Over the past few days I’ve seen different, and sometimes very strong, opinions about what to do, or not do, about post. Should you post letters during the Coronavirus pandemic? I think there are reasons to keep posting as well as responsible precautions we can take. These are just my thoughts from a little research and my experience as a card seller for the last 8 years.
Should you post letters during the Coronavirus pandemic?
My short answer is ‘yes’ but with precautions!
During these very strange times of isolation and social distancing a huge portion of our society have been told to stay home. Our over 70s have been advised not to leave the house if at all possible and those with underlying physical health problems have gone in to complete self-isolation for at least 12 weeks.
For some people it’s really tough looking after their mental health at any time. Add to that the pressure of social isolation and it’s even harder. Many of our over 70s live alone. They might be used to regular visits from friends, family, grandchildren and now that has had to stop. A card or letter through the post can really help.
Research carried out in 2013 showed that only 1 in 4 people received a ‘get well’ card during their mental health illness, yet over 80% said it would have had a positive impact.
We need to protect the mental health of our friends, family and neighbours who are in isolation. They may not have a long standing mental health issue but prolonged anxiety and isolation can take its strain. Receiving a card gives a lasting positive impact. The card looks pretty and physically brightens up the room for as long as it’s displayed. The words can be read and re-read. The boost to mental health is a repetitive experience.
Cards shouldn’t replace phonecalls, texts and online video chats but they can significantly boost the positive impact of communication.
What about protecting posties? Isn’t a phonecall enough?
Here I need to repeat the last sentence of the previous paragraph ‘Cards shouldn’t replace phonecalls, texts and online video chats but they can significantly boost the positive impact of communication.’
If you follow the Royal Mail on any of their social media accounts you will have seen that they know only too well the importance of keeping people in touch. In their recent Facebook posts they share updates on new safety measures and repeatedly state things like, “We understand the important role we have to play in helping people to stay connected.”
They have never asked you to stop posting cards and letters.
How can I be sure I’m not spreading the virus?
There are simple steps you can take to make sure you aren’t adding to the crisis. Firstly, if you’re not meant to be leaving the house then don’t! Clearly you won’t be posting letters. But perhaps you have someone dropping off shopping at a safe distance who could collect letters from you to be posted?
If you are licking envelopes and stamps you could consider using a damp sponge instead. No one is really sure how long the virus can survive on paper/stamps etc so until we know more, this could be a sensible precaution. Or have fun with a wax sealing kit.
When posting your mail, observe social distancing. If possible have your mail already stamped so you don’t need to go in to the Post Office. You can buy stamps direct from the Post Office and from online stamp sellers. I personally recommend Philatelink for discounted picture stamps and I sell stamps here. Or stock up next time you go out for the essentials. A plain card and standard letter should take a standard stamp. If in doubt you can check the weight/thickness/postage requirements with the Royal Mail price finder.
Avoid sending parcels if you can so you don’t have to go in to a Post Office branch. If you do need to send a parcel then observe social distancing.
Wash your hands!
- Before preparing the mail to post – wash your hands.
- After posting your mail – wash your hands.
- After opening any mail received – wash your hands.
(Have you got that message?! Wash your hands!)
Is it worth it?
If I haven’t got that message across yet then a quick google will give you more evidence that sending cards will boost someone’s mental health.
Our NHS are working hard just now to look after the health of the nation. We can all do our bit to help that and make sure our loved ones stay in good mental health. As the Greeting Card Association says “Send a Card, Deliver a Smile”.
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