We all look forward to the weekends, and the opportunities that those two precious days off provide for doing exactly as we please.
It’s one of life’s great ironies, however, that just as we’re about to clock onto ‘me time’, all energy and motivation miraculously fall by the wayside.
It’s a phenomenon known as ‘Leisure Sickness', and is defined as a pattern of headaches, muscle pains, fatigue, nausea and flu-like symptoms which coincide typically with weekends and holidays. The symptoms predictably then dissipate once the person returns to work, or gets back to their usual routine.
Dr Ad Vingerhoets and Maaike Van Huijgevoort are the experts who coined the term, and they claim that work-related stress is the root of the phenomenon, alongside a perfectionist personality type which impedes the shift from work to relaxation. More specifically, the theories behind this phenomenon range from from competition for symptom perception (busyness during the week distracting us from noticing red flag symptoms), mind over matter (the power to postpone illness to a more appropriate time) and, lastly, the fact that body defenses and responses are sharper during the week when we’re in a state of high alert, and then dwindle when the adrenaline is switched off at the weekend.
So what’s the solution? Well, if you can't change your job or lifestyle in general, then Vingerhoets suggests exercising on a Friday evening, which can apparently help with the transition from work to weekend.