Bring Back the Pen Pal Habit

We all need a certain amount of socialisation to maintain happy and healthy lives, and this has never been more clear than during this coronavirus pandemic. Socialising doesn’t have to be physical and in-person, but can be through the old-fashioned form of communication – pen pals!
Here are some of the great benefits to having a pen pal, and how you can help bring back the pen pal habit.

Health Matters

There are several health benefits that come with having a pen pal. One of these is the motivation to socialise. Obtaining little to no social interaction can lead to a number of health problems, such as depression and weight gain due to lack of physical activity. Having a new friend to talk to is a great motivation for taking care of your health!

By writing – or typing – your letters, you will be using your mind, exercising your concentration skills, strengthening your hand-eye coordination, and even being physically active by getting out and posting your special letters.

Matter of the Mind

Do you find yourself forgetting things or struggling to communicate after so long alone at home? Putting pen to paper and detailing your daily/weekly/monthly activities can help. So why not sharpen your pencil, sharpen your mind, and sharpen your communication skills?

Great Learning Opportunities

Having a pen pal opens up your world. Your writing buddy could have been born in another country, have a different culture, or even be much younger. Primary school and high school students are also jumping on the bandwagon, eager to share their enthusiasm and learn from their elders.

How you Can Bring Back the Pen Pal Habit

If you are interested in finding a pen pal, the first places you should look at are local groups in your community. Senior Pen Pal Club, an initiative by Australia Post, can help with this, connecting seniors from various organisations and allowing you to reach outside of your area. If none grab your attention, you can take your search online. Facebook is a great place to start, or a Google search can supply you with lists of options, both local, national, and international.

If you still haven’t quite found what you are looking for, perhaps starting your own pen pal community is the way to go.

Be Safe

Of course, whenever communicating with someone unknown, it is important to be safe. Typically avoid giving out your address – a PO Box works best! – never agree to meet someone alone, and do not send any money.

The invention of smartphones and the internet have brought people together. However, they have also led many to become more reclusive, not getting out there and making new friends as they once did. Only a handful of years ago getting a letter in the mail was a common occurrence, and we are excited that this means of communication and socialising is well and truly making a comeback!

Michelle Sommerville
Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide

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