Did you know that April is National Card and Letter Writing Month? This annual celebration of handwritten correspondence aims to raise awareness of the importance and historical significance of card and letter writing.
From email and WhatsApp to Messenger and Snapchat, keeping in touch with friends and family across the globe has never been easier. With so many forms of instant communication at our fingertips, when was the last time you actually put pen to paper? It may be easier and quicker to tap out a brief message on your phone’s keypad but there is still something very special about receiving a handwritten letter. Traditional snail mail also has some unexpected but powerful benefits, both for the sender and the recipient.
LETTER WRITING IS GOOD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Like journaling, letter writing can be a constructive tool that helps us to process difficult situations. You are probably familiar with the saying “A problem shared, is a problem halved”. Sharing your thoughts with friends or relatives through letter writing can alleviate some of the pain and stress if you are going through a rough time. Research carried out by Royal Mail last summer as part of its Send a Letter campaign showed that nearly three quarters of Britons felt that the writing of cards and letters had positive mental health benefits.
LETTER WRITING MAKES US FEEL VALUED
Research also shows that receiving reassuring letters makes us feel validated and more optimistic about coping with the challenges facing us. The Covid-19 pandemic saw the introduction of Pen Pal schemes aimed at connecting school children with elderly people in nursing homes. At a time when social interactions were restricted, these letters forged intergenerational connections and helped to alleviate feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
LETTER WRITING HELPS US TO SLOW DOWN
In a world where it often feels like we are going at 100 miles an hour, the very act of putting pen to paper forces us to slow down. Thinking of how we formulate our thoughts, using full words and sentences rather than text abbreviations and stepping away from multitasking, can be a welcome respite from the rapid pace of digital communication, where we often tap out a quick message while working, cooking or travelling.
LETTER WRITING REDUCES SCREEN TIME
It also provides us with a much-needed break from the screens that many of us have become far too reliant on over the past year of working from home and being unable to see friends and relatives face-to-face. While Zoom has been a lifeline for many people, letter writing is a more intentional and intimate form of communication.
A report published in April about the impact of Covid-19 on the US Postal Service, showed that nearly a fifth of people were sending more letters and postcards than usual. The aforementioned research by UK postal operator, Royal Mail, revealed a similar increase in the number of adults writing letters during lockdown.
Interestingly, it is not just the older generation who are embracing letter writing. Younger people were just as likely to report sending cards and letters as an alternative to screen based communication.
OUR TOP LETTER WRITING ETIQUETTE TIPS:
- Make sure you use the correct greeting, title and sign-off.
- If your address is not already printed on the stationery write it in the top right hand corner.
- The date also goes on the right hand side of the letter, directly underneath the address.
- Don’t rush your letter writing. Wait until you have some quiet time and a solid surface to write on such as a desk.
- Do take care over your presentation. Form your letters carefully to make sure they are legible and use a dictionary if necessary to avoid spelling mistakes.
- Check all details to ensure you address the envelope correctly.
REASONS TO WRITE A LETTER:
- To thank a former teacher for their enduring influence on your life.
- To show a child how much fun it is to receive a letter. Encourage them to write back so they can experience the joy of sending one too.
- To practice your handwriting skills and penmanship – something that is all too often neglected these days.
- To congratulate someone on an achievement – however big or small.
- To invite a friend or relative over for tea, lunch or dinner.
- To share your favourite recipe or a list of books you have read.
- To let your partner know how much they mean to you.
- To reignite a friendship with someone you have lost touch with.
- Simply to let someone know that you are thinking of them.