Quarantining Together After A Breakup Doesn’t Have To Be Impossible

The coronavirus pandemic has created tons of uncertainty in people’s lives. It has introduced a whole new way of living, with limited access to life outside the home. Couples cohabitating together are dealing with a fresh set of challenges — and in some cases, the stress of this crisis might even lead to a split. If you find yourself stuck quarantining together after a breakup, it doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. It’s all in how you and your ex choose to navigate the situation.

For whatever reason, you’ve determined that your relationship just can’t survive this chaotic time period. That’s OK, and it’s bound to happen for many other couples, too. “This unprecedented time will test couples greatly and bring underlying issues to the surface,” breakup coach Natalia Juarez tells Elite Daily. “Irrespective of the terrible timing, it will be necessary that people know how to end their relationships in the best and most loving way possible.” Living together in isolation (especially if you moved in together before you were emotionally ready to) may force you to take a closer look at your realistic compatibility, and potentially determine that you’re just not the right fit for each other.

Breaking up in a normal, non-pandemic situation is hard enough, but when you’re quarantining with someone, it gets even trickier. The White House has recommended that people stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. This means that moving out isn’t really an option at the moment, or at least, will be extremely difficult (and unsafe) to try and pull off.

Until the social distancing guidelines are lifted, you and your ex may have to find a way to live together. “Breaking up while quarantining together is not ideal, but it may force you to treat each other with more respect and sincerity than is usually done today,” says Chelsea Leigh Trescott, breakup coach and podcast host of Thank You Heartbreak. Experts typically recommend a 90-day no-contact period after a breakup to give you a chance to heal, but if you’re in the same house, you can’t avoid one another entirely. Instead, you’ll need to set ground rules about how you plan to interact.

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If you have a separate bedroom or living space in your home, “moving” into a different location might help you get some mental clarity. “Having some extra space within your existing home could offer the physical and emotional space needed during a breakup,” Juarez says. “Try as best you can to give each other space, and take breaks to go for walks (if you’re allowed) to give the other person time home alone.” Both of you are dealing with a lot right now: the stress of a global public health crisis, economic turmoil, plus a personal heartbreak. It’s only natural that you need some alone time to process.

You’ll also need to decide what your new daily routine will look like. “If you’re living and working together, have open conversations to discuss routines and boundaries,” Juarez says. “Will you still eat meals together, and go for walks, and watch Narcos together?” It’s really up to you about how much time you decide to spend with your ex, but you should be very clear about the boundaries you need to set to move on. “Although it’s uncomfortable, it’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate,” Juarez notes. The more you can talk through your feelings directly, the better you’ll be able to survive this period of cohabitation.

When you’re hurting, you may find yourself wanting to lash out at your ex or be passive aggressive toward them. But the last thing you need during this stressful time of quarantine is a hostile living environment. “Because you’re still living together, you’ll have to ask yourself how you can drop your egos, distance yourself emotionally, and show up in a way that honors both your past, and the courageous decision you’re making to split,” Trescott says. “Ask yourself what your best self would do, and if the tables were turned, how you’d want to be treated.” Even if you feel betrayed, take the high road and treat your ex with kindness.

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Whatever you do (and as hard as it might be), try not to blur the lines between your relationship and your breakup. “If you’re going to break up, be broken up,” Juarez says. It may be tempting to fall back into your regular routines: cuddling, sharing inside jokes, maybe even having sex. This will only make things more difficult for both of you, and it can drag out your healing process indefinitely.

As tough as this situation is, try to reframe it as a chance to end your relationship gracefully and to stay on good terms with your ex. “Quarantining with a partner you’re not in a good place with will be excellent practice for future relationships,” Trescott says. “[There’s] less running, less hiding, more letting go and leaning into the discomfort. These life skills and character development will serve you in quarantine and out of it, too.”

 

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Experts Worry ‘Quarantine Fatigue’ Is Starting

Researchers tracking smartphone data say they recently made a disturbing discovery: For the first time since states began implementing stay-at-home orders in mid-March to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, Americans are staying home less.

The nationwide shift during the week of April 13 was relatively slight. However, any loss of momentum, particularly when stay-in-place orders remain in effect across most of the country, has some public health experts worried about “quarantine fatigue.” Any increase in travel, they say, is premature when staying home remains the most effective way to limit the spread of the virus until widespread testing and contact tracing become available.

“We saw something we hoped wasn’t happening, but it’s there,” said Lei Zhang, lead researcher and director of the Maryland Transportation Institute at the University of Maryland. “It seems collectively we’re getting a little tired. It looks like people are loosening up on their own to travel more.”

Zhang said he anticipates the number of people staying home will continue to drop as some states begin allowing businesses, beaches and other public facilities to reopen. That process began last week in South Carolina and Georgia.

Public health experts say any data showing widespread public resolve or cooperation beginning to wane is noteworthy. Because this is the first U.S. pandemic in 100 years, they don’t know how long people are willing to tolerate cabin fever for the greater good.

They say they’re not surprised, however, that a slide occurred in a week that saw the first highly publicized challenges to such orders by protesters and President Donald Trump, who tweeted his support to “liberate” states from shutdowns. The White House also released federal guidelines that week for states seeking to reopen their economies. And a growing number of governors, including in Texas, Minnesota and Vermont, set dates for when they planned to gradually lift restrictions.

By April 17, the researchers found, the share of people presumed to have stayed home – meaning their phones didn’t move at least a mile that day – declined from a national average of 33 percent to 31 percent, compared with the previous Friday. That came after six weeks of the staying-home percentage increasing or holding steady.

The number of work trips remained about the same. However, the average number of personal daily trips grew to 2.5 per person, up from 2.4 the previous Friday – a 4 percent increase. Trips between counties and states also increased.

Because the study’s sample size is so large – more than 100 million cellphones observed monthly – even slight changes are statistically significant, Zhang said.

Dr. Wilbur Chen, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said it’s too soon to know whether the findings reveal a one-week blip or the start of a trend. Chen, a member of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s covid-19 task force in Maryland, said he’s keeping a close eye on the data, but researchers won’t know for several weeks if more travel led to more coronavirus hospitalizations or deaths – the two most reliable measures of the virus’ spread.

