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Coping With Illness

September 27, 2022

When I finished my last exam this past year, I was so stoked to start my summer. I had so many plans - working, job shadowing, attending a concert, going for long bike rides, and crossing books off my reading list. When I fell ill about a month into my break, I felt like my summer was doomed. It was difficult being sick for several weeks and being unable to do everything I wanted to do, but I got through it. Here are some strategies I found helpful for coping with being under the weather.

Fueling the Body

Okay, I know this is talked about a lot, and it’s something I never took seriously in the past, but eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated was really helpful in my recovery. Something I found useful in helping me eat well was to find foods I like. I’m not the biggest fan of eating a salad for lunch, but I really enjoy meals such as yogurt parfaits and hummus with veggies and crackers. I believe that keeping the foods I enjoy around made me more motivated to eat. My beverages of choice were water and orange juice, and I made sure to drink plenty of water throughout my day. Properly fueling my body gave me more energy and boosted my overall mood.

Importance of Rest

At the beginning of my illness, I tried to continue working at my part-time job and keeping up with extracurricular activities. I soon realized that doing more than I could take on made me feel worse, so I decided to take a break from my commitments until I felt better. I realized that rest was the most productive thing I could do for my body while I was ill. I spent most of this time catching up on TV shows, listening to music and sleeping. After taking it easy for a while, I started to feel better and gradually started doing more activities, such as taking short walks and working one shift a week.

Connecting with Others

Since being sick made me feel isolated, I found it helpful to stay connected to my support network. Simple things like sitting in the same room as my family or calling friends lifted my mood and took my mind off feeling ill. I find Discord to be a helpful app for connecting with others online. On Discord, I can do group calls with my friends and talk while playing online games together.

Staying Positive

While I was sick, I often felt down and thought it would take forever to feel like myself again. When I had these negative thoughts, I used the Woebot app to help me reframe them in a more positive light. When I was having a bad day, I would often think that “I would never get better.” When this thought popped up, I would rephrase it into something like this: “I have not been feeling well today, but every week I am improving.” I would also try to remember that progress is not linear, and one bad day does not mean I am back to square one. I would make a point of celebrating every small win, such as being able to read a few pages of a book or go for a walk around the block. Another tip that helped me was to focus on what I could do at the moment to feel better, such as doing some relaxing stretches, instead of dwelling on the things I could not change. Over time, thinking positively changed my outlook on the situation. I realized that this was not the end of the world and that with time I would be back to my regular activities.


Dealing with an illness is tough, but there are many ways to make it feel less stressful and frustrating. After a while, I started to feel like myself again. If anyone reading this is feeling under the weather right now, I send my well wishes!

By Victoria Matheou