In a time where it feels like negativity is the norm, telling someone how much they mean to you is a simple, yet powerful way to put more love into the world.
Most everyone wants to physically be there for a family member or friend in need.
However, as coronavirus cases surge, gathering with family and friends this holiday season will continue to be a challenge.
“We all have to come to grips with the fact that this Easter holiday season won’t be what it usually is,” says Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Psychologist and Social-connectedness expert.
That said, with fewer holiday gatherings to attend and more time to spare, think of it as an opportunity to get creative.
Luckily, there is one pretty simple yet powerful way to show your love and support for those you care about that doesn’t take too much time or money.
The classic card.
“The very act of putting pen to paper is very personal. You have to put in the work to make it meaningful,” says Dr. Holt-Lunstad. “ Receiving a greeting card can really lift someone’s spirits. It feels good to be able to do something good for other people, especially at this moment.”
Thanks to technology, it’s easier, now more than ever, to stay in touch with loved ones and cherished friends no matter where you are in the world.
However, scientific research has shown, texts, social media messages or emails will just not do when it comes to making someone feel special.
For some people, like Sarah Whitfield, a little thought goes a long way.
“It takes extra effort to pick out a birthday card for someone and that extra effort is always appreciated,” says Whitfield. “It seems more thoughtful although I do still enjoy the birthday texts”.
It seems daunting.
Picking out the exact message you want to convey.
Everyone has been there, searching through the drugstore aisles in pursuit of the perfect card for their parents, partner, or B.F.F.
While this last-minute dash may feel stressful, the act itself has benefits that extend above and beyond the couple of minutes and dollars spent at the store.
Noelle Strevig loves the thought that goes into choosing the perfect card.
“A birthday text may take all of 30 seconds while sending a birthday card takes much more time than that.”
She continues, “An individual will stand in a grocery store aisle to pick out the perfect card, will then hand write a message, place it in the envelope, address it, then place it in the mail. It means that someone took extra time out of their day to send them something special. I will spend as much time as needed picking out the perfect card for the person I am giving it to based on the occasion.”
Cards do more than communicate—they help express emotion that keep people connected.
A Harvard Research study of Adult Development shows connectedness keeps your most important relationships strong and healthy, and in turn, you feel happier too.
Spreading cheer is something Strevig says she can get behind, especially during the holidays.
“I found that receiving Christmas cards gave me an extra burst of happiness. And as of a few years ago I wanted to share that happiness with others so I have recently started to mail them out to family and friends.
Today people are more connected than ever, but, confusingly, many have never felt more alone.
In fact, a study published by global health service company Cigna, discovered that a staggering 46 percent of adults in the United States admit to feeling lonely.
Some said it was only from time to time, but others say they feel that way all of the time.
Even more alarming, according to the same report, only half of Americans say they have meaningful face-to-face interactions on a daily basis.
That includes conversations with a friend or spending time with loved ones.
According to Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a greeting card, if it hits the right tone, can help someone struggling with loneliness, depression, stress, or deep feeling of loss.
“Our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health. Good relationships keep us happier and healthier,” says Holt-Lunstad.
“It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community are happier, they’re physically healthier and they live longer than people who are less well connected.”
That sentiment is exactly why Sarah Whitfield says she keeps hold of cards she receives.
“I always keep the cards that have personal messages written inside them because they remind me of how loved I am. When I’m feeling down, sometimes I’ll find the box with the cards and read through a few of them.”
Cards are timeless.
You can go back to them again and again to read that special message from a loved one exactly when you need to hear it most.
Much like wearing your mom’s favorite necklace, or dad’s old ball cap, or your partner's favorite t-shirt knowing a card was hand-chosen by the person it came from gives it a personal touch and more powerful emotional impact.
And according to Whitfield that’s what makes them so meaningful.
“My grandmother always gave each grandchild a Christmas card every year,” says Whitfield. “It never mattered how many grandchildren were added to the bunch over the years, all of us still received one with a special message written inside. With my grandmother now gone, I will always cherish those precious memories”.
Need some inspiration?
Hallmark is here to help.
The oldest, largest, and most recognizable manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States, Hallmark recently announced it is donating one million cards to encourage people to send to friends, family and others who now, more than ever, need to feel loved and supported.
Whether it’s sent to a loved one, neighbor, senior center or a healthcare worker, a card is a small act of kindness that can make a big impact on someone’s day.
Anyone in the continental U.S. can go to Hallmark.com/CareEnough and sign-up to receive a free three-card pack, while supplies last.
“Hallmark has been in the business of caring for more than 100 years, so lending a hand to help others connect is part of our DNA,” said Lindsey Roy, CMO of Hallmark. “During a time of unprecedented social distancing, we hope these cards will be shared across neighborhoods, towns and the country to help lift spirits.”
So the next time you are debating shooting off a quick e-mail or sending an actual greeting card, you may want to ask yourself which one conveys the kind of message you wish to send.