“But it all makes sense,” Chen said. “If people are out and about, there’s more risk of transmission, and when there’s transmission, you have more cases of hospitalizations and deaths.”

George Rutherford, an epidemiology professor at the University of California at San Francisco, said he’s concerned to hear that more people are venturing out while infections remain on the rise in much of the country.

“We’re going to have to do this carefully,” Rutherford said of states beginning to ease restrictions. “Letting people decide for themselves because they’re bored is not a good way to do it. . . . This is not the time to be letting up.”

Experts have theories about why the week of April 13, the most recent data available, became a tipping point. Many homebound Americans hit the mental milestone of the fifth week, technically entering a second month, with no clear end in sight. Even with the boom in video calls and virtual cocktail hours, they say, feelings of loneliness and isolation continue to mount. Balmy spring temperatures also probably drew people out, particularly in warmer regions where a hot, sticky summer will soon descend.

It’s also no coincidence, they say, that resolve would begin to wane amid the Trump-supported protests, even as most Americans tell pollsters they support stay-at-home requirements.

Lorien Abroms, a public health professor at George Washington University, said it doesn’t help that the public has received “mixed messages,” including Trump’s “tacit support” of the protesters.

“I think the message is getting out that you can give in to your fatigue and say ‘It’s enough,’ ” Abroms said.

Some people also might have mistakenly believed they could safely start bending the stay-at-home rules, experts say, when some governors began to publicly announce how and when their economies would begin to reopen.

“People can feel it’s coming, so they get more antsy,” said Susan Hassig, an associate professor of epidemiology at Tulane University. “It’s kind of like a kid before Christmas.”

Governors in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee announced reopening dates Monday, after the latest cellphone data was analyzed. However, the percentages of people staying home in those states as of April 17 already were among the lowest in the country, between 23 percent and 26 percent.

Travis Gayles, the chief health officer in Montgomery County, Maryland, called the potential problem of residents losing patience “an important point that I think every jurisdiction across the country is grappling with in terms of making sure we reinforce our message related to shelter-in-place.”

Gayles said he wasn’t familiar with the data, but questioned whether Montgomery residents might have ventured out more after the county began requiring shoppers to wear face coverings in stores, pharmacies and other retailers.

Even so, Gayles said, “The message is very clear. We’re still encouraging folks to stay home and only come out when they need to,” such as to go to work or the grocery store.

The reversal first became apparent last week, when the Maryland researchers continued to analyze the movements of smartphones via location data from apps. The aggregated and anonymous data, while imperfect, is an easily obtainable and consistent way to measure how much people move about, Zhang said. He said researchers are sharing the mobility data with government officials and epidemiologists modeling the spread of covid-19.

The nationwide drop in the researchers’ “social distancing index” started April 14. That was one day before thousands of protesters in Michigan received national attention for jamming roads around the state capitol, demanding that the restrictions be eased and people be allowed to return to work.

The social distancing index reflects how much people stay home, as well as how much and how far they travel by plane, car, transit, bicycle and on foot, Zhang said. Phones that didn’t make any stops of 10 minutes or more, such as those on people out for a bike ride or walk with the dog, were counted as staying home, Zhang said.

In the Washington region, the District of Columbia and its suburbs all saw an increase in travel and a 1 percent to 5 percent drop in people staying home by April 17. The biggest drop occurred in Arlington County, Virginia, where 50 percent of residents stayed home, down from 55 percent the previous Friday. However, Arlington tied with the District for the highest percentage in the region.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, the number of those staying home fell from 45 percent to 43 percent, while Prince George’s County fell from 37 percent to 34 percent. In Northern Virginia, Fairfax County dropped from 46 percent to 44 percent, while Prince William County ended the week with 34 percent and Loudoun County with 37 percent.

Of course, the data has its limits. Zhang said researchers are still trying to determine where people are going. If someone takes a round-trip drive to walk alone in the woods, for example, they would be counted as making two trips, even though they weren’t any more likely to spread or catch the virus.

Hassig, of Tulane, said the data is interesting because the United States has such limited experience requiring residents to stay home for lengthy periods. Any quarantines typically are small enough that local health officers can check in daily to monitor people’s symptoms and encourage them to stay isolated. Moreover, she said, most last a maximum 14 to 21 days. “We can usually reduce the likelihood of substantial quarantine fatigue,” Hassig said. “. . . On this massive scale, the support and encouragement can get lost.”

The coronavirus stay-at-home orders are far less restrictive than quarantines, but public health experts say convincing people to stay in will become harder as the weeks pass. The more effectively such orders lower rates of infection, they say, the more some people will incorrectly assume they’re no longer necessary.

Most importantly, experts say, governments wanting to discourage people from venturing out need to better understand why they’re doing so. The response to restlessness, for example, might be to reopen larger parks or close more streets to traffic to allow people to get outdoors at safe distances. If some people are starting to drive for Uber or Lyft because they lost their retail job, the response might be more financial aid. For those feeling cut off, experts say, government messages of sympathy and compassion would help.

“The isolation is real. The loneliness is real,” said Abroms, of GWU. “We need to add that in our messaging. . . . We have to acknowledge that it’s not easy to stay home.”

 

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Coronavirus Reality Check: 7 Myths About Social Distancing, Busted

States and communities around the country are beginning to take steps to reduce human contact to slow the spread of COVID-19. This “social distancing” includes canceling public gatherings such as sports events, restricting or shutting down public transportation, closing schools and other restrictions.

The goal is to make transmission harder for the virus. This will buy time for communities to prepare and will ultimately reduce the peak demand on health care, which has reached catastrophic levels in Wuhan, China, northern Italy and elsewhere, and is beginning to strain places like Seattle.

Many cities undertook just these measures over 100 years ago to blunt the impact of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Those that acted swiftly and decisively were rewarded with fewer cases and a lower peak of cases, relieving the demand for medical care.

