Enough is enough. It's time for a break. Dr Melanie Robertson from the Park Igls Medical Spa Resort explains the early physical signs of exhaustion, the role of mental health and relaxation in overcoming challenging situations, and how to avoid slipping back into bad habits.
How do I know if I need professional help?
Stress can be managed well for a while. However, if it does not subside, stress has a serious negative impact on physical and mental health. Concrete signs are serious sleep disorders lasting weeks and months as well as poor concentration and difficulty focusing on things in daily life. Many people also notice that they are short on energy, no longer enjoy things like they used, and generally have less interest in certain things. These are all signs that you need professional help. "As soon as your structure begins to crumble, relationships and work suffer and physical symptoms or depressive moods appear without a somatic background, it's time to seek help," advises Dr Robertson.
If, despite your good intentions, you keep ending up in the same old patterns and your attempts to overcome stress and exhaustion repeatedly fail, then professional support can help to finally turn things around for good. Coaching is an excellent way to identify and work on underlying reasons, which is especially for people who repeatedly fall back into the same harmful habits. Only once these reasons have come to light is it possible to achieve a lasting positive effect on mental health. This is why professional support is often an essential part of the path to a stronger you.
Park Igls Medical Spa Resort
Rest and recovery
The Park Igls Medical Spa Resort places people at the heart of its concept. For us, mind and body form a single unit, which is why our team pursues holistic solutions.
This means we focus on both physical and mental wellbeing, with our programmes including activities such as Nordic walking and movement therapy shown to have a positive effect on mental health.
This programme promotes regeneration, allowing you to experience a new level of wellbeing.
from € 3.786 per person
When it comes to rest and recovery, the aim is to free yourself from the stress and worry of daily life. In addition to medical care, we also offer coaching and group sessions to help guests develop the concrete changes and actions they wish to take in everyday life in order to avoid or cope well with stressful situations. The Park Igls medical team attaches particular importance to ensuring that these planned changes are structured in such a way that they can really be applied in everday situations without placing too much of a burden on the patient and their family. This makes it possible for rest and recovery to take place effectively in every phase of life, including in old age.
The next step
How can I make sure I don't go back to bad habits?
The ultimate aim is that stressed guests who come to Park Igls should emerge stronger and more resilient from their experience. In order to avoid slipping back into bad habits, it is important that you are able to identify the factors that trigger stress. When these occur, you have to act quickly. Dr Robertson says that anyone who has ever experienced burnout or severe stress is very aware of the early-warning signs. "For some people this onset of stress may manifest itself as a headache, while others may feel pain in their neck, stomach, head or suffer from sleepless nights."
It is important not to ignore these warning signs and to instead make time for activities to counteract this emerging stress. A list of things which you know will help you in such situations can be useful. It may be a short walk, listening to music or practising mindful relaxation. It really is a case of whatever works for you. The most important thing is to make sure that every period of stress is followed by a period of relaxation. These warning signs are how our body protects itself. They help us organise our lives in such a way that we can live well and healthily within our physical and mental limits.
Which relaxation techniques can be useful to prevent stress in daily life?
Dr Robertson recommends breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation. Both techniques can be easily integrated into everyday life.
Whether on a plane, in a meeting or at home, calm, deep abdominal breathing helps to relax body and mind. Progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing and relaxing the muscle groups in the body one at a time, can also be a good way to reduce stress.
Interview with Dr Melanie Robertson
Why taking time out helps
What should I do if I keep getting stressed and exhausted over and over again?
If a pattern emerges of stress followed by exhaustion, Dr Robertson emphasises the importance of finding the root cause of the problem. What is it that is causing you to become stressed again and again? Maybe you find it difficult to say no. Maybe you take on too much responsibility. Maybe you feel under pressure to perform. Conversations with experts like the healthcare professionals at Park Igls can, in comibination with physical exercise, help you tackle these problems and develop strategies so that you don't keep on slipping back into the same old patterns again and again.
This work includes looking at your daily life as well as your relationships – be it within your family or at work. An overview of these important elements can be a real help when it comes to creating sustainable changes to your lifestyle with less stress and more relaxation.
If you are feeling stressed, make sure you take breaks and have a regular daily structure. Relaxation methods such as progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, breathing exercises and meditation can also help. Coaching is also essential in order to recognise and eliminate the underlying causes of this stress.
Common signs of excessive stress are sleeping problems lasting weeks or months as well as difficulties concentrating and paying attention to tasks in everyday life. People often also notice that they no longer enjoy certain things as much as they used to and lose interest in these things. Further physical signs include high blood pressure, tense muscles, headaches, digestive problems, stomach ulcers and cardiovascular diseases.
The body sends out alarm signals which manifest themselves in sleep disorders, high blood pressure, tense muscles, headaches, digestive problems and even stomach ulcers and cardiovascular diseases.
If you are feeling physically and mentally exhaused, it is really important to take time out. Structure your daily routine and ensure you have regular, healthy meals and sleep times. It also helps to reduce digital input from mobile phones and the like. Periods of tension should be followed by periods of relaxation. Relaxation techniques can be really useful to help you to find inner peace. Should none of this work, it is important to get support from a medical professional.
Dr Melanie Robertson
Dr Melanie Robertson is a clinical, neurological and health psychologist at the Park Igls Medical Spa Resort, where she is responsible for issues including stress prevention and the acute treatment of anxiety.