Staying Vital in a Pandemic World

During this unprecedented health crisis, many are asking themselves the question: how can I keep myself healthy? 

There are ways to keep yourself healthy and immune system functioning optimally, which can help give you a sense of control during this uncertain time.  The CDC and many health agencies have provided excellent recommendations for public behavior and personal hygiene such as proper handwashing.  But, there is more you can do to maintain your health and boost your immune systems including, maintaining good nutrition, being physically active, meditating and managing stress and getting adequate sleep.

Using our Pillars of Vitality approach, below we’ve assembled key recommendations and resources to help support a more Vital You now and into the future.  Stay healthy and be safe!


One of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat a nutritious diet. That’s because our immune system relies on a steady supply of nutrients to do its job. For a good start fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits at meals.  Focus on a consistent intake of immune-boosting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants


For all of us, young and old, regular physical activity is important for staying healthy! Compared to just sitting around most of the time, moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune function. Regular physical activity can help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety (which many of us may be feeling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic)

  • Go outside everyday if you can.
  • Complete mild to moderate exercise (20-45 minutes), about three times per week.
  • Do not exercise more than five days a week.  Walks, house chores and other low intensity activities are good to do everyday.
  • Do not exercise past exhaustion, which increases the risk of infection. An example would include marathon running, which increases the risk of illness from 2.2% to 13% after the race.
  • Do not exercise if you have any flu-like symptoms.
  • More Move Tips


The American Academy of Sleep Medicine & the National Sleep Foundation recommend seven to eight hours of sleep a night.  A 2015 study found a direct link between shorter sleep times and an increased risk of getting a cold for healthy adults ages 18 to 55; specifically sleeping less than six hours per night had a greater likelihood of catching a virus than those sleeping for seven hours or more a night.

  • Take several breaks each day.  For a few moments throughout each day separate and take some deep breaths to allow your mind and body to relax.
  • Set a regular bedtime. Pair it with a set time to wake.
  • Set a hard curfew for all electronics. Stay on schedule with the help of a strict electronic curfew: Try 90 minutes without social media, email and even TV before lights out
  • Stay informed, but don’t look at the news right before bed.
  • Make your bedroom very comfortable and very dark.
  • Take a hot shower or bath 90 minutes before bed.
  • More Recover Tips

Focus (Engagement)

The outbreak of the coronavirus is stressful for many people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Also, isolation from friends and family and the closing of our typical social gathering places puts at risk the reality that we’re fundamentally social creatures.  During crises it’s natural to want to gather. Social connectivity is one of the greatest determinants of wellbeing.  In a landmark 80-year-long study from Harvard, social connection was reported to be one of our most basic psychological needs. We must be creative, during this crisis, to manage our stress and maintain our connection to our social networks to maintain our sense of well-being, psychological closeness and a sense of community.

  • Go outside everyday if you can.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.   Limit the amount of time you spend each day listening to or watching news and reading articles and updates about the virus to allow you to focus on the many other aspects of life.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate, Move and Recover.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do activities you enjoy and help your mind and body relax.
  • Connect with others. We need to make a point to connect with others regularly. Reach out to family members, friends and colleagues regularly via phone, text, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, BlueJeans or other virtual platforms. Make sure that you are checking on those that are alone. Check in regularly with your parents, grandparents and your children.
  • More Focus Tips


For all of us, life is very different than just a month ago.  The coronavirus pandemic has altered daily life for most people, but that doesn’t mean everything has to change.  We can maintain a sense of control by sticking to normal routines (as much as possible) and some structure from our pre-quarantine days. During a period of constant change, having some sort of familiarity in your daily activities can make life feel more manageable. Studies have also found that our bodies tend to function better when eating, sleeping and exercise patterns are set to a regular schedule. One example we all can follow if working from home is to start our day the same way we would if we were heading into the office.  (find tips for working from home: Work from Home Tips; 6 Mistakes working from home).

  • Create a consistent work and personal schedule that you stick with consistently
  • Create a task list for each day. It should include very specific, measurable and achievable tasks. Adjust tomorrow’s list depending on what you get done today.
  • Set boundaries for work and personal activities and communicate them to friends and family you with whom you live and work.
  • Schedule time for grooming, self-care, exercise, sleep, and socializing
  • Consider setting a “Do Not Disturb” window of time where you, family and anyone you live with can relax without interruptions.
  • Also, be extra judicious about what you do online. Set time limits for social media and news and set limits for total screen time each day.  Consider using internet-blocking programs, like FocusMe or Freedom is you are struggling to limit online time.
  • More Plan Tips

Path Performance Pillars of Vitality: Eat, Move, Recover, Focus and Plan

Articles & Resources:

Eat Resources

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

CNN article on Healthy Eating

CDC Nutrition recommendations

CDC Alcohol intake guidelines

Move Resources

American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Guidelines During Covid-19 pandemic

Recommendations & research for boosting immune systems

Mayo Clinic do’s and don’ts for exercise during illness

CNN article on sleep, exercise and stress management for boosting health

CDC guidelines for healthy exercise

Recover Resources

NY Times article summarizing sleep tips for health during pandemic

National Sleep Foundation sleep tips

UCLA meditation resources

UCLA online resources

CNN article on sleep, exercise and stress management for boosting health

CDC sleep tips and guidelines

American Alliance for Healthy Sleep tips and guidelines

Focus/Engage Resources

Cleveland Clinic tips to manage stress during pandemic

CDC tips for managing stress & anxiety

NY Times yoga for beginners hot to meditate, steps and basics

NY Times how to meditate

National Institute of Health does meditation work





Plan Resources

Northwestern Memorial HealthCare – Health Benefits of Having a Routine

Path Performance tips for successfully working from home

CNBC 6 mistakes to avoid while working from home

Tips for successfully scheduling during pandemic

Information for managing kids during Coronavirus

Jessica McHale at home kid schedule

Another sample at home kid schedule

NPR Interview

NY Post keeping your kids on schedule during pandemic

Market Watch – what experts say about do’s & don’ts for kids during pandemic