Momentum is now building to impose social distancing once again. We strongly support these measures, which will save lives. But it’s critical to be smart about them. Here are some myths about social distancing and the reality as best it can be understood right now.

Myth: Social distancing is only for the elderly and those with high-risk conditions.

Reality: The goal of social distancing is to protect individuals, especially the most vulnerable, but the way to do that is to slow down transmission. All of us can become infected and transmit infection. All of us must contribute to slowing down transmission by staying away from crowded places (especially indoors), reducing the number of contacts we have, avoiding people who are coughing or sneezing, and staying home and really isolating ourselves if we have those symptoms. All of this helps reduce the rate of spread, reduce the number of people who will eventually get infected, and protect those who are most at risk if they do get infected.

Myth: Only people who have tested positive for COVID-19 need to stay home and isolate themselves.

Reality: Unfortunately, the United States has nowhere near the number of tests we need. Until that changes, we can test only the sickest cases (and a fraction of all mild cases for surveillance and public health tracking). As the weather gets warmer, flu and colds will become less common, and COVID-19 will become an increasingly likely cause of respiratory infections. Over the next few months, the best advice will be for those with any respiratory infection to stay home and for employers to make that possible.

Myth: Only really large gatherings have to be stopped.

Reality: Events like the Biogen conference in Boston that sparked an outbreak have rightly focused attention on the potential of mass gatherings to quickly spread coronavirus. Cancellations and postponements of large gatherings like NBA basketball games, Broadway plays, theme parks and the Masters golf tournament are a good first step, but that’s not the end of our responsibility.

From influenza to measles to severe acute respiratory syndrome, we have stark examples of smaller gatherings lighting the spark for larger outbreaks. In fact, the SARS outbreak was seeded in 2003 from a single person in a hotel who transmitted it to 16 others. Remember, this is not about personal risk, which might be relatively low in small social gatherings. This is about population risk. Because of the lack of testing availability to date, we don’t know who has coronavirus. For now, we assume we all might, and we maintain social distancing and avoid indoor gatherings large and small so we are not the spark that generates another outbreak fire.

Myth: All human interaction needs to be stopped.

Reality: Maybe “physical distancing” would be a better phrase than “social distancing,” because the goal is to separate physically, not emotionally. And staying 100% physically separated is not possible for many reasons — keeping food on the table and medicines in the cabinet, keeping the basics of society functioning and maintaining mental health, to name a few. We absolutely should be stopping nonurgent errands, in-home social visits that can be done with a phone call or FaceTime, and nights out at crowded bars (looking at you, millennials).

Instead, head outside during the day. Go for a walk or run with a friend. Meet a neighbor or two or three on the street for a conversation. Send the kids outside for a no-contact game of soccer or a hike in the park or woods with friends. We’ll know a lot more when testing comes online full force in the next few weeks, and then we all can adjust accordingly.

Myth: Coronavirus is spread only from coughing and sneezing.

Reality: The dominant mode of transmission appears to be from large droplets that generate during coughing, sneezing and even just regular breathing and talking. But there are actually three modes of transmission — large droplets, contact with contaminated surfaces, and breathing in airborne virus. The tendency is to treat each mode as distinct, but for many viruses it’s a continuum, novel coronavirus included. When you cough or sneeze and generate large droplets, some fraction lands on surfaces, and some fraction stays airborne as a smaller aerosol that can stay aloft.

Coronavirus: We will be separated. We still have to stick together.

The scientific community will figure out the relative importance of each mode in time, but for now, we should be taking precautions against all of them. That means following the important public health recommendations of covering your cough and frequently washing your hands, but also frequently cleaning surfaces and bringing more air into all of our homes, schools and offices.

Myth: If we do enough social distancing, we will see dramatic results immediately.

Reality: In Chinese cities, the streets have been nearly empty for over a month under an extreme form of social distancing that is just beginning to be lifted. Social distancing in the United States is likely to be less intense, for many reasons. One lesson we can learn from China is that, even with very intense interventions, the demand for hospital beds and intensive care continued to rise for weeks. That’s because once someone is infected, it takes time before they get sick enough to need hospital care. We are social distancing now to reduce the strain on our health care system several weeks from now.

Myth: Social distancing for a period of a month or so may be enough to stop the epidemic permanently.

Reality: Even though the disease can decline in one city or area with very effective social distancing, the virus is still present — in small numbers of mildly ill people, perhaps in very ill patients hospitalized for a long period, and in other parts of the world. History shows that when social distancing works, case numbers go down, and then when controls are relaxed, they can resurge. Unfortunately, we are in this for a long haul. We need to prepare to pull together, help one another and preserve social cohesion while we use social distancing to combat the virus.

 

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16 Things Likely To Become Obsolete In A Post-Coronavirus World

“The Obsolete Man,” a classic episode of “The Twilight Zone,” deals with the state declaring certain human beings “obsolete” and sentencing them to death.

Obsolescence will gain traction, thanks in part to coronavirus concerns. Actions, traditions and items – whether temporarily, partially or completely – are likely to fade over time as a result of the new normal, social-distancing, germ-conscious world the virus is helping to shape.

Related coverage: Obsolete! 23 daily life moments, objects becoming outdated

So we offer 16 examples of what we might expect to see fade away to one degree or another in various walks of life:

Buffets and salad bars

A few years ago, we took a cruise, embarking after a flu bug previously had wound its way around the ship. Ship staffers constantly disinfected every surface. The two key changes: Every restroom on board had signs instructing passengers to use a paper towel to touch the door handle, and the buffet was converted into a serving line for the first 48 hours – the incubation period. It’s hard to envision self-serve buffets or salad bars making it though this pandemic. The sneeze bars don’t seem like they will do enough. Self-serve brunch buffets? Gone.

