When I was little, I was super into writing and mailing letters for my loved ones. I would assemble collages, silly notes, scribbles, short poems… anything my eight-year-old heart desired until the envelope was bursting at its seams and could hardly stay closed. I’d buy stamps with my allowance, ask my mom to write our return address, and wait by the mailbox for my letter to be collected by the nice mailman. Knowing that my friends and family would have a surprise waiting for them to open like a present brought me so much joy. Unfortunately as I grew up, I slowly faded out of this hobby. However, once quarantine started I decided it was the perfect time to bring it back. I can honestly say it’s been life changing to revisit letter-writing as an adult during a pandemic, so here are my top ten reasons why everyone needs to pick up their pens (or crayons) and start creating mail for their friends and family.
Sending a letter supports the USPS!
In June of 2020, it was revealed that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been losing around $2 billion (yes, billion!) per month during the COVID-19 pandemic (source). The USPS is an incredibly important organization that does not run on tax dollars, but on the revenue created from selling postal supplies. So, writing letters and buying postal supplies is the perfect excuse to support the USPS from home.
The giddy feeling of opening a letter is unmatched.
When sifting through bills, dentist appointment reminders, unwanted grocery store advertisements, and junk mail, seeing a letter addressed to you from a loved one feels like hitting gold.
Physical artifacts are important.
I am a painfully nostalgic person, maybe even to an unhealthy degree. Each corner of my room has a shoebox stuffed with every birthday card, post-it note, and valentine that I have received in the past five years. Needless to say, I love receiving letters because they are physical reminders that my friends are amazing, loving, creative people, and I love adding them to my shoebox memories.
Letters make adorable room decor!
If you’re anything like me, you probably have posters and prints everywhere on your bedroom walls. Once I started receiving letters, doodles, stickers, and old photos from my friends in the mail, I realized just how perfect they were to hang up in my room! Now, they’re some of my favorite, most personal pieces of decor.
Especially during COVID, it’s a fun way to feel connected to your loved ones.
Over the past year, we’ve had to get creative with the ways we communicate and share experiences with each other: socially distanced picnics, netflix streaming parties, zoom birthdays, texting for hours on end… it’s endless, and often can be exhausting. Physical letters are a taste-breaking option to connect with people you love, even when you can’t be with them in person. They grant you a fresh way to have a new way of COVID-safe communication!
The same thing written in a text will always be more meaningful if it’s on paper.
Just the act of physically writing “Hello!” gives it more meaning and purpose than if that same message was sent in a text. There’s something about the delayed gratification of mail delivery and the time spent crafting a physical letter that gives it more humanity and care, which I think is beyond special.
Reflecting on your gratitude for your friends (such as through the art of writing letters) is good for your psychological health.
Let the data speak for itself: showing gratitude is good for you and the people around you. “Underestimating the value of prosocial actions… may keep people from engaging in behavior that would maximize their own—and others’—well-being,” researchers propose. So if you start writing letters, you and your loved ones will most likely feel the positive psychological effects that come with expressions of gratitude. Yay, science!
It is an inexpensive way to make your friends feel loved and appreciated.
Stamps, a piece of paper, an envelope, and a pen: these are the bare minimum tools you will need to start your letter-writing journey. Thus, mail is a perfect and reasonably priced way to send your loved ones a small gift or note of affection.
It is a therapeutic, productive, & creative hobby to maintain.
Writing letters was my introduction step to getting back into art after I had been in a creative rut for months on end. Opposed to sitting in bed and watching TikToks all day (aka, my usual regime), becoming penpals with my best friends helped me feel like I was actually doing something worthwhile and expressive with my free time. It was cathartic and made me feel like what I was doing actually had a purpose.
In a way, it is an act of selflessness and service.
By putting all of your love into something with the sole intention of giving it away, you are practicing unconditional love without expecting anything in return. This is an incredible feeling and a wonderful life lesson to maintain.