Working life has become much more stressful for the brain than before.
The brain likes the challenges and tasks that working life offers – but constant overload is not good for them.
– According to the Working Conditions Barometer, currently more than half of people say that they experience excessive urgency at work, which hinders work, or exhaustion, fatigue and feelings of inadequacy or inability to cope, says the brain researcher Minna Huotilainen.
From the point of view of the brain, working life has become clearly more stressful than before.
– It feels like the load is taking over our working lives, and only a few are safe from it.
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What amount of stress and hurry is normal?
The first sign of brain overload is often noticed by yourself. Many experience memory clogging: things don’t seem to stay in mind as well as they used to.
– This is a cognitive symptom of stress, which means that data processing does not work the way it normally works, Huotilainen says.
A stranger, such as a co-worker or client, may not notice anything different in the situation, but your spouse may find that you are not quite yourself now.
It feels like a load is taking over our working lives, and only a few are safe from it.
Situations are easily explained by poor sleep or so many things to remember.
– It is quite true that for these reasons memory problems in busy situations are caused – but at the same time one should stop to think about whether a busy emergency has become a constant normal state.
These signs indicate a brain overload
Changes in sleep. Falling asleep is hard in the evening, or you might fall into bed half-dead and fall asleep – but you wake up too early and don’t get any more sleep when work starts to spin in your mind.
Cognitive symptoms. It feels like the memory or attention is not working properly.
Making mistakes. Errors are starting to occur when performing challenging tasks.
Slowing down of work. You no longer get things done that you did well before.
Ärtyminen. For example, you’ve already thought you’re used to background noise, but suddenly it starts to get annoying and you don’t tolerate it anymore like before.
Start correcting the situation by improving sleep
Huotilainen emphasizes that if the brain is overloaded, it can also recover.
– Recovery is possible – but if stress has accumulated for a long time, it does not happen overnight.
It is a good idea to wake up to the first warning signs, as prolonged overloading can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, for example.
If the signs listed above sound familiar, the brain researcher recommends starting to correct the situation by improving the quality of sleep.
– Putting your sleep back to normal is the best tip, because when you get your sleep right, then quite a few other things will be fixed.
Recovery is possible – but if stress has been accumulating for a long time, it won’t happen overnight.
Sleep is number one simply because it is the core of recovery.
– When we have an active, eager and hectic day, the brain then needs a good night’s sleep, during which recovery can take place.
The brain researcher reminds us that the brain does not rest at night, but performs information and emotion processing and other important tasks that have arisen during the day.
– If these things are not done, recovery without further precipitation.
Read more: Sarah, 26, started to get irritated about small things and collapsed once in the middle of the work day – the cause was exhaustion, which she first mistreated
These things should be considered at work
Often things have to change in the workplace as well. Huotilainen would be the first to go to work practices.
– In the work community, for example, it is worth considering whether there are enough uninterrupted working hours or whether it is expected to be available at all times and to respond to all kinds of messages. These practices are worth talking about openly.
Prioritization also has a big impact.
– That is, you know what the essential tasks are, and you don’t do lily-of-the-valley stuff with awful hurry and effort – which then weren’t so important in the end.
The brain researcher also calls for a break culture.
– It is not good for the brain, if there is a heroic myth, that work is done night and day without breaks. This is also good to remember when working remotely when no one is asking for a coffee break.
Test your working memory
Here’s how to test your working memory: look at the list of six words below and read it through a couple of times.
Don’t use the memory techniques you learn, but test your pure working memory just by reading the word list and trying to remember the words.
Then try to write the whole word list from your memory.
How many words did you remember?
Most adults remember 4 or 5 words. Remembering 3 or 6 words is also a perfectly normal result.
If you remembered 0 to 2 words, consider the situation in which you took the test. Were you able to concentrate? Did you read the list carefully? Did you have the pen and paper ready right away or did you have to look for them? Was there background noise in the room? Many factors can make you unable to take memorable content into your working memory. If this happens, it is clear that remembering words cannot be very successful.
Source: Minna Huotilainen & Leeni Peltonen: A New Age Notebook, Otava, 2020.
Source site www.is.fi