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Leisure illness: getting sick from vacation

It seems strange that people get sick from vacation, but it does happen. It is called the leisure disease or sometimes also called the reverse Kortjakje syndrome. This occurs in people who work a lot, regularly take work home and take little rest. People who never take the time to relax and keep running. A stress-related phenomenon, but how does it arise and what can you do about it?

Complaints of leisure illness

The complaints associated with leisure illness always arise during days off and often immediately at the beginning of a holiday. This is the most important characteristic of the disease, not the symptoms but the time at which the disease occurs. The patient usually has vague complaints such as extreme fatigue and nausea and sometimes also migraine, back pain, fever and flu-like symptoms. It appears that approximately three percent of the Dutch population suffers from this to a greater or lesser extent.

What causes leisure sickness?

Under high work pressure, the adrenaline level in the body increases. This high adrenaline level ensures that there is a higher focus on releasing energy and that symptoms of illness are temporarily suppressed. When the workload disappears, this disrupts the hormone balance that the body is used to. The result of this is a poorly functioning immune system, which temporarily increases susceptibility to disease.Another explanation lies in the personality of people prone to the leisure disease. These are people who like structure and control. They often find this in their work and this is often the reason why they feel at home here and prefer to work rather than relax. Relaxing causes stress because there is no structure and there are often things on the agenda (family visits, holidays) over which one has little control. This creates tension instead of relaxation, making them uncomfortable, not knowing what is expected of them and physically feeling bad.

Prevent complaints

It often helps to make the transition from work to free time less abrupt. Stopping a little earlier on Friday than the other days of the week and exercising every Friday evening can help.Many people are inclined to work extra hard just before their holiday to leave their work as tidy as possible. This ensures that enormous pressure is released once the holidays arrive and not everyone responds well to this. If you suffer from the leisure sickness every holiday, it is wise to take it easy at work in the last week or weeks before the holiday, in preparation for the holiday. This makes the transition a bit smoother and reduces the chance of complaints.Take a good look at your life and try to focus on things other than just your work. A good balance between work and private life is the best way to prevent the leisure disease. It is also wise to use coffee and alcohol in moderation.

When complaints do arise

If complaints arise during the first days of vacation or during the weekend, it can help to exercise. By exercising vigorously, excess adrenaline is removed from the body and it is often easier to relax afterwards. Most workaholics have enough self-discipline. Now use this self-discipline to develop healthy living habits with an active lifestyle during the days off and you will see that the physical complaints during these days off will automatically decrease and the enjoyment of your free time will increase.

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