What Is “COVID Tired?”

I’m tired. Not just Whew, what a long day, tired, either. I am COVID tired, which is a whole other thing.

I won’t get into all the vaccine debate (Okay, I don’t even think there should be one), other than to say that my husband and I are fully vaccinated. We were planning on getting our booster shots but both had nasty colds within the last few weeks that prevented us from doing so.

Since this whole ugly mess started, we’ve been pretty careful—masking up, avoiding crowds, using buckets of hand sanitizer. (I’ve carried the stuff for years and not gonna lie, I’ve felt vindicated by everyone’s newfound devotion to the stuff. Who looks like a crazy lady dousing herself in alcohol now?)

But a few weeks ago, my husband had the opportunity to spend some time out with friends. Yes, I said “out” with “friends,” as in, more than one, and in a public place. As in a bunch of his high school buddies who used to get together several times a year but hadn’t seen each other in eighteen months couldn’t take it anymore and decided to go to a local ale house for a night of catching up.

I was happy to see him finally reconnecting with his crew. At least, I was happy until I realized he’d brought home an uninvited guest when he tested positive for COVID five days later.

This is not the place to swear like a sailor, but if you use your imagination, I’m pretty sure you can hear me. Seriously? After eighteen months of skulking around like fugitives trying to avoid this plague, we get sucker-punched by this insidious, prickly devil just because Dave wanted to have some fun?

Yes, I said we. Because a few days after Dave tested positive, so did I. And while our symptoms were relatively mild (thank you, vaccine), that’s when we both discovered COVID tired.

COVID tired alternately runs up behind you and punches you in the back of the head or washes over you like a wave taking you under at the beach. Either way, your choices are to drag yourself to the couch or force yourself to keep writing only to discover that the last seventeen sentences you typed are in a language that doesn’t exist.

While I am a firm believer in building rest into a healthy lifestyle, this kind of rest feels more like a waking coma than restorative. Not to mention that if I happen to crawl past a mirror in my slog towards the couch, there’s a zombie staring back at me. And she’s terrifying.

I had big plans for my ten days of quarantine. I was going to write another 10,000 words on my next book, finalize arrangements for next year’s speaking gigs, craft the modules for the Brilliantly Resilient course my partner Kristin Smedley and I are creating, wrap holiday gifts, catch up with friends via actual phone calls, etc., etc. Instead, I’ve answered a total of three emails, accidentally left my phone somewhere—not exactly sure where—and spent countless hours passed out on the couch, possibly drooling on myself. (Okay, actually drooling on myself.)

And in case you were wondering: There. Is. Nothing. On. TV. Eighty-six thousand channels and not a single thing worth the energy of trying to keep my eyes open and focus.

We are both on the mend. And God willing, someday in the not distant future, COVID tired will be a thing of our pasts. When it is, I’ll appreciate every ounce of stamina I possess, finish the book, get the course out, wrap the gifts, call my friends (if I ever find my phone), and yes rest when I’m tired— hopefully without the drooling.


Mary Fran Bontempo
Mary Fran Bontempo
Mary Fran Bontempo is an award-winning 2-time TEDx speaker, author, humorist, and media host who teaches audiences to uncover their Brilliance and Resilience 15 minutes at a time. A sought-after presenter for corporate and association events, Mary Fran is author of The 15 Minute Master, Brilliantly Resilient, and The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words and co-founder of the Brilliantly Resilient programs and media. Mary Fran proves small changes can create life-altering transformations, allowing individuals to be positive and successful in a rapidly changing world. A Huffington Post,, and Thrive Global contributor and columnist for numerous websites, Mary Fran created a life-affirming brand of wisdom and wit after meeting the challenge of her son’s heroin addiction. A frequent media guest and speaker, audiences of all ages delight in her empowering and entertaining message. Find her at and

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