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In Sickness and In Health

Like zillions of people around me who have shared a similar fate, a spring virus, unexpected and unplanned for, has fouled up my week. I spent a couple of days dazed—sleeping on and off—then a slow recovery. No single second was terrible, I’ve had much worse, just aches and pains, chills, and a deep cough. But the fatigue, the slogging through molasses deep tiredness of this bug, has gotten my attention.

Now I’m in the state of wellness that gives my brain permission to mull over all of the tasks that illness made seem impossible. And still tired enough that the simple tasks take on monstrous proportions. Two blogs to write, bills to pay, balances to figure. And of course, shopping and cooking. Cleaning, catching up on email, scheduling appointments. Too much for today. But, now on top of these lists, I pile stress and anxiety.

Here I go; catastrophizing. But years of helping others (including myself) deal with stress have given me some tools; coping strategies to pull out when thoughts start to overwhelm me. So, if you, like me, have had a spring bug interfere with your life, here are a few tips:

  • Breathe…always a good idea, but during times of stress breathing becomes even more important! Take a few deep breaths and let out the air slowly (well, that started an unbelievable coughing fit so maybe I’ll skip this step).
  • Write a list….of all of the things you need to do. Writing things down make it easier for you to remember without the stress of having to keep all of those details in your head (oh no, 438 things to do—what a bummer).
  • Keep things in perspective…okay, in a couple of days I’ll feel better and the list will slowly decrease and the stress will reduce in kind. I’m grateful that I can get out of bed and make a list. How’s that for positive thinking?
  • Get enough exercise…I love to exercise. Wait that’s probably where I picked up this bug—at the gym. My doctor told me that my exercise for the week is to take a nap. Good idea.

Sick young man photo available from Shutterstock.

In Sickness and In Health

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D.

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of adults and children with obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as personality disorders, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and learning disorders. Dr. Smith is a widely published author of articles and books to the profession and the public, including: Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies (2E), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder For Dummies, Seasonal Affective Disorder For Dummies, Anxiety and Depression Workbook For Dummies, Depression For Dummies, Hollow Kids: Recapturing the Soul of a Generation Lost to the Self-Esteem Myth, and Why Can’t I Be the Parent I Want to Be? Her website is:

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APA Reference
Smith, L. (2012). In Sickness and In Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Apr 2012
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