Why do we get ill when we go on holiday?

Have you ever wondered why the first few days of your holiday you feel ill…exhausted, headaches, aching joints, feelings of emotional and mental numbness!

You’ve been looking forward to taking some time out to enjoy with friends and family but as soon as you switch off, your body goes into shut down. Why is this?

In a society where we constantly live with a level of stress, we are overloading our sympathetic nervous system. Stimulating increased levels of cortisol in our bodies that raise our heart rate and blood pressure, and suppress our immune system.

This chronic (long term) stress shifts when we finally switch off to take a break, but rather than return to a physical and mental equilibrium as the parasympathetic nervous system takes over, holiday illness is triggered by a third, autonomous nervous state. The parasympathetic dorsal vagal system. Sustained stress causes a response where the body effectively goes into shut down and it can take days to recover.

But who wants to waste half a holiday feeling unwell?

If you’d like to make the most of your time off and avoid getting ill on holiday here’s a few tips to help get you ready…

One month before your holiday…

By checking in with your physical, mental, and emotional health and making a few small adjustments, you will give your immune system the boost it needs to ensure you enjoy every minute of your holiday.

Step up your exercise

Getting in the gym to prep your beach body will not only benefit your self confidence it allows the body to stimulate the release of endorphins which are good for your physical and mental health.

If the gym isn’t for you, any form of increased exercise is good, try dancing to your favourite playlist; running or walking in the park.

As an aside, music is a great distraction from stress; organising your holiday playlist is a great way to prepare. It fires up the limbic system responsible for memories and emotions and the positive association will help get you into the holiday mood.

How is your diet?

Reducing the number of processed foods and increasing your vegetable and fruit intake will start to prepare your body for a change in diet whilst you’re on holiday, it will also help support your gut health which increases your body’s resistance to illness.

Boosting your Vitamin D levels is a great way to support your immune system, if you can’t get outside regularly for 20 minutes a day, consider taking a supplement.

We often increase our alcohol intake on holiday, so if you can stop, or reduce, drinking alcohol before you go away and replace it with a soft drink you’ll probably find the extra hydration will leave you with more energy and you’ll find you have better focus in the run up to your holiday.

Sleep 30 minutes more a night

Holidays are often a time to catch up on sleep, but if you can grab a few extra hours in before you go away; even going to bed 30 mins earlier will help you avoid getting ill on holiday.

Sleep is one of the most effective opportunities our body has to recover and recharge itself.

One week before…

Plan your handover one week before you leave for holiday; not the last 15minutes of the last day!

It doesn’t mean you have to stop work but it will mean you can be more productive and nothing will get missed. Knowing that important tasks are covered will Also allow you to relax and not be worrying about work whilst away.

Try and refrain from putting any big meetings into the diary that last week. Who needs, or wants the stress of preparation and then the fall out tasks, which are usually equally important and time sensitive. You’ll be much more focused when you get back!

One day before…

Out of Office on, with a reliable contact in place in need of emergencies. Time to switch off and relax. We’ll see you when you get back..don’t forget a treat for the team!

leave work for holiday

Log-off and switch off

Need a last minute de-stress?

We can help, we are experts at speeding up the relaxation process so if you’d like us to come and visit your team and prepare them for their holidays give us a call, 01772 283139 or email us at hello@yolowellbeing.co.uk, we’d love to hear from you. And we don’t want you to get ill when you go on holiday!


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