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

'Home sweet home' leaves a sour taste for some quarantine-weary

Family playing board game Army Col. Nathan Keller and his family have enjoyed group activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they also schedule solo time. (Courtesy photo Army Col. Nathan Keller)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness

As physical distancing continues in efforts to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the old saying "there's no place like home" might be sounding bittersweet. Whether people live alone or with others, they may be experiencing fear, anxiety, and frustration over restricted movement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidance about businesses and workplaces reopening. But health care experts say until there's widespread testing and a vaccine for the contagious virus, staying home as much as possible remains the safest course of action. So how can people cope with the continued challenges of being largely confined to home?

"Human beings are social creatures and need to maintain connections through a variety of relationships that offer social support and a sense of security," said Army Col. Nathan Keller, Ph.D., director of the student counseling center at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

"When we're unable to do that, we can become frustrated and anxious," said Keller, who's also a clinical social worker. That's why it's important to focus on the positive aspects of your particular living situation, mental health experts say, and use available resources to stay connected to sources that help relieve stress.

"Being confined with others is beneficial because it's a collective experience," said Keller, who lives with his wife and their 17-year-old daughter. "You have the ability to commiserate, and to understand this isn't something that's happening only to you. You can focus on taking care of each other, remind one another of positive memories, and create new shared experiences."

For those who live alone, "Maybe there's a sense of relief or gratitude that you can focus on what you need to do without any disruptions," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tarah Lewis, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and assistant professor in USU's Graduate School of Nursing.

"And you can devote as much time as you want on personal projects," said Lewis, who lives alone in what she describes as a tiny one-bedroom apartment in downtown Bethesda.

"I don't even have a pet," she said. "And I don't have a car. I'm used to being outside, walking around and going to restaurants and shops, and that kind of thing."

Lewis said people who live alone may be particularly vulnerable to feeling lonely, "maybe even envious of others," she said. "You go on social media and see families going camping, or roommates cooking brunch together."

Reaching out to others helps.

For Lewis, that means online fitness challenges with friends, and playing games such as "two truths and a lie" during after-work video conferences with co-workers.

"That was really fun because I learned things about my colleagues that I never knew," Lewis said. "I actually felt more connected with some of them than I ever did before, even though I went into the office every day" pre-pandemic.

People who live with others need to find time alone, "even in a crowded house," Keller said. "Focusing on yourself when you live with others may sound selfish, but you need that self-care time so you have the patience and energy to support others."

Alone time might mean listening to music, dancing solo, reading, going for a walk or run, or meditating. "Think of those things that you find joy in, and put those in your toolbox," Lewis said.

Whether on your own or with others, Keller and Lewis suggest the following:

  • Stick with a schedule. "Having a routine provides structure and some sort of normalcy," Lewis said. Keller said his family created a plan so they're getting up at the same time, working the same hours, and eating meals together. Their schedule also allots personal and family fun time.  
  • Move your body. Exercise helps you feel better physically and mentally
  • Cut yourself some slack. "There are days where you're not going to feel as productive as you usually are, or you're not going to be the perfect parent or spouse," Keller said. "It's OK to have those moments."

"It's OK to not feel OK," Lewis added. "There's no shame in saying, I'm feeling off, and I need to talk to somebody." The Department of Defense's Psychological Health Center of Excellence offers information on mental health resources including call centers and mobile apps.

  • Keep your eye on the prize. "Eventually, this will pay off, and we're going to come out of it more resilient," Keller said. "We're not going to be stuck like this forever."

Lewis said, "The way I see it is, we're at war. And the boots on the ground are the health care providers and front-line workers. And my role? I'm going to practice physical distancing. I'm going to wash my hands. I'm going to cover my face if I have to be around other people. I'm going to do my part. Those are things that I have control over, and I take great comfort in that."

You also may be interested in...

