Have you ever geared up for a holiday only to arrive and fall unwell?

Word has it:

“Leisure Sickness” is a phrase first used by Dutch psychologist Ad Vingerhiets. Whilst there is not a huge amount of research on this it could be that the statistics remain low and it is the dire experience of being ill at the onset of holiday which is really hard to forget. Typical illnesses include headaches, fatigue, sore throats, cold and flu like symptoms.

The evidence:

Ad Vingerhoets conducted a study with 1893 holiday cases in 2001. He put illness at the onset of arriving at your oasis down to the transition between work and holiday. Gearing towards annual leave is often a stressful time causing hormones like adrenalin and cortisol to coarse through our bodies. Of course these are handy hormones in handling the pressure and sustaining our immune systems, however, once on holiday the pressure is off and our bodies can let their guard down. The stark contrast leaves our immune system susceptible to nasties. This is one hypothesis and there is still ongoing research to support this.

Phillip Calder, nutritional immunologist of Southampton University says our bodies encounter a whole new set of bacteria and viruses when we visit a foreign country starting as early as the plane trip when we sit in close proximity to others for a confined period of time. Stomach illness is one of the most common holiday illnesses experienced according to holiday insurance companies.

The onset of illness may lie in some of our holiday behaviours. Becoming a sun worshipper overnight and packing in the UV rays. Possibly holiday binge drinking and a continual series of late nights. It could even be that exercise goes out the window.

Following through:

We all have a choice in managing our stress levels. At Work Wise Wellness we encourage you to make healthy choices everyday. Making this choice especially before we go away helps make the transition between work and holiday less of a jolt. In managing your workload, be strategic with your schedule, be discerning and learn to say NO! Don’t leave the crucial tasks for the day before you go. Prioritise and then manage the expectations of those around you. Consider empowering your team members to take on some responsibility by delegating and letting go.

Make the transition of coming off the treadmill of life less radical. Leading up to departure really focus on your wellbeing practice. Keep a close eye on your fluid intake; don’t let exercise slip off your agenda and especially not sleep. No matter how frantic the lead up to your last work day is, your daily recalibration and relaxation fix must remain in your schedule whether is a breathing technique, meditation or a long soak in the bath.

When thinking about the gut consider that this is where most of our immune system is located. On holiday our diet and lifestyle changes, so having an effect on digestion and immunity. Just like we protect our skin with sunscreen line your tummy with probiotics and prebiotics to prevent diarrhoea and constipation. These enhance the good bacteria in your gut.  (Prof. Glenn Gibson, head of microbial science, Reading University)

Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!

Stay Well,

Leigh McKay

Through our holistic approach we work with individuals and teams to maximise their productivity through effective wellbeing practise. Managing stress and creating a happy workplace results in everyday feeling like a holiday.