Handshakes

National Handshake Day is the last Thursday in June, but it’s not looking like much of a celebration. The handshake is as good as gone. CBS Sunday Morning’s Mo Rocca beat me to the punch on this one. Can you remember your last handshake? What will replace the traditional business greeting is anyone’s guess. The “Star Trek” finger split isn’t going to work and is not original. I’ve opted for a peace sign the old-school way – victory formation, fingers up – not sideways like suburban kids trying to look fierce. Sportsmanship on fields and courts will take a hit. No pregame basketball starters shaking hands and hugging, no postgame hockey lines? Greetings will change, somehow. Hopefully, new symbols of sportsmanship will be created. Losing the handshake changes the face of business, society and sports. Speaking of …

High five / slapped hands

The high five had a good run. Its origin dates to 1977, an impromptu invention from Los Angeles Dodger teammates Glenn Burke and Dusty Baker after a home run. Though the insipid congratulatory slaps after missed free throws will not be missed. But what will happen to the choreographed routines after sports come back? They might subsist as multiple charades-like motions – with no touching.

Food-store samples

Call them loss leaders, bonus enticements or face-to-face marketing of a product, but don’t look for free samples in grocery stores. Stores are looking closely at developing curbside-pickup-delivery initiatives, so the toothpick-spearing days for a nibble of diced cheese, cube of meat or dessert cup with tiny plastic spoon are in the past to stay.

TP-ing houses

TP-ing, rolling – whatever you want to call the age-old hijinks or celebration – is a thing of the past. Drive by one and you’d smile, if it weren’t your house. Now, if you were to see the white strands streaming from tall branches, you’d think of empty store shelves and purchase-limit signs. Don’t worry, if you long to see this, just tune in to any number of 1980s movies.

Sharing drinks in a bar

“Wow, this wine is amazing – you have to try it!” I’ll stick to what’s in my glass, thanks.

Lines

Six-foot markers will be the norm, along with maximum-capacity signs. And you can bet when there looks to be a violation everyone with a cell-phone will turn into instant filmmakers. More concert-ticket lines will be virtual. Staggered entry times at ticketed events, spaced-out booths with multiple lines at festivals, designated exits and similar measures could adhere to social distancing. But one funneled, roped-off line that packs in people to snake them into an exhibit, theater or amusement-park ride doesn’t seem enticing. Can you imagine ticket snafus bottlenecking fans at FirstEnergy Stadium? Slow-moving cattle-like lines are rarely fun, and they might be on the way to extinction.

Knocking bottoms of beer bottles

This pointless tradition of walking up to someone who is holding a bottle of beer and clinking the lip with the bottom of another bottle should have been outlawed years ago for sheer lack of imagination. (If you never tried it, the simple act will volcano up your suds. So funny.) It’s gone. One, craft beer costs money. Two, more cans are on the market than ever before. What does this have to do with coronavirus? Not much, except no one is going to want to waste good beer when we go back in to bars.

Manned tollbooths

Lanes with automated coin bins and E-Z Pass-only have been in use for years. With manned stations, one worker is exposed to scores of drivers who might not be wearing masks in their vehicles. And if the worker is contagious, he or she might as well be handing a petri dish to each driver.

Mosh pits / floor seats

Yes, I know the coronavirus hordes who descended onto Florida beaches might make up some of the same folks who enjoy crowd-surfing at certain concerts. But with all the stories that have come out about how contagious the virus is, and the fact it has hit all age groups, eyes might be open now. The appeal of bodies crushing – standing or surfing – for 90 minutes might lose some of its appeal, especially if social-distancing remains in place in arena or sweat-box clubs.

Rugby, wrestling, boxing

A scrum with athletes hunched, arms and shoulders locked around each other. Boxers in a clinch, amateur headgear butting into an opponent’s chest. Wrestlers gripping and grabbing. What could possibly go wrong? Face it: We’re living in a vaccine-yet-to-be-developed world with a lot to learn about whether subsequent cases of the virus can emerge in positive patients or if seasonal swings might result. Seems like these sports might be shelved for a while.

Holy water

The stoups were dry in churches in the weeks leading to the shelter-in-place order. Will a symbolic replacement be found for baptism, a sacred rite?

Airplanes

Free – or price-inclusive – seats on airlines are rare to begin with. Remember how we all were aghast when we learned fees were being tacked on for checked luggage, extra legroom and preferred seats? If you thought a handful of middle seats were the only thing without such fees, envision this: A not-so-optional cleaning fee couched as “safety premium,” where an extra squirt of bleach spray will be applied to your tray table. If you’re stuck with a middle seat, you might be forced to buy this. Apologies for giving the airlines the idea.

Physical offices

The quick work-at-home shift, the proliferation of video chat and Zoom meetings, and the comfort of sweat pants might make companies question why they are paying rent and enduring commutes. Monthly or quarterly outings could suffice for real face time. Other uses – creative startups, artists’ studios, emerging businesses, storage spaces, short-term initiatives – might be found.

Key-chain store club tabs

No need to fumble through the coiled discount club-member cards on your key chain when you can upload them via an app and flash them at a scanner. Toss them, and the germs they bring.

Kissing

Aunt Margie – who you haven’t seen in years – coming up to you and planting one on your cheek at your cousin’s wedding might be a thing of the past. Kissing-endurance contests will go the way of flagpole sitting, previously cast into the land of obsoletion, and what about the coming-of-age spin the bottle? Sportswriter Rick Reilly muses about New Year’s Eve moments and kiss cams at games, if stadiums and arenas ever open. Kiss them goodbye. (But if and when minor-league baseball returns, the sumo-wrestling gag seems safe and compliant with social distancing.)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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How To Plan A Zoom Brunch You’ll Look Forward To Every Sunday

While brunch plans outside of the house might be indefinitely postponed, mastering the art of how to have a Zoom brunch will hit a certain kind of spot in the meantime. If a lazy Sunday morning hang with your favorite people is a staple (or the staple of) your social life, missing this event can be painful. While we’re all at home social distancing and attempting to flatten the curve, social connection is more needed than ever. Honoring those brunch plans online could be a valuable dose of comfort.

Though it may seem insufficient, virtually eating a meal with your friends can help bridge the gap between solitude and support. Zoom, the rising video conference app, has become increasingly popular for a reason. According to The Guardian, an app tracking firm called Apptopia reported that Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times on March 23 alone. The Atlantic notes that Zoom cocktail hours, coffee breaks, and dinner parties are booming, especially among tech savvy Gen Z-ers. And to help save our social lives during quarantine, Zoom is now offering free upgrades to non-paying users so that they can chat longer than the allotted 40 free minutes without being charged. Now is the time for that bottomless brunch in cyberspace if there ever was one.

