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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