What does Leisure Sickness Mean?

More than a quarter of a million Germans always get a headache at the weekend and they get sick when they are free or on vacation and they want to recover from the stress of work. This is referred to as leisure sickness.

What is leisure sickness?

Anyone who is exposed to constant stress at work initially only notices an unusual degree of tiredness during the rest phases. The body has now gotten used to constant tension and perceives the rest phases as stress. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviations related to Leisure Sickness.

Leisure sickness is a typical leisure time illness. Those affected, who are often workaholics, or at least people subject to high levels of stress, regularly feel ill during weekends and holidays.

Leisure time to relax and regenerate is very important, especially for people who are overworked and stressed at work. But these people get sick exactly when the stress from their job eases, the weekend or vacation begins.


Leisure sickness often affects people who are very ambitious, motivated and responsible at work. You always want to do everything perfectly. They forget to take enough breaks and to take care of themselves. These people have high expectations of themselves and life. For them, a break does not represent a recovery phase, but they often perceive it as a kind of inner emptiness.

A possible explanation could therefore be found in stress : The pressure that causes stress stimulates the immune system so that it works at full speed. The body learns not to get sick when stressed. If this stress disappears, the immune system shuts down and the body becomes ill. These include not only weekend headaches or excessive tiredness, but also illnesses such as colds. Those affected react sensitively to the transition from stress to phases of rest. The body can no longer relieve the tension in these people. So he gets sick. However, these personalities are not only threatened by leisure sickness, but also by burnout syndrome.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

In particular, those affected see the first signs and symptoms of leisure sickness as a harmless reaction of the body and therefore ignore them. Anyone who is exposed to constant stress at work initially only notices an unusual degree of tiredness during the rest phases. Your body has now gotten used to constant tension, often for years, and now perceives the rest phases as stressful.

This leads to the unusual relaxation being expressed in the psycho-vegetative system reacting violently. It begins with tiredness and is followed by migraines, body aches, immune deficiency, flu infections, vomiting and even depression. This is also the reason why many heart attacks do not happen during peak loads, but at night, during leisure time or on vacation. It is very important not to ignore these physical warning signs. There are also sufferers who generally just feel uncomfortable.

Diagnosis & course of disease

The diagnosis can be made if it is determined again and again that symptoms and signs of illness occur during rest periods, i.e. at the weekend or on vacation. First of all, a doctor must examine whether there are physical reasons behind it. If this is not the case, it is probably leisure sickness. These mental processes can contribute to permanent high blood pressure.

The heartbeat increases and blood flow increases. Particularly at risk are workaholics and perfectionists, people who just can’t switch off, want to control everything and are constantly under pressure, so to speak. However, the human body needs a harmonious alternation between contraction and relaxation. However, once the body has got used to the constant tension and thus also to a constantly high adrenaline level, the immune system works at full speed.

Idleness and relaxation is perceived as stress. The psyche and the nervous system react to this by making the body exhausted or ill. Ignoring the warning signs can result in burnout or physical illness.


Although leisure sickness is not a life-threatening symptom, it should definitely be examined and treated by a doctor. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications and, in the worst case, to the death of the patient. As a rule, those affected suffer from flu-like symptoms, especially when they are resting or on vacation. This leads to infections or inflammation and fever.

The resilience of those affected also drops significantly and the patients suffer from fatigue and exhaustion. The patient’s immune system is weakened and headaches and body aches occur. A general feeling of illness also occurs. In the worst case, the person affected can also suffer a stroke due to leisure sickness and possibly die from it.

The patient’s life expectancy is significantly reduced and limited by leisure sickness. Those affected also continue to suffer from high blood pressure and general tension. Leisure sickness can be treated with the help of various relaxation therapies or techniques. There are no particular complications. In general, it cannot be predicted whether leisure sickness will lead to a reduction in life expectancy.

When should you go to the doctor?

Leisure sickness does not always have to be treated by a doctor. Rest, relaxation and ahealthy lifestyleto overcome the discomfort. Typical symptoms such as migraines or nausea usually subside on their own after a few days without work-related stress. If they persist for a longer period of time or occur again during the next vacation, the doctor must be informed. People who feel severely restricted by leisure sickness should speak to the immediately family doctor immediately. The doctor can rule out serious causes and prescribe a mild sedative.