“We are social beings. We need to be connected to thrive. Being physically separated takes its toll on us, but we can get back some of the social connectedness with technology,” Dr. Josh Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. Keeping the routine of regular “hangs” with your friends will benefit not only to your social life, but also your mental health.

Having a social engagement on the calendar is helpful, especially when you feel like your life is a never-ending Monday from apocalypse hell right now. So stay connected, and to honor your routines, host a Zoom brunch. Here’s how:

Get A Zoom Brunch The Calendar

Get a Zoom brunch on the calendar.
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Pick a date and time that works for you and your brunch crew. You want to make sure that you settle on a time that everyone can actually be present for, so get a group chat going and talk about this for a minute. For example, if your friends have kids, schedule your brunch during a nap. Or, if your friends live with other people, have them check with them to find a time that they can ensure a good hour or so of quiet, uninterrupted, private screen time, in a room they can eat in that also has great WiFi. Once you’ve found a time, set up a Zoom meeting so it’s ~official~.

Make Sure Everyone Is Signed Up For It

If you don’t already have Zoom, you’ll want to download the app on your phone, or desktop, and sign up for it ahead of time. The signup process only takes a minute, and requires you to add your email and name, activate your account by clicking a link that you’ll receive in your inbox, and bam, you’re ready to chat. Because you’ll likely want to make this brunch party a regular event, it’s best to have everyone signed up with the app and familiarized with it, first. Once you set the date and time and enter in all of your friends’ email addresses, the invites will get sent out.

Discuss Your Zoom Brunch Menu

Plan your Zoom brunch ahead of time.
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There are many different ways to go about having a virtual brunch, and you’ll want to decide on a plan of action with your crew ahead of time. You might want to prepare your food before the call, so that the meal isn’t an interruption. Or, if the food is an important element of the hang, you might want to decide on a theme, so you can all show off your meals when the call begins. Alternatively, you might opt to cook a meal together, while you’re chatting. Fruit breads, muffins, and scones are all the rage right now, and here are a few recipes to consider for your brunch bake off:

If Cooking Brunch “Together” …

Cook brunch with your friends on Zoom.
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If you decide to cook with your friends on Zoom, whether you’re making avocado toast or banana bread, you’ll want to prep the ingredients ahead of the call, to minimize the amount of clanging and maximize the time you have to sit down, and eat your meal with your friends. Have everyone take out the items they will need, and enjoy the privilege of getting to help each other through the process. You can compare notes on how to do each step, and when you have a finished product, you’ll actually feel like you made a meal with your friends, which will be even more rewarding.

Guide The Zoom Call

Though you might be brunching with your closest friends, it takes a while to get the hang of a multi-person video call, especially if you’re not used to Zoom. To help take the pressure off the potentially unnatural conversational flow, play Zoom games, or pick talking points to keep everyone engaged, like “what’s the pit and the peak of your week?” or “what show is everyone loving right now? If you choose to cook together, you can each present your meals once they are done, show them off to the camera, and discuss how the cooking process was for you. If you opt to cook your own meals ahead of time, you can still go around and share what you made, how you made it, and whether you like it — suffice it to say we could all use as many boredom busting recipes as we can get right now.

 

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The One Personality Trait You Need To Be Irresistibly Attractive — And How To Get It

Be the one that commands attention.

When it comes to attraction, charm, and magnetism, what do attractive people have that makes everyone like them without even trying?

How many times have you been at a party when someone enters the room and immediately commands everyone’s attention? Have you ever thought, “I wish that was me”?

As it turns out, it can be — you just need to embody one specific personality trait.

So, what makes someone attractive and charming? It all comes down to charisma. And the good news is scientists have proven that charisma is a trainable trait.

The game-changing step to becoming more magnetic is learning how to be present and live in the moment.

Think back to the last time you were in contact with a true charmer — you probably felt connected and special, like you were the only person that mattered at that moment.

That’s because captivators understand the sheer power of being and living in the moment.

Did you know that the human mind reads facial expressions in as little as seventeen milliseconds?

This means that “fake” listening is impossible. As soon as your mind wanders, subtle subconscious facial movements and body language take place.

Whether your eyes gloss over or your effect has a split second delay, the other person picks up on those indicators and knows that you’ve lost interest.

You end up pissing off your friends, insulting your partner, or disrespecting your boss all because you’re trained by society to be partially present.

In a culture that encourages multitasking, it’s never been more difficult to pay attention.

In fact, according to a 2,250-person study from Harvard University, we miss out on 50 percent of our lives by not being present.

The world can be your oyster when you learn the art of being present in the here and now.

Whether you want to climb the ladder or become the envy of the party, tap into this powerful skill and you’re one step close to getting what you want.

How does your lack of presence affect your personal and professional life?

It’s seen as rude and inauthentic, which basically means that nobody will trample over others to get to you nor will they trust you.

No matter if you’re trying to win over the guy, half-listen to your wife’s sob story during the big game, or survive your boss’ boring story about his pregnant poodle, you’re a fraud and everyone’s subconscious knows it.

But, the good news is that presence is a learned skill. All you need is practice and patience.

To get you started on learning how to live in the moment and train that personality trait of charisma, here are 2 exercises to try.

1. Breath Meditation

This exercise is super easy, all you have to do is breathe.

Breathe and pay attention to how the air flows in and out of your body. Do that over and over until the time is up.

Start this practice for 30-seconds every day for the first week and then increase by 2-minute intervals each week until you can sustain focused attention on your breath for 5-6 minutes.

2. Chocolate Meditation

Yep, you read that right!

Place a foiled Hershey’s Kiss in the palm of your hand. Take a moment and look at this tiny piece of goodness. Next, slowly peel back the wrapper and pay close attention to the increased chocolate aroma spilling into the air.

