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Why you often get sick when you finish work to go on vacation – and what you can do to help prevent it

Have you noticed that people often get sick on the first days of their transition from work to holidays (holidaysvacation for US readers)?

Around this time of year, millions of people wind up their work to take a Christmas break – and many of them get sick, just in time for their holiday.


work vacation

Has this happened to you? It’s certainly happened to me and not just around Christmas vacation – much to my annoyance! It seems that as soon as I slow down and take a break, I get ill.

But there are things you can do to reduce the chance of getting ill.

I asked Julia Tyack* from Tyack Health – why we often get ill when we go on holidays (vacation) – and, more importantly, what we can do about it.

If you know anyone else who can benefit from Julia’s tips – please feel free to share this post. Also, if YOU have any tips on how YOU avoid getting sick when you take a break, please share in the comments section below.

Tony: So Julia, why do we often get sick as soon as we finish work and go on holidays.

Julia: While we are at work our bodies are in a state of regularity and routine.  Our bodies are running smoothly – like running a car regularly. We have regularity and familiarity – even though we are often looking forward to holidays and a change of routine.

Interesting. So that regularity of work actually keeps us healthy?

It does.  My saying is: “We are often safer and healthier in boss’s time.”

When we go on holidays we can lose that regularity and familiarity of work and we don’t have what I call “good stress”.

What’s “Good stress”?

Yes – a certain amount of stress – not too much – can actually be good for us. Work place focus and busyness increases glandular output of things such as adrenalin and norepinephrine.  Our “Get up and go” (fright and flight) hormones boost the immune system, the body’s defence against infection.

It is thought that even the psychological shift from having to perform to not having pressure to perform gives the immune system “permission” to let down its guard. So when we relax, our immune system relaxes too.

When we go on holidays, the first few days of the change is when we are the most vulnerable.  


We need to prepare for that change from work to holidays. Try to make it a smoother transition and try to keep up some regularity – even though holidays are often about a break from routine.


WaterWonderland Vacation retro


So what can we do to have a smoother transition?


I’d say the first thing to do is to realise that one immune boosting factor is reduced so boost other immune enhancers – fresh air and water, early morning sunshine, exercise. Have a good  diet with reduced sweet and rich foods. Try to maintain some regularity with sleep patterns and exercise and diet.

What can we do before going on holidays to make sure we are healthy and ‘fighting fit’ for when we are on holidays – especially for that vulnerable time?

Unfortunately finishing up work to go on leave can be one of the most intense times of the working year – getting that desk cleared. So that contrast between stress and relaxation is very severe.

But here’s what you can do.

1.Plan where possible all year –  Prioritise, pace, and above all, stay centred avoiding excess of the flight and fright hormone output before holidays.

2. Keep your body’s engines clean – Make a habit to flush the digestive system first thing of a morning with a warm-hot cup of water.

It’s best if the water is warmer than body temperature, drunk down not sipped, first thing in the morning.  The Pyloric valve at the base of the stomach will stay open, the water quickly flushes through the stomach into the small intestine usually producing a good elimination within 20 minutes.  If dinner has been a heavy meal and eaten late this may make you feel “a bit off”.

3. Plan outdoor time in the fresh air, exercise and sunlight and enjoy light refreshing foods from nature.

4. Focus the mind with gratitude, charity, forgiveness and love appreciating others for their “otherness” – how they are being different from us.  Source good news wherever possible and make holidays a time of avoiding too much negative world news.

Wow, that’s interesting – avoid too much negative news! That sounds like a whole new topic for discussion – the effect on our health of negative news.

 I’m going to try your suggestions and see if I can avoid falling sick when I take a break from my work and relax on holidays. Thanks for explaining this to me.


Julia Tyack* is the founder of Tyack Health and one of around 50 practitioners practicing multidisciplinary health at the centre.

I help Julia improve her writing – including song lyric writing. Julia gives me lots of tips about health and nutrition and parenting. Plus, she is always feeding me healthy foods and drinks including juices! She has a nice, friendly way of explaining things so I often ask her all sorts questions.)

Once again:

If you know anyone else who can benefit from Julia’s tips – please feel free to share this post.
IF you have any tips from your experience on how to avoid getting sick when you transition from work to vacation, please add in the comments.


Enjoy your break and recharge so you’ll be ready for next year!



One comment on “Why you often get sick when you finish work to go on vacation – and what you can do to help prevent it

  1. efangelist
    December 16, 2015

    Reblogged this on Likeable Lawyer and commented:

    These tips are very important this time of year. Not about marketing – but still worth a quick read to help you avoid getting ill when you transition from work to Christmas break!

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This entry was posted on December 16, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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