Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

COVID-19: Lifestyle Tips to Stay Healthy

A collage of four pictures of people exercising, sleeping and eating healthy food. Click to open a larger version of the image. Eating right, physical activity, adequate rest and taking care of our mental health not only improves overall health and wellness, but also makes us more resilient during COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Total Force Fitness

As we move toward a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has changed many of our daily routines in ways no one anticipated and that have become the new normal.

Many of us are still spending a lot of time at home to minimize exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

A day that may have previously included many physical activities – like walking to and from your car, shopping for groceries, outings with the family or visiting shopping malls – are still absent for those who are not vaccinated or who are otherwise still hesitant to go to crowded places.

Also, children under age 12 who are not vaccinated may be in quarantine or doing virtual learning.

There are booster shots for those 65 and older and additional shots for those with immune systems that are compromised. These boosters and additional shots increase antibodies that are protective against COVID-19.

Yet with all these COVID-driven precautions, new health hazards may emerge. With this unprecedented lifestyle shift, there is a potential for a more sedentary lifestyle packed with activities like watching television, sitting while reading for long periods, or sitting at your computer for longer-than-usual periods of time.

Isolation and being at home also can elicit the temptation to eat snacks high in sodium, junk food and low-quality meals that provide instant gratification for our taste buds rather than nutrient-dense whole foods. This is a challenge for many in these times of social distancing and self-isolation.

We must stay proactive, and, in some cases creative, to maintain an active lifestyle in the era of social distancing. Even if you are not directly affected by COVID-19 or have never had it, the pandemic no doubt has had a drastic impact on your day-to-day routine, which could negatively affect your overall health.

What are some things we can do to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle while the world around us has adapted to limiting exposure to COVID-19?

Get Vaccinated and Mask Up

Get vaccinated first and foremost. All military service members are mandated to get COVID vaccinations, and Military Health System (MHS) beneficiaries have ample opportunities to get vaccinated if they are 12 or older or are part of groups that can get booster shots or additional protective shots. Vaccines not only protect you but those around you.

Wear a mask when indoors with unvaccinated people and at venues such as grocery stores or move theaters.

As winter approaches and people in colder climates are spending more time indoors, masks are increasingly important. Additionally, getting a flu shot, wearing masks, and washing hands frequently may lessen the impact influenza and COVID-19 may have together. (It’s important to reduce the risk of catching both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.)

Stay Active

Gyms are open again but some people are still hesitant to return to them. There are many safe alternatives to getting physical activity without going against the preventive best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) like social distancing and avoiding large crowds.

Aerobics can be done at home. Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping-jacks and more exercises are great ways to stay fit away from the gym. Other ideas include:

  • Walk briskly around the house or up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes 2-3 times per day.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Join a live exercise class on YouTube.

Find ways to do simple muscle strengthening exercises around your house such as:

  • Squats or sit-to-stands from a sturdy chair
  • Push-ups against a wall, the kitchen counter or the floor
  • Lunges or single leg step-ups on stairs

Avoiding crowds does not mean avoiding nature. Going for a brisk walk or jog outside in uncrowded areas outdoors is still considered relatively safe.

  • Walk or jog around your neighborhood (maintain the recommended six-foot physical distancing).
  • Go for a bicycle ride.
  • Do gardening and lawn work.

Adequate Sleep

Good sleep is essential to overall health.

According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH): “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body's defense system.” While the amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum performance mostly depends on the individual, the CDC recommends adults age 18-60 get seven or more hours of sleep per night.

Diet and nutrition

It is imperative to practice self-discipline and avoid “emotional eating” due to stress that may be related to the drastic changes surrounding the pandemic. According to the CDC, whole foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber and minerals. Make it a habit to try to eat more whole nutritious foods instead of processed snacks or fast food.

Self-Care

Make time to take care of yourself.

Be supportive and suggest the same for those close to you. Meditation, relaxation, quality time with family or friends, and personal care promote overall wellness. If you need professional help for your mental wellness, there are many ways to seek counseling.

Health Care Maintenance

If you have medications prescribed for any condition, be sure to take them as directed by your provider. Chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and many others should be kept in check by taking your medications as prescribed.

Be sure to reach out to your health care team with any concerns. Many service members and beneficiaries have put off check-ups for fear of COVID exposure at military medical treatment facilities, leading in some cases to missed diagnoses of cancers or later diagnoses of serious health care conditions.

In the age of COVID-19, telehealth solutions are available.

Coping with Stress and Anxiety

Positively cope with stress and anxiety induced by the precautions we must all take to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

Positive coping mechanisms may include exercise, meditation, reading, or further developing certain skills or hobbies. Use this time to increase your daily repetition of these positive activities and develop new or even better routines than you may have adhered to prior to the pandemic.

Stay Connected

Talking with loved ones while in isolation can help reduce the anxiety and instances of feeling down. Take time to use the multitudes of technologies and apps (many free) that can help you stay in touch with those you love.

Our busy lives before the COVID-19 pandemic may have limited how often we connected with distant loved ones. Now’s the time to fully exploit these modern capabilities for fellowship, companionship, and camaraderie.

Taking all these steps may improve overall health and wellness. Although eating nutritious foods, physical activity, adequate rest, and taking care of our mental health makes us more resilient, it’s not a cure nor does it guarantee immunity from contracting COVID-19.

