Why teachers get sick in the holidays

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Believe it or not, teachers have a highly stressful job with an endless list of responsibilities and duties to get through, each day. Keeping stress levels and adrenaline at a high, is imperative to  multitask and get through the day having successfully catered for all pupils. Therefore it comes as no surprise when the holidays arrive and the gears suddenly change, from high to a halt, consequences are faced. So many teachers, who are rarely sick in their working week come down with headaches, colds, and illnesses during their holidays, as soon as daily stress is left behind.

This is known as leisure sickness, a phrase first coined by a psychologist in the Netherlands. Ad Vingerhoets, said that people suffering from leisure sickness typically had a stressful job and they simply couldn’t switch off, which triggered a whole host of symptoms. Currently with a sore throat and at the beginning of my holidays, I am looking into the reasons of this happening, to share with you lovely people reading this post. If you, like myself, are currently feeling unwell – I wish you the speediest of recoveries!

Cary Cooper, a Professor of Organisational Psychology at the University of Lancaster says that, our immune system is stimulated by the pressure we are under, so when we function with deadlines, our body knows we can’t get ill. When we take a break, our immune system knows there is no more pressure and allows itself to get sick. Furthermore, according to Liz Tucker, stress counsellor and lifestyle expert, leisure sickness is a warning that our life is out of balance and something should be done about it. Despite this, many doctors and psychologists are not in agreement about this phenomenon and its existence, thus further research is still needed in this area.

So how do we avoid leisure sickness? Those in agreement suggest that we must first aim to lead a less stressful career/ life as well as to balance them out. This can be done by taking small steps towards relaxing in your working life. In this way, when you take a break, relaxing won’t come as such a big shock to your body and make you ill. I know, this is much easier said than done, and to be honest I don’t even know if it is feasible. Expectations within the workplace need to change for people to cope with their workload without being under great pressure; employees will ultimately perform better the healthier they are.

In the meantime, look after yourself and get well with hot soups, tea and lots of rest!

It’s leisure time!  ❤ Share this with your teacher friends! 

Till next time…

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