Over 50s Lifestyle

5 ways to create your personal COVID-19 Time Capsule

May 23, 2020

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our lives and many have felt the isolation and social distancing extremely difficulty and stressful. After the shock of restrictions and having to stay at home, we all went into a frenzy to find ways to fill our time productively and then after a month or so, we are now starting to find that enthusiasm starting to wane.

The rise and fall of our enthusiasm is a little like the spread of the virus really. There was the sharp upward curve when it first hit and the number of new cases rose rapidly each day. I liken this to our enthusiasm to stay busy and find creative ways to occupy our time at home. Like many I wrote a post with 10 Hobbies to try during COVID-19. This was followed by a flattening of the curve as less new cases were reported. Much like our enthusiasm for home projects – we started to flatten the curve of enthusiasm. When mine started to wane I asked the question: How are you nourishing your soul during COVID-19?

I even found a term through Facebook for this: Coronoacoaster!

Ways to create your personal COVID-19 time capsule

This is history

However, these are unusual times, no I refuse to use the word ‘unprecedented’, but unusual times to say the least. Most of us have not experienced anything like this before and I’ve been thinking that it is the perfect opportunity to document our personal experiences during the reign of COVID-19.

This week, through the media I’ve heard of a couple of initiatives to record this moment in time. I’ve listed them below along with some other ideas you might like to use.

Create your personal time capsule during COVID-19

Write it down

Keeping a journal or writing our thoughts on life during the pandemic is a good way to capture and preserve this event in relation to our own personal experiences. It may even be a cathartic experience.

Recently, my cousin sent me some letters my mother had written to her back in the 60s when I was a child and also some my grandmother had written to my mother during her stay in hospital after my brother was born in 1950. It was a wonderful snapshot of life at that time, as the topics my mother and grandmother had written were not only personal but usually about normal life.

These letters would not mean much to those who didn’t know my mother or grandmother but to me they are treasures. My grandmother died the year before I was born and my Mum died back in 1986. When I read these letters, I feel close to them and am transported back in time. I’ve even learned some things I never knew that were happening in my family at the time.

Dear Australia Letter

Australia Post, want to mark this moment in our nation’s history and have created a national letterbox where, from now until 18 August, you can write a letter to share your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are working with the National Archives of Australia, where eligible Dear Australia letters will be kept for future generations. This will enable all Australians to record their impressions of this remarkable time.

Visual memories and thoughts

Make a video recording or take photographs of what you were doing during isolation. What brought you joy? What was life like? What didn’t you like? My friend, Lesley, has been posting photos of her 80 year old parents as ‘episodes’ on Facebook called ‘“What 80 year olds get up to in lockdown”

It is a lovely way to connect with her parents who live on the other side of the world. Her parents have also rallied to the challenge of finding fun ways to live with isolation. For example, her Mum has ‘taken to dressing up to do the housework’ and there is a photo of Lesley’s Mum vacuuming and wearing a tiara! These photos will be treasured.

Bridging the Distance – The National Museum

The National Museum is inviting Australians to share their experiences, stories, reflections and images of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bridging the Distance — Sharing our COVID-19 Pandemic Experiences is a national conversation about an event which is already a defining moment in our nation’s history.

Share your story on our Bridging the Distance Facebook page.

Craft projects

Many have started or revisited a craft. This could be a project to combine your love of craft and history. A member of the Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond Facebook Group, Marilyn, has been enjoying her love of sewing and setting the goal of creating a new project each week. Marilyn shared her work in the group with the following caption:

Have kept myself busy in my sewing room. Here’s a photo of some of my finished items a few managed to find new homes before I took a photo. My son reckons I have enough fabric that i could keep myself busy in isolation for about 6 years😂😂 . I’m going to mix it up a bit over the next few weeks with some cardmaking and planting up a few more fairy gardens.

Ways to create your personal COVID-19 time capsule
Marilyn has recorded her time in isolation through sewing.

