Spanish scientists have found that long holidays are bad for you. They can cause a post-holiday syndrome which sounds rather like a powerful post-lunch dip but doesn't only make you tired, it brings on depression and anxiety as well. The findings might shed new light on why Norwegians are so prone to depression.
The fact that we have one of the world's highest suicide rates has often been explained by our long and dark winters, but Norwegians also tend to have very long holidays – it's almost as if the whole country shuts down in July and the school holiday is eight weeks. Much too long if we are to take the advice of Professor Humbelina Robles Ortega:
"If our holidays last one month and our employer allows us to do so, we could take fifteen days first and another fifteen days later on. This will prevent anxiety and we will be under the impression of a longer holiday. Moreover, changes in habits won't be so radical and permanent and, therefore, re-starting to work won't be so traumatic.”
No wonder then that pupils tend to turn up at school around this time of the year feeling decidedly tired, depressed, de-motivated and unfocused – all symptoms of the post-holiday syndrome. Maybe it's not such a bad thing after all that I've only had the odd long weekend off this year.