John Epling

John Epling, MD

Professor, Family and Community Medicine, VTCSOM
Medical Director, Employee Health and Wellness, Carilion Clinic

During this time of pandemic, it has been easy for us to get bumped off of our normal routines of maintaining our health and wellness.  Coronavirus is indeed a threat to our health, but maintaining our wellness is important for the long term and can be a good way to help mitigate the chronic stress that is common during times like this.

The most important ways to maintain health are those that reduce the risk of the most common causes of mortality in men. 

The recommendations below are the best ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and unintentional injuries.

Staying healthy – focus on the basics…

1) Healthy diet and physical activity

These are daily considerations that remain important, but between shopping difficulties, sheltering-in-place and impact of stress on motivation, they have been tough to maintain. The guidance is no different than usual, and the differences between the major recommendations has narrowed over the years.  Try these pages for recommendations:

2) Health maintenance basics

An easy way to keep track of your specific health maintenance needs (like screenings and vaccines) is found at  This provides a personalized list to discuss with your healthcare provider – whether that’s by phone, video, health portal or face-to-face visit.

3) Embrace healthy stress management and avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

These are particularly important nowadays. Healthy ways to manage stress include working on your important relationships, remaining physically active, and using mindfulness and meditation.  Unhealthy ways include smoking, excess alcohol, and illicit substance use.

In this time of change, the basics of a maintaining a healthy lifestyle remain unchanged.  Take charge of your health and focus on the basics.