Once again, the top priority is to get vaccinated.

You also may be interested in...

DHA-PI 6205.01: Medical Logistics Guidance for the DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (n), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA's) procedures for ordering, receiving, and managing COVID-19 Vaccines inventory and ancillary kits.

DHA-IPM 20-004: Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation

Policy

This Defense Health Agency (DHA) Interim Procedures Memorandum (IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (d), and in accordance with the guidance cited in References (e) through (aa), establishes the DHA’s procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. This DHA-IPM applies to DHA, DHA Components (activities under the authority direction, and control of the DHA), Military Departments (MILDEP), and the United States Coast Guard (CG). This DHA-IPM cancels and replaces DHA-IPM 20-004, “Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation,” December 13, 2020.

TAB A MEO COVID19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

Memorandum for DHA Staff - Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA COVID19 Medical Coding PolicyV5 1v

Policy

Establishes the DHA procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) within military medical treatment facilities (MTFs). This memorandum replaces DHA-Policy Memorandum 20-003 of July 1, 2020. Attachment 1 was updated to include the 2021 procedure and diagnosis codes for COVID-19, including the new vaccination and treatment codes.

  • Identification #: 20-003
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

Supplemental Guidance for Providing DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccines to DoD Contractor Employees and Select Foreign Nationals

Policy

This memorandum provides supplemental guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, in accordance with reference (a). The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components as appropriate.

HA Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Pre-Testing Questionnaire

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance for a COVID-19 laboratory pre-testing questionnaire that will be mandatory for all Active Duty Service members and encouraged for all other DoD beneficiaries treated at military medical treatment facilities.

Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines

Policy

This EO outlines who should receive priority access to COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States or procured by the United States Government (“United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines”).

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Guidance

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components.

DHA-AI 3020-01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), based on the authority of References (a) through (b) and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (z3), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This DHA-AI also provides a preventive plan to monitor and assess for the appearance of new cases and implement those processes that will prevent them from impacting the workforce. The processes describe herein are intended to offer an actionable plan for the workforce to re-enter DHA Administrative Offices. See Appendix 1 for a summary of the DHA Administrative Office Reopening Plan. The plan uses the Force Health Protection Guidance and Health Protection Conditions (HPCON), in accordance with Reference (d), to ensure protection for the workforce, including the most vulnerable-to-serious complications from the virus while enabling DHA Administrative Offices to continue its mission. See Appendix 2 for the conceptual HPCON framework.

  • Identification #: 3020-01
  • Date: 11/3/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA AI 3020.01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and in preparation for regression or resurgence in COVID-19 cases that could impact the workforce.

  • Identification #: DHA AI 3020.01
  • Date: 6/12/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA IPM 19-003: Reserve Health Readiness Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (i): • Provides utilization guidance and funding requirements for the RHRP contract to supplement Reserve Component Individual Medical Readiness (IMR) and Deployment Health activities when Service organic health readiness resources are not available to meet mission requirements. • Provides utilization guidance and funding requirements for the RHRP contract for Active Duty enrolled in TRICARE Prime Remote, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), USCG Reserves, and re-deploying DoD civilians (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command). • Communicate procedure guidance to all DoD organizations utilizing RHRP services. • Will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue and be converted to a DHA-Procedural Instruction.

  • Identification #: 19-003
  • Date: 3/8/2019
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Health Readiness

DHA PI 6025.07: Naloxone in the MTFs

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (h), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures for prescribing and dispensing naloxone by pharmacists in MTFs to eligible beneficiaries, upon beneficiary request, or when the pharmacist determines the beneficiary meets the established criteria for being at risk for a life-threatening opiate overdose.

DHA PI 6200.05: Force Health Protection Quality Assurance (FHPQA) Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (ab), establishes the procedures for the FHPQA Program as defined in Reference (z). This DHA-PI applies to: a. OSD, the Military Departments (including the United States Coast Guard (USCG) at all times, including when it is a Service in the Department of Homeland Security by agreement with that Department), the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) and the Joint Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the Inspector General of the DoD, the Defense Agencies, the DoD Field Activities, and all other organizational entities within the DoD (referred to collectively in this DHA-PI as the “DoD Components”). b. Civilian personnel, as defined in Reference (e), and DoD contractor personnel authorized to accompany the force (CAAF), in accordance with References (j), (m), and (n), respectively.

  • Identification #: DHA PI 6200.05
  • Date: 5/2/2018
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Health Readiness

DoD Instruction 6200.05: Force Health Protection Quality Assurance (FHPQA) Program

Policy

This issuance establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and defines requirements for the development and establishment of the FHPQA Program in accordance with the authority in DoD Directive (DoDD) 5124.02, Sections 731 and 738 of Public Law 108-375; Sections 1074f, 1092a, and 1073b of Title 10, United States Code; and DoDDs 6200.04 and 5136.13.

DoD Instruction 6490.13: Comprehensive Policy on Traumatic Brain Injury-Related Neurocognitive Assessments by the Military Services

Policy

This instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes standard elements, pursuant to section 722 of Public Law 111-383, requiring the implementation of a comprehensive neurocognitive assessment policy in the Military Services.

<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.