If the symptoms are based on a psychological cause, he may also consult a therapist. If you have acute symptoms, you should consult the responsible doctor. Patients suffering from gastrointestinal problems first speak to the gastroenterologist, while cardiovascular problems should be clarified with an internist. Muscle or joint pain can be treated by a chiropractor or orthopedist, but also by a physical therapist.

Treatment & Therapy

It is very important that fundamental changes take place in the lives of those affected. A new job is often the solution, but this is often not so easy to implement. Then the person concerned should question his life and change his perspective. It is important to realize that work is not the most important thing and that the focus should be on family, friends or hobbies. The relationship between work and free time must be balanced.

Conscious relaxation phases must be built into everyday work. However, such a rethinking is usually not easy for those affected. You have to learn to relax all over again. Various methods can be used to facilitate this process, such as yoga or progressive muscle relaxation. Physical activity and other hobbies can also be helpful.

Outlook & Forecast

In principle, a good prognosis for leisure sickness is possible with a change in lifestyle and everyday processes. Existing stressors must be reduced and the structure of life should be optimized. Those affected can take various self-help measures independently and on their own initiative in order to achieve improvement or recovery.

Medical treatment is often not the solution to the problems at hand. Sufficient attention to the needs of one’s own organism is necessary. There should be a good balance between professional activities and leisure activities. Sleep hygiene needs to be revised and optimized. As soon as complaints occur, there is a need for action on the part of the person concerned. Relaxation techniques or meditation procedures help with good health development.

If the affected person does not make sufficient changes in the long term, an unfavorable course of the disease can occur. These have a significant influence on the immune system and thus on the entire circulatory system of the body. Although the disease will not lead to death, there is still the possibility that secondary diseases will develop. For this reason, the person concerned is asked to make fundamental changes in his life. With a healthy diet, sufficient exercise and the promotion of well-being, a significant alleviation of the symptoms can be observed in most patients.


A good way to prevent leisure sickness is to consciously integrate leisure activities into everyday life. The body needs periods of rest in order to recharge its batteries and gain strength. It is important to rethink and gain a new perspective on your own life. In principle, work can be important, but not more important than family, free time and relaxation.

The transition from work to leisure should also be actively managed. A strong immune system is generally less susceptible to pathogens. Sufficient sleep, a healthy and balanced diet and plenty of exercise in the fresh air are therefore also important.


In the case of leisure sickness, only very limited measures and options for aftercare are usually possible, with early detection and treatment being the priority for this disease, so that further compilations or other complaints do not occur. The earlier a doctor is consulted, the better the further course of the disease, so that the person concerned should contact a doctor as soon as the first symptoms and signs of leisure sickness appear.

In general, the sufferer should rest to reduce the discomfort of leisure sickness. No stressful or physical activities should be carried out, especially on weekends and during leisure time, so as not to unnecessarily strain the body. Various techniques for relaxing the muscles can also help to reduce the symptoms of leisure sickness, so yoga or other relaxation measures are particularly helpful.

However, in the case of leisure sickness, intensive and loving conversations with the person affected can also have a positive effect on the course of the illness. Contact with other patients with the disease is often very useful, as this leads to an exchange of information.

You can do that yourself

People who suffer from leisure sickness again and again need to change their lifestyle habits first and foremost. The triggering stress should be reduced as far as possible, for example through more regular breaks at work and more free time in the evenings.

After work, you should no longer think about professional tasks and the like, so that the body can rest. It is advisable to switch off the smartphone and also to avoid social media. Instead, you can read a good book or cook something in peace. Spending time with family and friends also helps to unwind after a busy day. Yoga, progressive muscle relaxation and massage help the body to release stress hormones in a healthy way and reduce the risk of leisure sickness.

When the holiday is coming up, the stress level should be reduced gradually, because this gives the immune system time to prepare for the upcoming free time. In the case of acute symptoms, the only thing that usually helps is to wait and cure the illness. In addition to medical preparations, various natural remedies can be used to counteract nausea, headaches and other symptoms.

Leisure Sickness