Place the bit of heaven on your tongue and just let it sit. Notice the texture and taste. Slowly allow your mouth to move the chocolate around.

Try and make it last for as long as you can. Your goal is to have this exercise last at least 5 minutes.

When your mind wanders — and it will — just gently bring your awareness back to the exercise.

How do you know if you’re fully engaged? There are 3 signs.

  • You feel what the speaker is describing: If they describe a moment of humiliation you experience signs in your body that only gross embarrassment could illicit.
  • You’re captivated: You’re so in the moment that you can experience what they are feeling inside their own body — relaxed, irritated, or maybe stressed.
  • The story gets juicier: When the speaker feels your undivided attention, they will become more and more vulnerable — it’s a beautiful process.

When you notice that you’ve trailed off, simply take in a deep belly breath and tune back in.

Yes, it’s that simple to learn how to be more attractive.

Start this week and retrain your brain to stay in the moment.

Commit to 30-seconds a day for a week, and you’ll notice a difference. By the end of the second week, others will take note. You can even go for the full 21-day challenge and you’ll be the person that commands the attention.

Pure attention is extremely rare these days. That means that you can take advantage of this little trick and reap the benefits from your discipline.

 

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How To Shop For Wine Safely During the Coronavirus Outbreak

I’ve always thought of liquor stores as “essential businesses!”

You’ve stocked up on food staples, queued up what to watch on Netflix, and now, you’ve only got one thing left to do: figure out how to safely get wine during the coronavirus outbreak. Well, wash your hands and listen up from the appropriate social distance, because there are still plenty of safe ways for you to have that glass of pinot.

Is It Safe To Go To Liquor Stores?

Like shopping for groceries during the coronavirus outbreak or any other sort of public activity, buying alcohol from a store comes with some risk. Being in a crowded place — like a liquor store during peak hours — poses a greater possibility of coming in contact with someone who is infected and contracting the novel coronavirus. As person-to-person contact (through the transmission of infected respiratory droplets) appears to be how COVID-19 is primarily spreading, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended gatherings over 10 people be canceled or postponed for at least the next few weeks. Limiting the number of shopping trips you make is likely the best option. And yes, that applies to liquor stores as well.

When you do go shopping, be mindful of what you touch and give fellow shoppers as much space as possible. And, in case it hasn’t been drilled into your brain already, don’t touch your face and wash your hands once you get home. If you want to be extra cautious, wipe down any bottles, cans, or products with non-porous surfaces you bought with soap and water or disinfectant.

Wine options may be limited as certain stores during the coronavirus outbreak.
Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Can I Get Wine Delivered To My House?

Unless you live in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Utah, chances are good you can have wine shipped to your doorsteps. (Those three states are the only ones that specifically prohibit direct-to-consumer shipment of alcohol, per the National Conference of State Legistalurres’s page on the direct shipment of alcohol in the United States. Apologies to all Alabamians, Oklahomans, and Utahns.)

While many states have some restrictions on what kind of alcohol can be shipped directly to consumers and how — Delaware requires orders to be processed and shipped through licensed wholesalers and Rhode Island allows alcohol to be shipped but only when purchased on-site — most states allow beer and wine to be shipped straight to you.

Are Wine Delivery Services Safe?

As with food delivery safety, liquor drop off comes with some hypothetical risk as well. There are a few key things to keep in mind to keep yourself and those around you safe: Limit contact with your delivery person, utilize contact-free drop off when possible, and wash your hands. Wiping down deliveries like you would items from the grocery stores will also help reduce your risk of interacting with the virus.

Popular liquor delivery service Drizly is implementing certain precautions in order to keep customers and drivers safe per their website. While contact-free alcohol deliveries can’t be guaranteed as in-person confirmation is often required for legal and safety reasons, Drizly is encouraging things like outside delivery drops, contactless ID scanning, and eliminating the need for customer signatures.

If you’re able to avoid the store entirely, you won’t be lack for choice when it comes to wine delivery. There are wine subscription and wine delivery programs like Usual Wines, Vinebox, Winc where you can spend some of this self-isolation finding your new go-to wine. Favorites like Rosé All Day and Cupcake wine can be bought through third-party sites like Big Hammer Wines and Wine.com.

Some are avoiding liquor stores and using wine delivery services during the coronavirus outbreak.
alvarez/E+/Getty Images

Have Wine Makers Been Impacted?

While wine availability may depend on where you live, major wine makers are still producing but with more caution. “We have made many changes to our business over the past few weeks,” Anna Bell, vice president of marketing at Barefoot Wine, tells Bustle over email. “While we are quickly adjusting to real-time changes affecting how and where consumers are able to engage with us, we continue to work closely with our suppliers, distributors, customers and sales teams and appreciate all of their extra efforts to ensure our fans are still able to access and enjoy Barefoot during this time.” Molly Davis, vice president of marketing for Apothic at E. & J. Gallo Winery, spoke to Bustle over email and also emphasized the up-to-date changes Apothic is making to ensure consumer and worker safety.

“We continue to work with our environmental health and safety teams to provide a safe workplace for our production and sales team members who are unable to work remotely,” a representative for Gallo, which owns both Apothic and Barefoot Wines, told Bustle over email. “We have made many adjustments to our business, including increased sanitization measures and social distancing and we are providing additional resources to support our employees who are unable to work remotely.”

Like many other major wine makers, both Apothic and Barefoot are available to order on Drizly or through the The Barrel Room. So, you’ll still be able to sip your favorite (or most $10) wines at home.

Are Liquor Stores Considered “Essential Business”?

In states that have shuttered nonessential businesses and closed schools, some places are still allowed or required to stay open during COVID-19-related closures. Health and medical facilities are, of course, still open, and grocery stores and restaurants aren’t required to completely shut their doors. Additionally, liquor stores, in most states, are staying open.

In Maryland, according to the Baltimore Sun, convenience stores and liquor stores are exempt from nonessential business shutdowns. While wineries and distilleries must close, they can still offer pick-up and delivery services. Per the Seattle Times, some stores that sell liquor and cannabis are staying open during shut-downs though that comes with a couple of caveats. “Liquor stores that sell food” and “workers supporting cannabis retail and dietary supplemental retail” are deemed essential per Washington state’s nonessential business shutdown.

