The Germans have always been good at coming up with words for those emotions we all feel but don’t have a name for: schadenfreude, for example, or angst. “Freizeitstresse” is the latest, a term that literally translates as “free-time stress”.
Admittedly one doesn’t always get decent newspapers when staying with relatives. This was the Times, speculating once more about foreign languages. Those Germans are lucky to be able to make portmanteau words, albeit somewhat misspelt in this case. We could call it ‘recreational stress’, but that would not be one word.
Figures show that about 75 per cent of people are incapable of relaxing; even on holiday they experience high levels of stress and feel more overburdened than anything else,” says Professor Doctor Henning Allmer, a psychologist and expert in freizeitstresse at the German Sport University Cologne. “One of the reasons for this is because people take too much on. In Germany, at least, the idea of doing nothing has negative connotations. A ‘nichtstuer’ (a do-nothing) is a derogatory term. So there are people who fill their free time with a very busy schedule.”
LATER NOTE: The Times article, which was wrong in print and online, has now been corrected online (see comments).