What is Leisure Sickness and How Can You Avoid It?

September 20

We've all been there, right? Feeling pumped up that we now have a lovely holiday from school or work. It is going to be amazing and you've armed yourself with lists of things you cannot wait to do. So, there we are dancing away with excitement then BOOM! We're sick. It's called leisure sickness, my friends.

Disclosure: If you purchase anything from links in this post or any other, I may receive some kind of affiliate commission. However, I only ever mention products I love and would recommend whether I was being compensated or not.


And it's not just a few sniffles... Nah, we can handle a few sniffles. No, no, this is full-blown, cancel all plans and go to bed, sickness.

When this leisure sickness strikes, I imagine you'd be pretty annoyed. Well you would be if you're anything like me. So, why now? Why are you falling ill now?

Well, the answer is so simple it, in itself, is sickening! It is all because we've stopped! It is also probably because we had that lie-in on our first day off. That beautiful, long awaited lie-in, now means we're going to be sick during our rare period of free time.

You see, we now live in a world where we rarely stop - even if we think we do.

What is Leisure Sickness?

When we're at work or school, we're running around trying to get from A to Z. It doesn't matter if you don't feel like you do stressful work, you'll still feel a sense of responsibility. We worrying about deadlines, fitting things in, and what everyone else is doing. People are surrounded by pressure and stress all the time. Whether these pressures are internal or external, we end up being fuelled by adrenaline. Adrenaline helps us to cope with pressures and stress. But it can also boost the immune system, helping fight infections and keeping us well.

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So, it makes complete sense that when we don't set our alarms and have that lovely lie-in, the adrenaline wears off. Our bodies then take the opportunity to repair any illnesses or aches and pains that have been building up.

Hey-presto! Your holiday is now all about cold-remedies and the softest tissues you can find.

As I say, it even has a name! Leisure Sickness: Coined by Dutch psychologists Ad Vingerhoets at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Although there haven't been any significant studies, it is a well-known occurrence. Getting sick while on holiday, that is.

So, what do we do to avoid this? How can we make the most of our time off and enjoy ourselves at every opportunity?

How do we avoid leisure sickness?

Self-care, of course! Nope, self-care is not some trending woo-woo term that we ought to ignore because it'll go away soon. Practicing self-care increases productivity and motivation spreads positivity and improves confidence and concentration. It also decreases the chances of becoming unwell. The latter being exactly what we're are looking for.

If we can find an activity (or a range of activities) that we can take time each day today, for ourselves, our chances of getting sick reduce. A self-care practice also improves our mental and physical well-being on a daily basis. Not just on holiday or during weekends!

Looking after yourself and taking 5-30 minutes out of your day is not selfish. The world will not end if you go for a walk, take a 15-minute power nap, or even stare at a wall for 20 minutes. Whatever leisure activities you enjoy can, and probably will make you healthier.

And it definitely won’t end if you turn your phone off during that time, too.

In case you're wondering: Yes I am writing this because I've had a disgusting cold for the last five days!

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Disclosure: If you purchase anything from links in this post or any other, I may receive some kind of affiliate commission. However, I only ever mention products I love and would recommend whether I was being compensated or not.


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