If you’re a perfectionist, an overachiever or a workaholic, you’re at higher risk of the modern phenomenon known as ‘leisure sickness’. This medical condition attacks the moment you take some much-needed downtime. For instance, you’ve worked hard on a project for weeks at the office and now that you’ve finished, you’re off on a short getaway to recharge. But the moment you let yourself relax, you’re struck by cold and flu-like symptoms, nausea, muscular pains or migraines. These symptoms can hang around for months and really take the wind out of your sails.
Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, explains: ‘Scientists believe overachievers and people who generally have a high workload, along with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility towards work, are more susceptible to the condition. When at work your body is in a state of defence as it requires your complete focus, but when you’re on leave, your defence mechanism relaxes, and you become more vulnerable to illness.’
There’s also a theory suggesting people are (unconsciously) able to postpone illness to a more ‘appropriate’ time, says Nicole. She warns against ignoring leisure sickness, and suggests you slow down a little by:
Setting boundaries by making a list of things you can say no to, delay or delegate, and make time for things that make you happy and relaxed. This way, your body won’t experience