Sarah Tellefsen

It seems there is an unofficial holiday for every month, week and day of the year!  So why not find one and use it to learn?  The second week of January is National Letter Writing Week.  Most of our soldiers and their families might be too young to remember the days before twitter, texting and e-mail; for those of us who have been around a bit longer it doesn’t feel all that long ago.  So, let’s talk about why letter writing could be important enough to write (type?) about.  

It’s said that writing, with pen and paper, is a long-lost art and it may feel “old fashioned” when we have so much technology at our fingertips.  I can tell you, however, that there are benefits to consider.  It wasn’t all that long ago, in the early 2000’s that we still had to communicate with our deployed service members via letters.  Especially if your loved one was in more remote areas overseas without access to phones or computers.  I can tell you that my husband and I cherished those letters and still have them in a box somewhere, they just meant so much more than the e-mails received in future separations.  I even used to spray a little perfume or add a lipstick kiss on my letters hoping the scent would make its way all those thousands of miles to my husband.  

Now that you’ve gotten a trip down memory lane, here are a few reasons to write a letter this week (or all year through):

1) It is more MEANINGFUL – knowing that someone took the time and effort to physically handwrite a letter just for you.  

2) Letter writing can increase your overall well-being – writing a letter with your heartfelt gratitude and emotions not only makes the receiver feel good, but also makes YOU feel good too!

3) A way to stay CONNECTED – along the lines of being meaningful, writing a letter can be a great way to reconnect or strengthen a relationship and create a sense of closeness with a loved one.  Think of separations and deployments, ask someone you know who has had this experience, there is simply nothing better than receiving a handwritten letter or card (except maybe a care package with treats!)

4) It can help you express EMOTIONS – if you’ve ever been to a therapist, chances are you’ve been assigned homework of journaling or writing.  There’s a reason!  Handwriting can help us sort through feelings and emotions that we may be having difficulty expressing.  You don’t even have to send the letter or share the journal, just the act of writing it all out can help bring calmness, clarity and even peace surrounding whatever it is you are writing about.

What are you waiting for?  Grab your pen and paper and get writing!

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