leisure sickness (noun): a purported syndrome, not universally recognized by psychologists, by which some people (typically characterized as workaholics) are more likely to report feeling ill during weekends and vacations than when working.
Below are instances where “leisure sickness” has been used in context.
“[Esther] Sternberg [a researcher of neuroendocrine immunology at the National Institutes of Health] says stress hormones go a long way toward explaining why most people who suffer from leisure sickness on vacation experience their symptoms within the first couple of days after they stop work … “
—Los Angeles Times, Perhaps it’s a case of ‘leisure sickness’
“Ad Vingerhoets, an associate professor of clinical health psychology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, calls it ‘leisure sickness.’ Just when you take a break from your busy schedule to enjoy a little relaxation, your leisure time becomes anything but—full of aches and pains, cold- and flu-like symptoms and other health complaints.”
—Washington Post, Downtime: It’s Enough to Make Some People Sick
“Approximately 3% of both men and women reported symptoms in line with the researchers’ definition of leisure sickness … Most of those surveyed linked their symptoms to stress and difficulty ‘switching off’ when they took breaks from work. The researchers found that those with a heavy workload or those who had a high sense of responsibility were most at risk.”
—BBC News, Why we get ill at weekends
“One of the most common symptoms of leisure sickness is migraines. Dr Anne MacGregor, director of the City of London Migraine Clinic, says it has been well recognised that migraine attacks frequently occur during downtime. ‘We think it’s a let-down response. Your body copes with stress because you can see the weekend or a holiday in sight.’ Then, when you stop, it catches up with you.”
—Guardian.co.uk, Sick on arrival
“Although researchers found few lifestyle differences between those with leisure sickness and those without, the study suggests people with a large workload, high need for achievement, and a strong sense of responsibility with respect to work may be especially vulnerable to the problem.”
—WebMD, Too Sick for a Vacation
“Most of those affected had been suffering from leisure sickness for over 10 years and associated the onset of the illness with a major life event, such as marriage, birth of a first child or a change of job. Many of those affected shared certain characteristics – a high workload, perfectionism, eagerness to achieve and an over-developed sense of responsibility to their work, making it difficult for them to switch off out of work.
—Buzzle.com, Health: Leisure Sickness
“What can you do if you’re retired and feel you suffer from leisure sickness? One solution, of course, is to return to a job you enjoy, or increase your level of involvement – have more meaningful activity and less leisure.”
—Let Life In, Leisure Sickness: Warning! Retirement can Make You Ill
“From a stress standpoint, many people are able to feel less stress when they deliberately focus on the present, not allowing their jobs to ‘come home with them.’ This can’t always be mastered, but if every vacation represents another bout of leisure sickness, it might well be worth investigating how to change your attitude toward work.”
—Vonteri’s Blog for better tomorrow Leisure?
” … I used to suffer something chronic from Leisure Sickness almost every single weekend. I would wake up Saturday morning either with a cold or feeling like I had the flu. This would continue into Sunday, but Monday morning like magic I’d be OK again—tired but the cold/flu would be gone.”
—The Travel Cooler, Cure yourself of Leisure Sickness
“What can you do if you’re retired and feel you suffer from leisure sickness? One solution, of course, is to return to a job you enjoy, or increase your level of involvement—have more meaningful activity and less leisure. Exercise is great for reducing negative stress, and developing a better sense of life-work balance can also be helpful.”
—Basil & Spice, Can Retirement Make You Sick?