Writing Letters To Those Who Might Be Lonely
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We know how important it is to stay in touch with our pals, now more than ever. But what about those people who may not have family or friends to check in on them? Or who might just be feeling a little lonely right now? NCS Grad Holly shares her advice on how to write letters to those in need…
Whether it’s a quick message to your friend or a letter to a relative in a care home, I’m here to give you my top tips on writing to someone at this strange time.
Recently, I wrote to two of my local care homes to see how the residents were doing. They’re isolated most of the time (not just during quarantine) so being alone is, sadly, part of their daily lives, and I thought a nice letter could brighten their day.
HOLD ON! WHY ON EARTH AM I WRITING A LETTER?
I know, I know, times have changed and technology now exists. But why not go retro? Receiving the letter could make the recipient’s day, week or month, so consider it a small act of kindness or the gift of a smile.
Think about it this way: not only does writing a letter to someone give you something to do and someone else to think about, but they are bound to be overjoyed at the thought and effort put into it.
HOW DO I START?
First things first, think about how you’ll be sending your ‘letter’. Is it a letter on a piece of paper? A postcard? An email? Or maybe a text or DM?
Then, where you can, try to date your letter (usually in the top right corner) so they know when you sent it and how recent the information is.
If you know the person, start the letter with ‘Dear…’ or ‘To…’. If you don’t know quite who you are addressing, use ‘To whom it may concern’, or something similar.
In my case, when I wrote to the care homes, I used ‘Dear the Care Workers and Residents at…’
BUT… WHAT DO I ACTUALLY WRITE?
Depending on how well you know who you’re writing to, how long you’ve known them, or what you have in common, you may or may not be sure of what you’re going to talk about.
But a good starting point is to let them know who you are, and what you’ve been up to - at this time especially, it’s important to remember that small achievements are worth sharing. And you might even be able to inspire them to try something new!
What you’re looking forward to after lockdown is also another good thing to talk about, or you could make recommendations for books, music, films and any other pastimes.
Sharing kindness to promote positive mental well-being is useful. This could be with a nice quote, some advice, or general kind words. Because remember, we’re all in this together (thanks Troy Bolton!), so writing this letter is another way to unite your community.
In my letters, I highlighted the positive things I’ve found throughout the coronavirus pandemic: the celebration of Easter, the lovely warm weather, and how I have been keeping busy – I talked about colouring in rainbows for key workers, doing schoolwork and spending time with my family. It seems easier, now more than ever, to get excited about the smaller things, like eating a certain food or talking to a certain friend – so why not tell the recipient all about this!
HOW DO I FINISH THE LETTER?
If you’ve used someone’s name, you should sign off your letter using ‘Yours sincerely’, but if you didn’t use their name specifically, use ‘Yours faithfully’ at the end of the letter.
And don’t forget to proofread your letter: check for any spelling mistakes, and make sure the sentences make sense. Then it’s time to seal and post your envelope, or hit send.
All that's left to do now is wait for the smile to reach your recipient’s face. And you never know, you might even get a reply - that’s the beauty in writing letters to someone, no matter the medium! BUT you should always check with your parents or guardians before sending any personal information to anyone you don't know - just to be on the safe side.
I quickly received email replies from both care homes saying they were very appreciative for my letter, which they had shared with the care workers. It was delightful to hear that the residents had been keeping busy with Easter parties, where they were visited by the Easter Bunny.