Queensland Quarantine Quilt

The Queensland Spinners , Weavers and Fibre Artists are encouraging contributions for their ‘Queensland Quarantine Quilt’. The theme is Quarantine Time Capsule and contributors are encouraged to:

Make a piece to depict a snapshot of your time in quarantine. What made you happy? What gave you joy? Use your brightest, boldest fibre, yarn, and thread, dig through your stash and find some treasure

Creating your own time capsule during COVID-19

There are many ways to capture this moment – our feelings, thoughts, how life changed. By creating a personal time capsule you are creating your own personal history about an event that affected the world and not just your own personal world.

It would be interesting for future generations and also for us all to look back and revisit when life returns to some sense of normality.

Have you started documenting your life in isolation? What medium have you used and why?

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45 Comments

  • Reply Erica/Erika May 23, 2020 at 13:13

    Hi Sue, “Shock” is a word that resonates. I think many of us were initially in shock. I have heard where countries throughout the world are welcoming personal letters chronicling this time in history. A time capsule is a great idea. I have not be intentionally documenting this time. Although stories and photos are accumulating. Great resources in this post, Sue. I hope you are enjoying some E and E time in real life. Take care.xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 23, 2020 at 14:32

      Yes ‘shock’ is the word, Erica. I loved spending time with E&E this week. Elliot is two on 29th May and is much more of a daredevil than Ethan was at that age. He has taken to doing forward rolls off the sofa and giving his ‘Nan’ a heart attack! Just as well he is cute. I treasure the letters from my Mum and Grandmother and think that the initiatives from the corporations I mentioned are a great idea. Take care and enjoy your weekend. xx

  • Reply Donna Connolly May 23, 2020 at 13:49

    ‘Dear Australia’, ‘Bridging the Distance’, ‘Quarantine Quilt’…. Australia is responding very creatively and reflectively!
    These are such great ideas. Thank you for sharing them…and for inspiring us to come up with our own.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 23, 2020 at 14:30

      Hi Donna, I thought they were great initiatives and they have inspired me to produce something for my family. x

      • Reply Christina Henry May 27, 2020 at 10:41

        Hi Sue , I love this idea. We are going through a time that will go down in history as lifechanging for many of us. We’ll all experience it in a unique way depending on our own circumstances. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the year pans out. Regards Christina Henry

        • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:39

          Hi Christina, it will be an historic event and I wonder if my 6 year old grandson will have memories of an interrupted Grade 1, social distancing and not be able to give his Nan a hug! I missed that most of all. xx

    • Reply Anne Fraser May 24, 2020 at 05:31

      I can relate to the coronacoaster. Here we are still at the bottom. I am sure we will find positives and find we have learnt new skills or improved old ones. I like the idea of writing letters to keep. I know the British government did a similar thing during the second world war.

      • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:54

        Hi Anne, yes I thought Coronacoaster was a great term and many relate to it. After the event and in time we will be able to look back and find the positives, I’m sure. Learning new things, appreciating life more but at the moment for many it is still raw. Enjoy your weekend and take care. x

  • Reply Jennifer May 23, 2020 at 21:36

    I’ve been keeping a journal. Sadly, it also reflects the number of people who’ve died during it. I’ve also been struggling to relearn how to crochet. I’m not the best at it, but I do have a scarf going. I get a few rows in each day, but I’m still working, so lockdown hasn’t affected me as much as others.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:51

      Hi Jennifer, I suppose we need to record the good and the not so good part of the event to get a total picture, don’t we? It is lovely that people have taken up crafts that they haven’t done for some time. Good luck with the scarf. x

  • Reply Denyse May 23, 2020 at 22:04

    Great idea Sue and I have a blog post in mind for my record of COVID times.

