How to find mental rest
This internal stress, the hustle and bustle in the head and the spiralling thoughts sometimes need to be stopped. “As humans we are complex biopsychosocial art works. As well as healthy food and exercise, we also need self-care to be able to remain healthy,” explains Monika Fenz. This includes regular relaxation, taking breaks and practising mindfulness.
Different temperaments and levels of activity including socialising and a person’s specific situation play a role in how well a person deals with having a lot to do instead of resting. “People differ in terms of their intensity, but it’s important to watch out for the point at which it all becomes too much. Noticing and recognising this is the first step,” says the expert. These high levels of stress are common in this day and age, and one of the reasons for this is the constant strain of the pandemic.
At times when everything feels like it’s too much, Fenz recommends finding time to take a pause: “Sit down, consciously focus on where you are, what you currently need, what you are feeling and thinking and only then decide what you want to do next.” If you want to, you can write down the thoughts and feelings you have, so you can order the spinning thoughts.
Walking in nature helps, too: “Take 20 minutes a day to walk. If you don’t have much time and have a lot to do, walk for an hour.”
Other exercises include placing the soles of your feet on the floor and consciously feeling them for a few minutes. Fenz says “do it whenever you think about it. People who practise mindfulness are never bored. You can do it when waiting for a tram or when you’re stuck in traffic – just do it every time you have a free minute.”
When overwhelming situations actually occur, you often forget what you’ve practised. “Thinking about it afterwards is then followed by trying it out for the first time, mostly without success. Don't give up – it will work eventually,” explains the therapist. Talking to uninvolved third parties provides indispensable support during stressful life situations.
We need appreciative interactions to be ourselves.
When the whirling thoughts in your head become too much, contact one of the numerous family counseling centers in Austria. You can talk to an expert there.
Our interview partner
Monika Fenz is a family advisor for the Pedagogical Psychological Center (PPZ) in Perchtoldsdorf, Lower Austria. As well as training as a systemic family therapist, she is also a trained interdisciplinary mobile early support worker and family support worker (based on the Vienna model), supervisor, coach, SAFE® mentor, system constellation specialist, family planning counselor and registered advisor according to Section 95(1a) of the Non-Contentious Proceedings Act of the Austrian Federal Chancellery - Division of Family and Youth.
The interview was conducted in January 2022.