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Passing the Time Through COVID-19 by Creating Lasting Memories

Inspiration Lab member Alisha Murray-Richardson has been a bright light for fellow members during the coronavirus pandemic. Whether it’s during our members-only Inspiration Cafe meetings or at our recent Banner Year Blueprint workshop, Alisha has added a bit of joy to our days by sharing how she and daughter Natalie have been keeping the fun alive amid quarantine. Below, Alisha, the president of RE/MAX Essential, details how you, too, can delight in family bonding under far-from-normal circumstances.

With so much fear and panic in today’s world, I have personally made the decision to take the approach of gratitude. It’s not always easy to find gratitude with each day, but it’s there. We have to choose to open our hearts and minds to finding it. My gratitude is heavy with regard to time with my family —time we most likely would not have had together prior to COVID-19. Our days would have been filled with dance, gymnastics, homework, business meetings, and so many other personal and professional commitments. While we’re missing time with our co-workers and close friends, we also understand this too shall pass. Those busy days will be here again soon, so why not use the time we have now differently? With these recommendations, I guarantee you’ll end up with lifelong memories.

Begin the journey of geocaching. There are millions of geocaches hidden around the world. Why not find the ones close to your home or neighborhood park? This is a free activity where the app guides you to hidden treasures while using a compass, clever hints, and even messages from fellow geocachers who have previously found where “X” marked the spot. Snap a picture and let others know you found the hidden capsule. Geocaching is entertaining for all ages, gets you outdoors, and gives you a fun challenge.

Create your own sensory chalk walk. There are tons of sensory walk examples on YouTube. Watch a few videos to inspire your own version. Chalk and energy are all you need. We live in a neighborhood where the sidewalks are high in foot and bike traffic, so we decided to create a walk in our own driveway and open it up to our neighborhood. My daughter demonstrated what to do in a video, we posted the clip to our community Facebook page, and then we patiently waited for folks to come enjoy our masterpiece.

Watch the sunset. While the beaches are closed, there are still many places in Wilmington (and hopefully wherever you live!) to enjoy the serenity of the sunset. I highly suggest finding a spot that isn’t crowded (with all due to respect to social distancing), bring a chair or blanket, and give yourself 30-45 minutes to watch the sun go down with brilliant colors. Breathe in the fresh air, free your mind, and allow yourself to be in a calm state. This beautiful moment is rewarding and almost seems to slow time down.

Pull out the microphone or grab a brush and make your own lip-syncing video. Pick a fun song, put together a silly costume with items you already own, and hit record on your cell phone! You will laugh for hours — and be sure to share the “outtakes” with your friends and family so they can laugh too. You could even ask friends to join in on the fun by creating their own videos. Let loose and step outside your comfort zone — your children will thank you and your spirit will be refilled with joy.

I LOVE CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS! April is packed with birthdays in my world (there are six on my calendar, to be exact). Birthdays are so special and have even more reason to be celebrated right now. Consider making a birthday video. Ask those near and dear to the birthday gal or guy to record and text you a short video wishing them all the love on their special day. Take the clips and piece them together (I use Perfect Video), creating a virtual birthday card filled with the ones they love the most. Get creative by adding some still shots and birthday graphics. If your circle of girlfriends is anything like mine, I suggest incorporating the Golden Girls — you can thank them for being a friend!

A birthday parade takes a little time to plan and organize, but what an adrenaline rush! Create a private Facebook group to organize the parade, choose a specific time for the event (make sure the person you’re celebrating will be home), invite as many people as you can, and pull out the craft supplies. I suggest designating a spot close to the parade route to meet up 15 minutes prior to “kick off” so you can all get in line and travel over together. Call the birthday person and ask them to come outside. Then the cars can drive by with horns blowing and friends can walk by waving with posters. Other suggestions to take this activity to the next level: Drop off toilet paper if you have some to spare, skip the card store and make a homemade birthday card, use birthday decorations you may already have to make your car stand out in the parade, or even blast a fun song out the window as you drive by. The birthday parade is an interactive but safe way to spread love and birthday cheer.

Create a pick-me-up jar for anyone in need of a boost. Finding happiness and being surrounded by positivity isn’t always easy right now. Even those you may perceive as strong people are having bad days and could use a reset. Take 15 minutes to create a pick-me-up jar and drop it on the porch of someone who could use some words of encouragement or uplifting messages. Your jar can be whatever you have on hand: a mason jar, a cleaned-out can of green beans, an empty coffee container, or even an empty creamer bottle. Your home is filled with items that can be re-purposed and even decorated for the cause. Take a sheet of paper and cut strips big enough for your messages. Write a message from your heart on each strip of paper. For example, reference a special memory or share a funny song lyric. And be sure to include an instructional note like this: “This Pick-Me-Up Jar was especially made for you. I hope my messages warm your heart and brighten your day. You get to choose when you need a pick-me-up. The power of positivity is now in your hands.”

And now the power of family entertainment is in your hands. I hope you and your family enjoy just a few of the ways we have decided to take breaks from Zoom calls, the news, and the general stress of COVID-19 to create lasting memories.


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