  • Reply suzanne May 23, 2020 at 22:06

    Sue, I have been creating ‘the Covid Pages’ in our Annual Family Photo Book. The 12 x 12 book will be published using Shutterfly at the end of the year. It currently contains 8 pages of photographs and text completely devoted to the virus which reflect our daily life and adjustments. I am hopeful that there will be more than just Covid to remember before the year ends. This will surely be a time to look back on and shake our heads in amazement.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:52

      What a lovely idea, Suzanne. I haven’t even thought of documenting the event although I’m rethinking that now that I’ve read some creative ideas. We need to remember the good and not so good of any year or event don’t we? Enjoy your weekend. x

  • Reply Debbie Harris May 24, 2020 at 21:58

    I really enjoyed this Sue as i hadn’t heard of some of these ideas before! My sister and other family members have been participating in photo challenges during these isolation weeks and she is collating them into a magazine for each of us to keep. My daughter in England is doing an art challenge every day to help ease the sense of isolation. It’s amazing to see how creative people are being. I’ve been keeping a track of the numbers of cases and deaths within Australia but only so I can look back on these days and understand the enormity of it. Thanks for not using the word unprecedented – it’s been overused!

    • Reply Debbie Harris May 27, 2020 at 21:14

      Back for #mlstl Sue and have shared on SM

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 08:13

      Hi Deb, you and your family and been so creative in how you are documenting life with Corona. I think it is extra special because you are all doing this together and creating memories – the good and the not so good. xx

  • Reply Michele Somerville May 25, 2020 at 06:38

    Sue, this is wonderful and I have shared this to my Facebook page. It puts me in mind of the late Christa McCaullife, who was to be the first Teacher in Space but died in the Challenger accident. Her project was to do letters from Space I think. I remember reading her biography and she talked about how much we learned from women’s letters from the journey West in the United States. I have encouraged my church families to do this very thing because they are living in a historic moment. Also, thank you for not using that over-used word “Unprecedented!” Blessings, Michele

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 08:11

      HI Michele, I remember Christa McCaullife and the tragedy of the Challenger. Wonderful that you are encouraging your church families to document this time. It is a moment that we can look back on and see that there were positives among the trauma. Gratitude and appreciating life would be top of the list. ‘Unprecedented’ has been so over-used and I don’t think it is true. Take care and have a wonderful weekend.xx

  • Reply Natalie May 27, 2020 at 07:09

    Thank you, Sue, for sharing some great ideas. I’ve documented some of the happenings in my daily life on my blog and have taken many photos during my walks. I also have messages from my correspondence with family and friends overseas. Hope you had a great time visiting your two Es. Have a wonderful week! #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 08:07

      Your photographs will be a wonderful reminder Natalie and they are always so uplifting. It will remind us of the positives that we found during this unusual time. Enjoy your weekend. xx

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee May 27, 2020 at 07:24

    I took a series of photos last week of Covid in Pictures, how the urban landscape has changed – all the crosses on the foot path, the shut restaurants, the masks dropped on the ground. It’s interesting how much has changed. I like the Australia Post idea. I’ve been fairly honest on my emotionl state, both the good and bad on the blog. When this is finally over (I suspect a long way from now), I might pull all the relevant posts together.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 08:06

      Hi Lydia, I haven’t actually documented anything but your idea of the urban landscape is perfect to capture life right now. You have been honest in your blog posts and hopefully this has helped your emotional well being. Take care and enjoy your weekend. x

  • Reply Jennifer Jones May 27, 2020 at 09:15

    Hi Sue there are many in the genealogy community doing this. Coincidentally I started writing a post about it, on my other blog. It’s a great project by NLA.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:41

      Hi Jen, yes I suppose something like this would be right up the genealogy community’s alley. It is great to see that there are positives being created out of this difficult time. Take care and enjoy your weekend. xx

  • Reply Christie Hawkes May 27, 2020 at 10:36

    Hello Sue. I haven’t been consciously documenting my experience in the pandemic, but you could probably piece it together from my blogs, social media posts, texts, and emails. I like the idea that some organizations are putting together something more formal. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:40

      Hi Christie, I’m like you and haven’t specifically documented anything, however I thought the Quilt and Letter ideas were very creative and people are really becoming involved and participating which is great to see. Have a lovely weekend and take care.x

