Connecting and supporting loved ones used to involve meaningful conversations at coffee shops, venting on hikes or warm embraces with words of encouragement. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced these connections on hold.
Brought upon by COVID-19 and the implementation of quarantine, social distancing and work-from-home guidelines, many individuals have experienced a severe sense of social isolation. While digital communication aided in keeping communities socially connected, the pandemic has reinforced digital inequalities. Less tech-savvy people and those without access to technical support or stable Internet have particularly struggled to stay in contact with friends and family, reinforcing this sense of loneliness.
To connect with loved ones struggling throughout these times, the old-fashioned gesture of handwritten letters has become more appreciated. As birthday cards were replaced by Facebook messages, and letters replaced by emails and social media posts, handwritten cards capture an intimacy often lost online. Besides offering an alternative to months of remote work and virtual communication, research suggests that being contacted by letter can have a positive impact on recipients’ mental health.
Don’t know how to start writing your handwritten letter to a loved one? Keep these tips in mind:
- Select important or memorable pieces of stationary. Write with a pen that they gifted you or one that aligns with their environmental beliefs (such as this one 😉 @paperpensco). Use cute stickers of their favourite animals or TV shows and find a card in their favourite colour. Personally customising each letter to each recipient makes the gift even more meaningful.
- Focus on being as sincere and personal as possible. Don’t get distracted with finding the perfect things to say as this sacrifices being absolutely genuine.
- Envision the recipient before you begin writing. What do you like about them? Have you learnt anything meaningful from them? Why are you grateful to have them in your life? Not only do you receive a psychological boost when expressing gratitude, the recipient experiences a raise in self-esteem knowing that someone has benefited from having them in their life.
- Mention the fond memories but focus on the future. You can connect with the recipient by reflecting on fond memories you share. However, it is important to share your plans for things you wish to experience with the other person once the epidemic has ended in order to remain hopeful for the future.
So, this Valentine’s Day, write a letter to a loved one. Take the time to choose a pen, to craft a letter, to buy a stamp, and travel to the post office: these actions do not go unnoticed. A card or letter, before the content is even read, has already said, “I care about you.”
Written by Marybeth Dela Cruz
Marybeth Dela Cruz is the Co-Founder and Brand Strategist of Paper Pens Co.. Anything that requires creativity and design goes through Marybeth, who has extensive experience with video, photography, social media and design.