Struck down by LS

November 7, 2023 in Health & Fitness, Mindset

I always knew it was a “thing” for people to get ill when they take time off work, but apparently there’s a name for it, created by Dr Ad Vingerhoets, professor of clinical psychology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands:

Leisure Sickness. 

I can’t help but cringe about the creation of yet another sickness label for people to scare themselves on WebMD about, but I can also appreciate how useful it is for people to understand why and how they can take better care of themselves.

Leisure sickness (or LS as I will call it, because that makes it sounds far more important and potentially life-threatening) occurs because, in Dr Ad’s words, ‘Stress hormones, such as adrenalin, stimulate your immune system, helping you stay healthy when you have deadlines…but when you stop and relax, those hormones can get out of balance, leaving you open to illness.’

What’s the answer he suggests? 

Schedule in your holiday wind down a few days before take-off.

Ah. Balls. 

That’s where we went wrong. 

The lead up to our holiday involved preparing for our epic client quarterly event a couple of weeks ago on the Tuesday, then dashing straight up to Nottingham that evening to visit our daughter (feeling totally knackered), spending the day with her (at a spa, admittedly, so not too much like hard work) then heading straight to Birmingham on Wednesday evening to spend Thursday at another coaching event, before driving back down to Dorset that evening to get a couple of hours sleep before having the grandchildren for the day on Friday.


It’s small wonder I picked up someone’s germs either at the spa, at some grubby motorway service station, or through the grandchildren wiping their noses on me, and spent most of the following week caning painkillers and developing a rather sexy Barry White voice. 

Anyhoo! I’m very pleased to say I still managed to enjoy my time off and I’ll tell you more about it in subsequent emails, but right now I want you to go into your calendars and see when you’re next taking some time off work and ask yourself if you’re allowing yourself enough time to unwind gently before you stop completely. 

And yes - it is easier said than done. 

They say you can either be a warning or an example to people. 

I spend my whole life aiming to be a great example, but right now I’m a big 5-Alarm Warning

Go do the calendar thing now!

The author 

Vicki LaBouchardiere