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au May 27, 2020 at 12:21

    Hi Sue – I haven’t done anything special for myself to record these months – in fact I seem to have journalled less because I feel like I’d have to keep writing “ditto” with most days feeling like Ground Hog Day. But I did put together a new book for Sophia called “When the World Got Sick” that tells a bit of a story about their time at home with all the pictures her mum sent me over the last couple of months. She loved it and it’ll be a really positive reminder for her of all the good stuff they did while they stayed home.
    Thanks for kickstarting #MLSTL while my post languished on hold – darn cabin fever! And I’ve shared this on my SM xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:38

      Hi Leanne, I haven’t done anything to mark the event but the two ideas I thought were very creative. What a lovely idea making a book for Sophia she will treasure that and I love the positive spin. xx

  • Reply Johanna May 27, 2020 at 12:29

    Hi Sue, what some great inspiration for us. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how this time will be remembered and who and how it might be documented. I’ve been pathetic when it comes to doing more craft projects, except for cooking abundantly, trying out new recipes and getting rather stout! Your post has jollied me out of my reverie and haziness, because I have felt a little defeated during this time and not inspired to write – but your helpful hints today have made me realise that everyone has a covid story to tell, and they might be big or they might be small, but they will all be different. Pinned and shared.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:36

      Hi Jo, I hadn’t given it much thought really but when I heard about the Queensland Quarantine Quilt and the Australia Post initiative I thought what great ideas they were. So many people have contributed their square towards the quilt I can’t wait to see it on display. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely weekend. xx

  • Reply Retirement Reflections May 27, 2020 at 13:32

    Hi, Sue – I’m dropping back in from #MLSTL. I have shared this post on my social media. This is a thought-proovking read which has inspired my thinking. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:35

      Thank you my friend and enjoy your weekend. x

  • Reply Michele May 27, 2020 at 13:45

    I haven’t done anything to document the pandemic, other than a few blog posts, but I like the idea. I think creating a national document is a great idea. I don’t know if that is happening in the US, if so, I haven’t heard about it. I will probably do some more writing about it, since that is the way I usually express myself. I love all the creative options.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:34

      Hi Michele, I think a national document is great and also the Quarantine Quilt has had so many squares made by people that it will be huge. It is a lovely way to remember this time.

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle May 27, 2020 at 13:57

    Hi Sue – what great initiatives those are! I am kind of documenting my experience during the pandemic via my blog. I started a series ‘Corona ISO Chronicles’. I’ve done a couple of those posts and will do more in time. I will look closer at these that you’ve shared here with us, thank you!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:34

      I hadn’t even thought about marking the event in someway, Min but I enjoyed listening to the ABC radio and learning about the Quarantine Quilt. People have really become involved and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished quilt. Enjoy your weekend and hope you are taking care. xx

  • Reply Joanne Tracey May 27, 2020 at 15:06

    What a fabulous idea! While I’ve continued to journal, it hasn’t really been in regards to what’s going on in the world – and we truly are living in extraordinary times.!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:32

      I thought the Queensland Quarantine Quilt and the letter idea from Australia Post were wonderful ideas. People are really getting behind it too an the quilt will be displayed when finished. I haven’t actually documented anything other than the odd post but I’m wondering what my 6 year old grandson will remember about Grade 1 and the home schooling experience. x

  • Reply Enda Sheppard May 28, 2020 at 05:05

    Like most here, Sue, I guess the fact I am writing, or blogging about some of my Covid lockdown experiences will be useful in the years ahead. I must say I love both the image of the 80 year-old vacuuming with a tiara on, and the word coronacoaster —perfect! #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2020 at 07:29

      Hi Enda, my friends parents are just gorgeous, both 80 and each day they do something around the house with a fun twist. It is so inspiring to see them taking everything in their stride. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply Enda Sheppard May 28, 2020 at 05:07

    Sorry, corrected details below

  • Reply Corinne Rodrigues June 3, 2020 at 02:04

    What a great idea. I’ve not been recording anything, except what I write in my Morning Pages.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 3, 2020 at 08:20

      Hi Corinne, I haven’t been really recording anything either but I love the creative ideas that are being suggested to remember this unusual time in our lives. Have a lovely week and thanks for stopping by.x

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