Do You Suffer From ‘Idleness Disease’? Tips To Avoid It

Stress and work days give way to a time of rest and relaxation, but this does not always start in the best possible way.

The weekend arrives, a long weekend or the long-awaited summer holidays with many plans ahead and suddenly you get sick. After intense activity and when you are already on the verge of a well-deserved rest, it is not unusual to start experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Headaches, colds, tiredness, nausea, and muscle pains come at the most inopportune moment to ruin long-awaited days of enjoyment. Well, it may not be a coincidence or a last-minute cold snap, but rather the disease of idleness. It is a relatively common phenomenon and, although it is not a formally recognized medical condition, it has been the subject of study and discussion in the field of psychology and psychosomatic medicine.

Causes of ‘leisure sickness’

Leisure sickness can be caused by different reasons, some of which are:

Stress and changes in routine

One of the main causes of leisure sickness is stress and changes in routine. The body of people who live under prolonged periods of stress produces a lot of cortisol to maintain their immune system. When stress suddenly decreases at the beginning of the holidays and the person relaxes, the levels of this hormone can also decrease, leaving the body temporarily more vulnerable to infections.

Autonomic nervous system

The autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate and digestion, can also react with certain physical symptoms to the change in pace of life that prevails on vacation. In addition, during periods of rest when the body relaxes, one can again become aware of symptoms of exhaustion and stress that one had ignored while immersed in the frenetic activity of daily life.

A man with fever symptoms measures his body temperature with a thermometer.

A man with fever symptoms measures his body temperature with a thermometer.

Expectation of enjoyment

The expectation of enjoying free time to the full can generate anxiety when the time for rest finally arrives and manifests itself in the form of different physical symptoms. In addition, during the holidays we change our sleeping patterns (we stay up late more and get up less early), our eating patterns (we eat different foods and at different times), and our physical activity patterns (we spend more time lying down or sitting outdoors), which can also influence our immune system and, ultimately, our health.

Increased exposure to germs

Traveling can also be a reason for getting sick, in this case, more for physical than psychological reasons. Frequently visiting airports, airplanes, hotels or other public places increases exposure to new germs and bacteria, which increases the risk of contracting diseases.

Measures to prevent it

In any case, to avoid getting sick when the most anticipated days of the week, month, or year arrive, certain preventive measures can be adopted. Some of them are:

1- Maintain a balanced routine. Throughout any given week and in the days leading up to vacation, it is important to try to balance work and rest instead of abruptly switching from a state of high activity to one of absolute inactivity.

2- Stress management. Practicing techniques such as meditation or yoga regularly, and not just on vacation, will help reduce and better control stress and help you reach those rest periods much more relaxed.

3- Maintain healthy habits. Because it is a period of rest, one cannot lie around all day. It is important to maintain a regular sleep routine, eat a balanced diet, and engage in moderate physical activity.

Una mujer con mascarilla espera la salida de su vuelo.

A woman wearing a face mask waits for her flight to depart.

4- Take care of your immune system. Following a healthy dietexercising regularly, and getting enough rest will help keep your immune system strong and significantly reduce your chances of getting sick.

5- Flexible planning. We must avoid setting expectations that are too high or falling into excessive rigidity when planning our rest time, because otherwise, it will end up being counterproductive and, paradoxically, leisure time will generate more anxiety.

6- Professional attention. If symptoms are severe or persistent, it may be helpful to consult a doctor or psychologist for guidance and support.

Knowing what it consists of, and how we can avoid this disease of leisure can help us enjoy our time off more fully and from the very first moment.