People First priority for BJACH Behavioral Health Suicide Prevention Program

Article Around MHS
12/1/2021
Chuck Satterfield and Staff Sgt. Lori Fury hosting a training

Behavioral health professionals from Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital conducted leadership development training with the 519th Military Police Battalion at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana in mid-November.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Suicide Prevention

Army Public Health Center provides update on Long COVID risks

Article Around MHS
12/1/2021
COVID19 Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Mental Stress is like a ‘Check Engine Light’ Flashing–Don’t Ignore It

Article
11/29/2021
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason David talks about his  journey of recovery through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program during a video conversation with Defense Health Agency Command Sgt. Major Michael Gragg.

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason David speaks about his own journey of recovery through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Warrior Care | Warrior Care – A Virtual Show of Strength | Psychological Fitness

JTF Coyote begins pediatric COVID-19 clinics as adult booster vaccination numbers increase

Article Around MHS
11/23/2021
Military health personnel giving the COVID-19 vaccine

The Vermont National Guard now supports the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccinations for youth in the 5 to 11 age group and booster clinics for the general adult population.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

MHS Reaches 6 Million Doses of Vaccine Against COVID

Article
11/10/2021
Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, receive COVID-19 immunizations as a part of the federal mandate at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 2, 2021. The 139th Medical Group oversees the operation. .

Military passes 6 million mark for COVID-19 shots administered across the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

Healing Is An Art, Art is Healing: Exhibit Highlights the Healing Power of Art

Article Around MHS
11/10/2021
Service members look at art included in the Healing Arts Exhibit on display throughout November at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Healing is an art, and art is healing was the sentiments shared among those who attended the opening ceremony for the 18th Annual Healing Arts Exhibit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Oct. 27.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness

COVID 19 Vaccine Is Now Available for Children 5 to 11

Article
11/9/2021
5-year-old girl in mask reads a book by herself

COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds are ready now through MHS

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

More Than 95% of Active Duty Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Article
10/15/2021
Female hospital corpsman gives a COVID-19 vaccine injection to a sailor in her left arm

Service members continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

USECAF receives insight into COVID19 vaccinations at Reserve wing

Article Around MHS
10/8/2021
Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visits with 433rd Airlift Wing members at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021.

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visited the 433rd Airlift Wing here to meet with Reserve Citizen Airmen leaders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

Article
10/6/2021
A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street.

Mask mouth doesn’t exist, Internet chatter to the contrary, dentists say.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Compassionate Caring with COVID Vax Commitment

Article Around MHS
10/6/2021
A  female doctor poses for a photo.

When pregnant patients have an appointment with Lt. Cmdr. Megan Northup at Naval Hospital Bremerton, they get more than a qualified and caring OB/GYN physician.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Health Promotion duo optimizes health on Incirlik Air Base

Article Around MHS
9/30/2021
Air Force Capt. Sydney Sloan, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion element chief (right), and Air Force Senior Airman Gloriann Manapsal, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion technician (left), promote making healthy choices at the Sultan’s Inn Dining Facility on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

The 39th Operation Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion team provides and integrates evidence-based programs to optimize the health and readiness, even during these unprecedented times.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Total Force Fitness | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Booster Shots are Now Available – What You Need to Know

Article
9/30/2021
Containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vial contains six doses for vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.

Booster shots are now recommended for millions of people – but many others will have to wait for additional approvals.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Myths & facts about the vax - debunking common COVID-19 vaccine myths

Article
9/29/2021
Myths and facts about the vax

The COVID-19 vaccine has been mandated across the Department of Defense and despite its demonstrated effectiveness and safety, a host of myths have left some Airmen and Guardians hesitant to receive it. While social media posts and some news outlets may make it harder to keep up with what is fact or fiction, the science is clear … approved COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Retired colonel leads Fort Irwin COVID response mission

Article Around MHS
9/28/2021
Army Col. Richard Hopkins, the COVID-19 response coordinator with Weed Army Community Hospital, collects paperwork from a Soldier who received the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination event.

Retired Army Col. Richard Hopkins volunteered under the Army’s COVID-19 Retiree Recall Program to return to service as the COVID-19 response coordinator for Weed Army Community Hospital and Fort Irwin, California.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 44

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.