Did you know that 1st September each year marks World Letter Writing Day? It was founded back in 2014 by author Richard Simpkin, who used letters as a way to get in touch with those he admired.
Writing letters is said to help reduce stress as it helps the writer to organise their thoughts and puts their brain in a meditative state. It’s also a nostalgic way to keep in touch with others.
Since letter writing is all about writing feelings and messages down in your own handwriting, it brings a personal touch to the act. It’s quite common for those who seek help with their mental health, to be advised trying writing yourself a letter, or to write your own affirmation. By writing it to yourself, in your own handwriting, it’s as if you’re talking to yourself. You might get complements and encouragement from others, but sometimes it feels like they ‘have’ to say those things. If you’re saying it to yourself it can feel more ‘true’.
Hand written letters are so much more personal and intimate. Your words carry the emotional feeling with the letter. An email may get deleted but a letter can become part of a memory. It is tradition in my family to write thank you cards after receiving gifts, and to write postcards to each other about where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to. It’s all part of the experience, for the writer and the recipient. I like to get ‘snail mail’ that isn’t just bills or junk, even more so when it’s a surprise from a loved one. Taking the time to send a thoughtful note shows you cherish the relationship with that person and remind them they’re on our mind.
If you follow me over on Instagram (www.instagram.com/my.little.mountopia), you will know that I am proud to be an ambassador for the Letters of Light Project. This is a global project sending handwritten letters of support to others. They started off initially as being from mums with lived experience of maternal mental health to mums currently suffering with theirs. This helps to provide an authentic and non-intrusive peer support service that has captured the support of mums and leading healthcare organisations. They now have letters focusing on helping those in other situations such as bereavement, eat disorders, NICU, IVF and Dad’s mental health. Check out their webpage for further information to register to write or receive a letter – https://lettersoflightproject.com/
By taking part and writing a letter, you are able to see how far you’ve come, and offer support to another who finds themselves in a similar position. This could come at a time when someone needs it the most.
I’ve also taken part in the #KindnessByPost campaign, created by the Mental Health Collective.
Feelings of isolation are a common occurrence, even more so during the Covid pandemic. This project is all about building a movement for connection and hope. It is the UK’s leading random acts of kindness exchange. Members of the public sign up to send a card or letter with a message of goodwill to someone they don’t know, and are allocated a person to send a card or letter to them.
People post on social media about the cards and letters they send and receive using #KindnessByPost, so that these messages of hope are shared beyond those participating directly.
When people feel like they are falling apart they often think they are alone. #KindnessByPost offers a new way of coming together to improve our health and wellbeing. As messages of kindness criss-cross the country, we remind ourselves that we are not on our own in the world. Kindness is out there, hope is out there, and we can be that hope for each other.
Registrations for the Autumn #KindnessByPost exchange will open on 27th September. Be sure to sign up to their newsletter to be updated nearer the time – https://www.kindnessbypost.org/