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How to transition gently from work to holiday mode to avoid ‘leisure sickness’

Tuesday, 09th of June 2015

Why is it that so often when we take time out from work, we become ill? People who are never sick during work time seem to come down with headaches, colds and sickness as soon as they leave the everyday stresses and strains of the office behind.

The phenomena even has a name – leisure sickness - a term first coined by a Dutch psychologist.

The problems start when we work like mad up until the last possible moment. Even getting away is stressful. Packing is done in a rush; you dash around the house making sure everything is secure, and of course you have check you’ve got all your travel documents.

If you think you can simply flick a switch and move from that mad dash to languishing lazily on the beach doing nothing else all day, think again. The best way to make sure you have a truly relaxing, illness-free holiday is to gently make the change from work to leisure without trying to do it in one big step.

Try taking time to unwind a little each day before you officially start to slow down for your holiday – which let’s face it is often during the journey to wherever you’re going.Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, or a little gentle exercise each day, will help you get into holiday mode. Here are some tips to help you unwind gently.

1) Deep breathing or even just noticing your breathing for a minute will help you relax.

2) Make sure you always have a lunch break and walk away from your desk to eat. Go for a 10-minute walk outside if you can.

3) Turn off your mobile for an hour in the evening and listen to some music or read instead.

4) Spend a little time each day writing a journal or about something positive.

5) A little gentle exercise and stretching are always great.

6) Start a gratitude journal – note down five good things that happened in your day that you’re grateful for.

7) Change your travel route to experience some change and to get out of auto mode.

8) Spend a few minutes just listening to what is around you – just listen without needing to respond to anyone or anything.

9) Learn to delegate.

Have a fabulous, relaxing break from work, whatever you do this summer!

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