The Distress Signal: Why Your Body Gets Sick When You Rest and Relax

The Distress Signal: Why Your Body Gets Sick When You Rest and Relax

Have you ever experienced feeling ill just as you're about to take a long awaited break from work? It’s more common than you think. This phenomenon is commonly known as 'leisure sickness' and researchers have been investigating the reasons behind it. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, headaches, muscle pains, and other flu-like symptoms. If you can relate to this, then it's crucial to know that your body is sending you a distress signal.

Why does this happen?

During the period leading up to a break from work, many people work frantically to complete their tasks, leading to increased stress. This additional stress can add to our regular daily stress, which can be overwhelming and may not be balanced with proper self-care. Stress is like an invisible parasite that feeds on the body's resources. It releases a hormone called cortisol, which is not necessarily harmful in itself as the body produces varying levels of cortisol throughout the day.

However, it becomes problematic when cortisol levels are too high over a long period of time. This happens when we experience chronic stress. Elevated cortisol can suppress the immune system while burning through significant nutrients.

When we take a break from work, cortisol levels are reduced. This causes overloaded systems to malfunction and the body to require repair and maintenance. However, because we have been too busy to take care of our bodies properly, the immune system is weakened, and the body becomes vulnerable to illness. Flu-like symptoms are the body's way of telling us to slow down, and in high-stress mode, we are too busy to notice.

How can I prevent getting sick?

To prevent leisure sickness, it's crucial to nourish the body by eating nutrient-rich foods and prioritizing meal times. Quick takeaways and snacks should be avoided as they are calorie-dense and nutrient-poor.  You want to give your body the right nutrients so it can do its job properly. When you're stressed, your body uses up a lot of important nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C.

These nutrients help your immune system stay strong, so you want to make sure you're replenishing them. Getting enough sleep is also really important because it helps your body heal and recharge. And don't forget to take care of yourself by doing things that make you feel good like exercising and relaxing.

We are only gifted with one body. We need to take care of it with the respect it deserves and, in return, it will reward us with being able to think clearly and feel our best when we need it most. 

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