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In our hunkered-down times, daily step counts have slowed to the trickle of trips between the couch and the kitchen, Netflix libraries are being rummaged through, and recipes are now organized from most to least cooking time. While most people in the U.S. aren’t forced to shelter in place yet due to COVID-19, folks in China, South Korea, and Italy have gathered valuable experience staying home over the last several weeks. There’s a lot we can learn from our fellow global citizens.

So, we talked to some expert social distancers about how they’ve been staying busy, the new hobbies they’ve picked up, what they’ve replaced exercise with (dancing, massaging themselves), and, most importantly, the cooking projects they’ve undertaken. “The way we have fun now is old-school physical work: so cleaning up, organizing, ironing shirts,” says Edoardo Monti, who runs an artist residency in Brescia, Italy. “The way that we are coping with it is thinking of it as a very long Sunday. So it’s quiet, things are closed, friends are home.”

The art residency founder staying creative, volunteering, and working out on Instagram

I’ve been doing long-term projects, so, for instance, I just finished uploading and writing stories and creating exhibitions on our Google Arts and Culture platforms so that people can access the collection remotely. Working in the cultural industry and knowing so many artists and curators, what we did was create this artists coloring book. So for every day for the next 30 days, we’re gonna continuously upload new artworks by Italian and international artists.

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco
Courtesy of Piero Corva

I had a double live Instagram story with a friend of mine from New York. Her name is Nicole Winhoffer, she’s an amazing trainer that works with Madonna, Kate Hudson, and Stella McCartney. ​So she was my trainer and I was the guy training in a way. People really want to work out.

And while culture is important it is, unfortunately, at times like these, not essential. So I registered to be a volunteer to bring medicines and food to elderly and disabled people in the city of Brescia, because there’s a number you can call to get free delivery for food and medicine that if you’re sick, old, or disabled.

Now, I can speak for all Italians and say that we love cooking. A lot of what myself and friends have been doing is going to the library, picking up any recipe book that you have—I’m using one from a friend of mine’s mother from New Zealand—and the challenge is to go through the book and just open it randomly every day and then create that recipe. I cooked some short ribs last night, which was amazing. —Edoardo Monti, founder of Palazzo Monti

The luxury brand employee in Korea learning how to massage herself

I’ve been cooking a lot. People are making weird coffee experiments where you have to whip it over 400 times. Then the coffee mix becomes a whipping cream. A lot of people make homemade kimchi because they have nothing to do. I made a potato gnocchi from scratch. Usually, when you make pasta you use flour, right? But I grounded the potato and then I separated the water out of the potato and then from the water I took the starch and then I combined the starch and I made the gnocchi out of real 100% potato.

I started watching some YouTube videos to learn how to self-massage and I bought this self-massage tool. Everyone stopped going to the gym and then we are eating a lot, so I feel like I have to exercise. I’m still too lazy to exercise so I am doing a little self-massage for blood circulation instead. —Hye, a merchandiser for a luxury fashion brand

The Italian tailor tidying up his library

During this time, where we are forced to stay home, I try not to waste the days. When I wake up I usually practice 30 minutes of yoga. I also started to tidy up my library since I have a lot of books and I’ve never had time to look at them. And then, of course, I read: To Have or to Be? by Erich Fromm, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Upwind by Ambrogio Fogar, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

I also take advantage of the time to study in order to set up some strategies to propose in my shop. —Ermanno Lazzarin, founder of Eral 55

The shop owner learning the art of putting things back together

Finally, I had time to use a Kintsugi kit. Kintsugi is the art of embracing damage. By messy mending, you emphasize the marks and scars of a product giving it a new perspective and beauty while offering it longevity. It’s a way to put together broken pieces and to see them in a new and better perspective.

Article written by Cam Wolf #GQ

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