the preoccupation with fundamental questions of existence, one’s own existence and self-realization, is also of outstanding importance and can provide security and orientation. The confrontation with oneself is indispensable, especially in view of the dwindling authority of traditional lifestyles. Meditation exercises or autogenic training, for example, offer a good opportunity for this.