Postcards Of Kindness is a program that is simple yet very powerful. It’s an initiative in which people write postcards to people in nursing homes. They have their own Facebook group, which you can join in order to see great examples of people receiving their cards. The group has over 40,000 members and is a really wonderful example of people being amazing. You can also follow the postcards on Twitter using #PostcardsOfKindness. It is primarily promoted by a charity called Age UK. It is a UK project, but hopefully most nursing homes around the world would happily receive postcards from concerned and empathetic people.
I’m proud to say that it was a program I ran a few times with our book club at Glenthorne High School. I’ve written before on how we use postcards to promote our favourite books to other schools around the world. Writing postcards is something teens today simply don’t do. It’s such an outdated practice that I typically have to explain how postcards work and how important they are. It’s not their fault! If someone sat me down with a HAM Radio and said “here, figure it out,” I’d have no clue.
I asked the teens to write postcards to people in a nearby nursing home and describe what they were reading. We used postcards that were made by Penguin and featured vintage book covers on them. The teens enjoyed describing the plots of their favourite books, even to strangers. I hope that the people in the nursing homes enjoyed receiving these items from students in their area.
Staying connected with others is listed by the UK’s National Health Service as the number one way to improve your mental health and wellbeing, especially if you are concerned about the coronavirus. Talking about your worries is listed as number two. No, reading a postcard isn’t the same as having someone face to face, but it can bring some comfort knowing that other people are out there thinking about you, sharing the same fears or simply writing about their hobbies, where they live, what they are reading or what their favourite hobbies are.
Sticking to the facts? That’s another one that is crucial. You could easily send postcards with subtle facts or advice on them to people who, like me, read too much into the news and hang on every word of broadcasters. It’s a scary world out there, we need to take care of ourselves. You can read more about ways you can reduce stress and anxiety and stay focused during this trying time.
Routine is also important. Having something to look forward to is crucial in a time where you are possibly facing the same four walls day in, day out. Again, this is normal life for many people, especially those in nursing homes. Receiving these postcards is something people will definitely look forward to. Vice versa, writing the postcards is also something that can be built into a weekly routine. Writing has been proven to be a huge anxiety and stress reducer, as is reading. That’s why Postcards of Kindness is such a win-win idea.
Isolation has become a word associated with people who aren’t used to being isolated. However, loneliness and isolation is something that can affect people every single day of the week, pandemic or no pandemic. Like millions of other people, I have a family member in a nursing home who is not allowed any outside visitors. Postcards of Kindness is a perfect way to bring a tiny shred of light in all of this darkness, especially to those with hearing difficulties who find telephone calls a challenge.