Thursday, 22 October 2020

Is Letter Writing Dead?

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels
We now truly live in an electronic age. At our disposal, we have smartphones, tablets, computers, and telephones to communicate with people all over the world. In an instant, we can make a call, send a message, email, share a file or photo to the most distant part of the earth. 

It is little wonder that people rarely send a letter to family or friends, other than perhaps greetings cards for special occasions. With the time it takes to create and post a letter plus the postage cost, it is easy to opt for an electronic option.

Letters Mean More

When we do receive a letter, it is probably more special and meaningful than the same words contained in an email. We can appreciate the extra effort in writing and posting it. Another advantage is that we are more likely to keep a letter and look at it in the future rather than an electronic message.

There is also the advantage of a letter in that it can be written on special paper to give even more prestige to it. If written by hand, a fountain pen too can give that extra appeal to the reader, as well as the writer. Some send letters in decorated envelopes and a wax seal to make it more special. There certainly is a variety of options with a letter which are not available through electronic communications.

Fewer Misunderstandings

How often have you sent a text message or email and then found it has been misunderstood? Because it is a quick method to communicate, we often fail to spot errors or the dreaded auto spell has changed a word to give an entirely different meaning to our thoughts. There is also the possibility that if we're upset, we don't take time to think rationally before firing off an email, which once sent is too late to retract. A letter slows us down, we can pick it up, read it, think about it and if necessary bin it. 

Of course, you could apply the principle of waiting for a while before sending an electronic message, but in reality, how likely is that? In my experience not likely at all. 

Never Go Back

Whilst we are never likely to go back to writing letters the way we used to, they can play an important part in our lives and those to whom we send them. There are times when we may write to encourage, to console or to thank, and a letter can have a far more powerful effect. So before you decide that letter writing is truly dead, please think about times you can write a letter and when that arises to get out your pen, paper and envelopes and take a few minutes to write. 

Do you still write letters? When was the last time you wrote to someone? Please feel to express your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box below.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

British Summer Time Ends - Will Mental Health Issues Increase in these Covid19 times?

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels
We are rapidly approaching that time of the year when the clocks go back. Yes, British Summer Time (BST) is about to end and our clocks realign with the sun, noon will be at 1200. Here in the UK, it means that although we gain an hour of light in the morning we lose that all-important after-work light, at least until we get into December, when it gets dark very early.

The long summer evenings will once again become a distant memory and the dream of spring and summer next year starts to enter our minds. The lack of daylight is especially problematic for those who work inside and maybe see little daylight during these darker days. We often hear of those who suffer from SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder which can be quite mentally debilitating and for some have an effect on their day to day lives. 

When the clocks change at 2 am on Sunday, October 25th and we wake up, yes it will be lighter but as evening approaches we soon realise what has happened with the loss of that hour of daylight. As I write this we are in the COVID19 pandemic, and many are suffering anxiety and mental health issues due to this. Not being able to mix freely and go about our daily lives the way we used to is having a negative impact. I wonder how much worse this will become during the darker months in the northern hemisphere? 

Surely we will all need to keep in mind those with whom we can't physically meet and increase our contact in other ways, such as video calling. This certainly has many benefits over a standard phone call. To be able to see someone seems much better than just hearing alone.

How are you getting on in these COVID19 days? What are you doing to minimise the effects of loneliness and lack of contact in your family and peer groups? Please add a comment in the box below, it would be good to hear from you.