An article in The Washington Post yesterday featured doctors claiming that there is something behind "leisure sickness." "Just when you take a break from your busy schedule to enjoy a little relaxation, your leisure time becomes anything but -- full of aches and pains, cold- and flulike symptoms and other health complaints," the article states.
In these few weeks of leisure that I have, I can certainly understand the source of this illness. But the illness for me, takes on a different form. I guess that I would call it "leisure anxiety." Yes, it is true. Relaxing stresses me out. Over the past few days I have read a novel, planted my lavender seeds, watched movies, and cooked a whole lot of food. But engaging in these activities is a challenge. I feel wrong in doing them, thinking that I should be doing something else, something work related.
I think that for most people vacations really can be vacations. But when you have a dissertation hanging over your head constantly (even when you are confident with your progress) it seems that work is never done, and too much indulgence in relaxing activities can be interpreted as sabotage.
With that said I think that vacations are extremely important as long as one can truly relax and get work off the mind. What helps me is that over the past few days, the streets have been dead quiet. Stores are closed, offices too, and people just are not around. With that kind of environment it seems easier to be OK with not doing anything. I think institutionalized holidays are a necessity for the sanity of our society.
More on that to come.