Have you ever worked so much to squeeze everything in before going on vacation and feeling like you have a cold or tickle in your throat? This is actually not that uncommon. There is a medical condition called Leisure Sickness that explains this. Leisure sickness is when you work too much you become ill during a weekend or holiday where you finally allow your body to relax. This can be due to working too hard before a vacation or merely stressing too much before a major holiday, vacation, or weekend.
Leisure sickness can bring on lots of different symptoms. You could just suffer from some minor fatigue, or even have terrible migraines. Other symptoms could be muscle aches, flu-like symptoms, nausea, insomnia, depression, irritability or anxiety.
As you work hard, or stress your body increases the levels of cortisol and adrenaline hormones in your body. As you start to relax for your weekend or holiday these levels start to drop which in return weaken your immune system.
Workaholics beware. This raises the chance of you suffering from leisure sickness if you are a workaholic. Someone who is always on the go, can have raised cortisol and adrenaline levels as their normal, so when you finally slow down to relax your body has a higher chance of catching a cold. This also includes people who have a hard time switching from work to relaxation.
Other people who seem to be at a higher risk for leisure sickness are people with a perfectionist personality, the stress of perfection can also raise your hormone levels, causing a drop in them when you relax.
Men also have a higher chance of suffering from leisure sickness more so than women, though anyone can have this illness.
What can you do to help prevent this illness? Some people have found it has helped to switch jobs completely, moving to a less stressful, less demanding job makes it easier for them to not be so overly consumed by their work.
Other things you can do is live a healthy lifestyle. Learn to reduce stress daily. This can be prayer, meditation, yoga, whatever works for you to destress you. This will help your body learn to relax daily instead of just when you turn off work for a weekend or vacation.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. Adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. Sleep deprivation can cause you to be more susceptible to illness as well.
Healthy diet with good hydration can also be beneficial, as well as daily exercise.
When you do go on vacation make sure you don’t over schedule yourself. Being too busy on vacation can actually cause you to come home feeling fatigued or sick.
Slowing down and learning to relax can be hard for some people. Especially people who are very work driven and ambitious. So taking small steps to stop work, such as set a schedule of when you will check your emails or messages while you are on vacation or during a weekend.
You can also try scheduling certain activities for you to do before you get where you are going on vacation so you know when you are busy and can plan work things around your vacation. Starting to change how you think about your work can also be helpful in decreasing your chances of getting leisure sickness. This can mean putting less stress on yourself, learning to say no to more projects, or even leaving work at the office so your home is a no work zone if possible.
Leisure sickness is a real illness. Though some people think it is all in their heads that they are just imagining they are sick, their symptoms can be very real. Overworking or overstressing can make you feel ill when you finally slow down and take a break. No one wants to spend their holidays under the weather. So make sure you learn to destress, prioritize your days, and learn to relax daily so that your body is accustomed to relaxation.
Find yourself sick when you finally slow down for a weekend or vacation? You could be suffering from Leisure Sickness! #HealthStatus
Workaholics and Perfectionists be aware of your increased risk for Leisure Sickness!
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