Pennsylvania has closed its liquor stores amidst shelter-in-place ordinances for a significant portion of the population, as reported by Business Insider. However, doesn’t appear to be the trend in other states. Also, beer and wine are still available at grocery stores.

In other words, you’ll still be able to sip on your sauvignon blanc while enjoying virtual happy hours. But please, quarantine and drink responsibly.

 

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Shut-down Restrictions To Be Lifted In Parts Of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania top officials expect to make announcements Friday about reopening portions of the state effective May 8, although it may take some time yet for Delaware County with all of its population density and other factors, to be affected.

“The Southeast and the Northeast are continuing to see significant rates of COVID-19,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Tuesday. “They’re continuing to see significant rates of hospitalization and we need all available hospital beds to take care of those patients.”

On Tuesday, Delaware County had 3,514 positive cases of coronavirus with 164 deaths related to the virus that first appeared in the county and in the state on March 6.

However, the situation is starting to change.

“I think that it is passed the peak,” Levine said of the virus presence in Southeastern Pennsylvania. “The virus determines the timetable but as we look at the trends in data … we look at three-day averages, we look at seven-day averages, we look at two-week averages … Looking at those trends, it does seem that we are past the peak but as we start to reopen as counties and regions go from red to yellow, we’re going to have to be very, very careful that we don’t see outbreaks and that we’re able to deal with those very, very quickly to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

As time has passed, Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated that on Friday, he will announce the lifting of some guidelines for specific parts of the state as of May 8.

Here, in Delaware County, the stay-at-home order was issued March 23. Four days prior to that, the governor ordered that all non-life-sustaining businesses close.

“We are planning for the days and weeks ahead when we will not only safely return Pennsylvanians to work but return to a different and more resilient Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “While we cannot be certain of the future path of this disease, our decisions will be driven first by prioritizing the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians.”

In determining the reopening schedule, the governor said he is relying on a data-driven support tool designed in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University to determine when parts of the state should reopen in a three-phase process.

In the red stage, only life-sustaining businesses may be open and stay-at-home orders are in place. Restaurants and bars are limited to carry-out and delivery only. Schools and child care centers are closed. Congregate care and prison restrictions are in place. Travel for life-sustaining purposes only are encouraged.

In the yellow stage, telework is encouraged to remain ongoing, where possible. Businesses with in-person operations must follow business and safety protocols, such as 6 feet distancing and the wearing of masks. Stay-at-home orders are lifted but with aggressive mitigation, such as the wearing of masks. Gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited. Indoor recreation and health facilities, including casinos, spas and gyms, remain closed.

“Whenever possible when businesses are in a county, in a region that goes from red to yellow, whenever possible, we would like to continue to telework,” Levine said. “Again, the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to stay home and if you can telework, then that would be great. But, if businesses do need people to come back to work, to the office, they can do that and we will ask them to follow the business guidance that has been released. We want people to wear masks. We want people to be 6 feet apart. We, of course, recommend the hand washing and other measures …. to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Some businesses that will swing open their doors in this stage include libraries, nail salons and pet groomers.

“Many stores will be able to reopen,” Levine said. “We still want people to practice social isolation. We still want those businesses to follow the business guidelines about social isolation and we want people to wear masks.”

Courts, however, she warned, is a whole separate branch of government.

“We don’t control the court system,” Levine said, adding that the Office of General Counsel does have regular discussions with the courts about public health implications of their activities. “In a red area, our recommendation would be that they continue to keep the courts from having public activities and sessions and hearings and stay as remote as possible.”

Congregate care and prison restrictions remain in place in the yellow phase and schools remain closed for in-person instruction and restaurants and bars continue to be open for carry out and delivery only.

In the green phase, life returns to a “new normal,” with all businesses open, but following federal and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, which also must be followed by individuals. Aggressive mitigation orders in this stage are lifted.

Factors to be considered in reopening include population density, mobility, availability of testing and health care resources. A target goal is having 50 or fewer cases per 100,000 for 14 consecutive days. For Delaware County, that would be approximately 250 new cases or less.

“We’re going to be looking at quantitative factors and we had talked about the rate of infection in a county but there are other qualitative factors that will go into making those decisions at the end of this week,” Levine stated. “As we go from red to yellow – which is not green, it’s not normal activity – I think the residents of those counties and regions should have confidence that we are and have developed a plan in terms of case investigation and contact tracing.”

The secretary warned, however, that coronavirus is not something to be taken lightly – and it’s no seasonal flu.

“COVID-19 is very different than the seasonal influenza that we see every year,” she said. “This is a global pandemic. There have been over 3 million cases of COVID-19 in the world. We are approaching 1 million cases in the United States and there have been well over 50,000 deaths in the United States … This is much more contagious than the flu and it’s more lethal than the flu. COVID-19 continues to pose a significant public health threat to the United States and to Pennsylvania.”

 

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Eileen – Chapter 14 – What’s Water Ice? – Part 1

“The air conditioner guy is supposed to come tonight. Because this place has been a blood pit.”

Spring 2019

I had to come in at 2pm today. I have no idea why my partner had to leave. I thought he had a new fitness client and he had to spend time with them, but he said no, he just had to go. I’m fine with coming in early, I love being at the salon.

On top of that the air conditioner has been busted for a week.

But I’m so happy to be away from sitting in a cubicle among a bunch of loser rubes that have no idea who they even are.

It’s Thursday and I assume I’ll be run over by clients. but it’s early and I figure I’ll be okay for a while. Normally, I can survive until 5:30 until Eileen get here late after class and we’ll make it work.

Today was not the case.

I came in early because I was asked to. I have a flexible schedule for things like this.

I could never have expected that I would be absolutely run over by the number of people who came to the salon.

From 2pm until Eileen showed up I was absolutely murdered. It was as if they had all concocted a plan to destroy me on that lovely Wednesday evening.

It was busy beyond words. I literally ran for 4 hours. Opening new accounts, tanning ladies, running, and the endless sea of dirty towels that creates.

