10 international ELLE editors on spending time at home

Katie Becker, ELLE USA

“I am in Brooklyn and am very lucky to have a view over the East River and the Manhattan sky line. Staring out at it is my meditation. I’ve also been buying roses and every morning as I tidy up the apartment and prepare for the day, I refresh the water and reorganize them in their vases spread around the apartment. I’ve also been taking extremely long showers and enjoying careful testing of all the products I normally don’t have time to review. I also am testing out a nail polish detox to see if my nails might actually begin to grow stronger. Results TBD.”


Margaux Anbouba, ELLE USA

Cooking meals at home is a slow living practice I am really enjoying, not only because it feels therapeutic, but also because it’s a useful skill. My family is Syrian, so I am taking the time to make traditional meals from scratch. It never tastes as good as when my aunties make it, but I am trying! I am also rededicating myself to transcendental meditation, it’s a great way to start and end my day, and I really feel my brain tingle when I’m practicing. I put on a face mask while I’m doing the 20-minute meditation so it feels super productive.”



“I would have really liked to adopt a few slow living practices during the quarantine, but I have to admit that the amount of work from home that I have isn’t making it easy for me. For sure, I try to spend and enjoy more quality time with my husband and kids (two boys, a nine and an eight-year-old), and that is priceless. I also try to take care of myself as much as I can, trying out new products I had in mind before, catching up on some books in my free time, cooking special dishes or getting back to the workout and stretching routines I had abandoned lately.”



“In general, I think that people are being more mindful. For me personally, I try to think positive, to live in the present, to consciously enjoy little things, like cooking fresh food, reading a good book. I practice yoga and meditation which both helps me to relax my body and mind.”



“I’m addicted to my work, but I try to spend less time on my computer and phone. Now, I talk more to my partner and my child, and I take more time to sleep, to cook, to eat and to talk to the people I love. With daily life and work I was literally running all day, but it’s so obvious that this is important right now. I’m taking time to call my friends more often, I send presents to my parents, who I can’t kiss at the moment, to tell them how I miss them and how important they are to me. I look at the trees and flowers in my garden. I open my eyes and take time to breathe. I’m reconnecting with myself, to people around me, to nature and it’s making me happy. I really think I will not be the same after this.”



Balconies and windows are our new public squares, where we sit in silence, drink an aperitivo, chat with neighbours or listen to some comforting music.”

The Italian way: “The Italian term for slow living is ‘dolce far niente’ (sweet doing nothing), isn’t really practiced in most of our cities, especially Milan. Milan never stops and for its citizens it’s hard to do nothing. Dolce far niente is to lay on a sofa on Sundays or enjoy the sun in the garden, but mostly chat with a friend on a bench watching the world goes by or drink a glass of wine at a bar. However, isolation has changed our way to slow living at the moment.”



“This is an opportunity for me to bask in the sun for 15 minutes every morning. I find peace within my mind when my bare feet touch the grass and my skin is exposed to the sun. Sometimes, I listen to meditation sounds on the Calm app to remain calm. I also try my best to pick my own groceries online, make my own food, and enjoy every bite of it. Basically, I enjoy my life to the fullest.”

The Indonesian way: “There’s a saying in Javanese — one of our cultures-, ’alon-alon waton klakon‘ means ’slowly as long as it is realized (succeeded)‘. In your career and business, it’s better to follow the process gradually. This principle of life tells us to be tenacious and patient in reaching our goals. It’s a reminder to us that we must be patient because success cannot be achieved in an instant way.”



“I’ve taught myself to start and stop work at a set time, and the moment the work day is over, I roll out my yoga mat and commence a session of e-yoga. I’ve also learnt to be more aware of my body; I tend to get very immersed in work that I forget to drink water. So, during my WFH days I make the effort to really take short breaks, rest my eyes and replenish my liquids.”



“I start with mindful running. I like to use this as a way to think about all the things I have to do during my day—I actively allow my thoughts to come and go, which helps reduce my anxiety and stress. I’ll practice this for five minutes, then I think about how my foot strikes the ground. Then, for five minutes I think about my shoulders and how I am holding tension. When I focus to each part of the body, free from judgement, the tension releases naturally. This is really interesting, but I really need to practice not being distracted.”

The Hong Kong way: “Here, the mindful movement is a new way of living. It refers to engaging in different exercises while placing all of your attention on breathing and the movements of your body. And there is a lovely spot in HK called Tsz Shan Monastery, a Chinese Buddhist monastery where people can try spiritual practices, including traditional Buddhist teaching, tea meditation, water offering, Zen calligraphy and walking meditation— reminding us the importance of persistence in taming the mind.”



“Koreans have their own way to overcome the crisis through humour, satire, and wit. Rather than focusing on the bad circumstances, we look for a slight silver lining and channel it into a good laugh. For example, in Korean we call ourselves as a ‘con-fatted case’ or ‘home quaran-tight’ for those who got fat and no longer fit into their clothes after the quarantine. Personally, I focus on what I really want or what I would like, rather than focusing on the pace of life. As the future becomes more uncertain, I value each day more; not to spend every minute or second in vain; and to say ‘no’ to things that don’t feel true to who I am.”

The Korean way: “Well, it may sound funny, but we call the current situation of being stuck at home as ‘jibcok’. ‘Jib’ means ‘home’ in Korean and ‘cok’ means ‘stuck’. We often apply this lifestyle to our daily lives, such as #JibcokParenting, #JibcokLife, #JibcokPlay, #JibcokChef, etc. Although it doesn’t really mean a slow life’, it seems the closest term to describe the situation of South Korea, fighting against COVID-19.”


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