As I ran through the salon all I could think about was, “What if Eileen bailed on her last class and came in?”

Eileen’s studies are paramount, but I can still hope. But baby never came. She needed to focus on her studies and her future degree. I admire her so much for what she’s doing and love what she’s doing here but I’m on my own for now.

I even forgot about the Rice Krispy treat I had brought in for her because I want my co-worker to have a snack while she helps me deal with all of these people desperate to tan.

I think this is the most busy I’ve ever been since I’ve worked here. I’m getting killed. I am literally doing load after load of towels.

I think around 5:30, I was scrubbing down the sun bed in #9 when I heard a familiar, lovely voice say, “Hello” to me.

I think Eileen has finally arrived!

Thank God.

I’m getting killed!

My savior is here!

Eileen doesn’t realize this but in that moment, I’m so grateful that she’s arrived I’m loving her as an employee!

I’ve been rescued from the 120 degree nightmare that has been my life for the last 4 hours!

The air conditioner guy is supposed to come tonight, because this place has been a blood pit.

The stand up units are so hot you can’t even put your hands on the handles inside the units, without being burned. That’s how bad it is. He was supposed to come two nights ago but totally failed.

We’re doing the best we can under bad conditions, but Eileen has been a love all through it.

She’s stranded at he counter dealing with all of the new intake. I retreat to the back to handle cleaning beds and managing laundry.

Eileen is handling all of the non-stop people with a smile and I so appreciate that.

It’s just another night at the salon, and I bask in the fact that I have the best staff this year.

It’s so hard to find good employees for jobs like this and I’ve been gifted with the very best.

“Is there a good water ice place around here?’

“Rita’s. It’s like two blocks away. Amazing.”

“I want that.”

“Yea, it’s a Philly favorite. Now I feel like I want water ice.”

“Do you wanna get some after work?”

I absolutely love that Eileen has asked me to have water ice with her after our little pizza date last night.

We finally finish all of the horrors of all that is the salon and finish everything there. It was a super profitable day.

 

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7 Reasons You Feel ‘Stuck’ After Your Divorce

Knowing why you feel stuck will help you figure out how to move on.

Divorce is heartbreaking and painful; you have to deal with your marriage being over, financial and home life changes, and not to mention the strain of getting the divorce.

You may have struggled to try and save your marriage as well, and are feeling “stuck” or fighting loneliness and don’t know how to practice good post-divorce care.

In other words, you have no idea how to move on after divorce. But don’t worry — this is common, and you’re not alone.

Nobody wants to admit that they get stuck along the way in dealing with divorce. It would be like admitting to yet another shortcoming.

“My marriage failed and I can’t get over it!” Making a statement like that for many people would be tantamount to taking out an ad on Facebook saying “I’m a loser.”

But the truth is that everyone gets stuck somewhere along the way dealing with divorce.

Feeling stuck at least once is normal because learning how to get over divorce isn’t a required course before getting married.

Besides that, it doesn’t matter how many books you’ve read, how many times you’ve talked it over with your divorced friends, or even how many celebrity divorces you’ve followed, you’re going to get stuck. (Yes, this is true even if you’ve been divorced before because every divorce is unique.)

You don’t know what it will take for you to get over your divorce until you’re done dealing with it.

However, in all my years working with people dealing with divorce and going through my own divorce I’ve found the most common reasons people get stuck.

By knowing these reasons, you’ll be better able to identify then when you start to get too mired in your misery. And when you know exactly what’s tripping you up you’ll have an easier time finding the specific help you need to continue dealing with your divorce instead of staying stuck.

Here are 7 reasons you feel “stuck” after your divorce and how to move on:

1. You’re grieving

Many people get trapped in lamenting what they’ve lost. This includes the hopes and dreams of what their marriage meant to them. It also includes more tangible things like the house and the 401K.

And it includes the relationships that are lost.

2. You feel like a victim

When you get ensnared with feeling powerless you’re about as stuck as you can get. Feeling like a victim also shows up as needing to assign blame — either to yourself or to your ex.

Anytime you relinquish your power to change your life, you’re giving up and dealing with divorce becomes impossible at that point.

3. You’re angry

Anger, fury, and rage are a normal part of the divorce process. However, you can get imprisoned in these emotions because they feel so powerful and righteous.

The trick to using these strong feelings to help you deal with divorce positively is being willing to look underneath them. When you do, you might discover another layer of hurt that needs healing.

4. You feel worthless

Most people experience feelings of being unwanted and worthless when they divorce. And it makes sense to do so! After all, if the one person who said they wanted to spend the rest of their life with you is content to toss you out with the trash, then what else are you supposed to think?

But the truth is that divorce does nothing to define your value.

5. You’re afraid

This is a biggie! Fear is the driving force for people staying stuck in all kinds of situations besides dealing with divorce.

If you can remember that fears usually fall into one of three categories (fear of loss, fear of dealing with divorce, fear of the future), then you’ll be better able to deal with each of your fears.

6. You’re unwilling to explore love

It might sound funny, but many people who are otherwise successfully dealing with divorce get stuck in a belief that there’s no such thing as love for them or that they now have to have rules about how they will experience love.

However, the failure of your marriage has nothing to do with your ability to experience love in the future.

7. You’re feeling lonely

The loss of so many relationships surprises most people who are dealing with divorce. But on top of those losses comes the feeling that no one else really understands (or maybe doesn’t want to try to understand) what you’re going through.

Divorce is a horribly isolating experience. And the only way to make it through without getting stuck in the loneliness is to find a support system.

These seven reasons people get stuck dealing with divorce are broad and you might not see exactly what you’re facing in this list. However, keep in mind that these are general categories of problems people face when they’re going through divorce and, if you look carefully, you’ll find a hint for the help you need to get through the specific challenge you’re facing.

And the best part is that by knowing how you’re getting stuck, you’ll be better able to move through it so you won’t stay stalled for too long. Just remember that everyone gets stuck as they’re dealing with divorce, but with this cheat sheet you will find your way through your healing much more quickly.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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