Australia Post is working with National Archives Australia, and need your help to mark this moment in history.
Believe it or not there will come a time when the events of the last few months will seem like a far and distant memory, and your feelings that right now feel so stark and consuming will also fade. For those that have been struggling with finances, or declining mental and physical health, this might be a welcomed thought. Others who have found solace in the community spirit, the quality family time or the rejuvenation of our biosphere will perhaps hope to cling to the lessons COVID-19 has taught us. No matter your stance, there is no denying that this has been an important moment in our nation’s history, one worthy of commemoration.
So, Australia Post has created a national letterbox where, from now until 18 August, you can write a Dear Australia letter to share your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re working with the National Archives of Australia, where eligible letters will be kept for future generations.
Journaling your experiences within these letters can benefit both you and the future generations of Australians who will have access to them.
For you, documenting the highs and lows, the moments of joy and the lessons you’ve learnt will act as an incredible stress management tool that will help to lessen the impact of the physical damage an overabundance of stress can have on your physical, mental and emotional health. And not only will it keep your memory sharp, but regular journaling can actually boost your comprehension and working memory capacity, as well as your overall emotional well-being and happiness.
What’s more, with the National Archives of Australia on board, you letters can help future Australians connect with the stories and people that defined this period in our history, and how it shaped our future.
But what exactly should you include in your letter? Here are 5 prompts to get you going:
How have the events of the last few months changed your life?
Did you have to start working from home? Did you have to stop work altogether? Did you children begin home schooling? Did the travel restrictions affect you in anyway? Are there any habits, skills or hobbies you’ve started since the lockdown period, and have you carried them on since restrictions have begun lifting?
Tell a story of community spirit or resilience?
Was there a single moment, or situation you can share about how your family or community came together? Try writing it out like a short story. Without embellishment or making it up, tell it with a beginning middle and end, describing the characters, setting, and dialogue.
Make it a visual story.
If words aren’t your thing, why not include some photos instead? What moments have you captured over the last few months that encapsulate your experiences? Or why not let your kids tell the story with some hand-drawn artworks.
Create a snapshot of your surroundings.
Like a time capsule, this is a great chance to illustrate just what life is like right now. What music are you listening to (and why are you loving it?), what is the news reporting on (and how does it make you feel?), what digital media platforms are you using most (and how they are they helping you in everyday life?).
Write a message of hope for the future.
Perhaps instead you’d like to share what you think or hope the future will look like once COVID-19 has fallen in next to Polio, Tetanus, and Scarlet Fever on the pages of history. How will Australia have changed in the wake of this incredible, if not harrowing year?
Whatever you write, if you choose to share it with the Australia Post Dear Australia initiative, you can mail it in at any red street posting box or local Post Office by placing it in a stamped envelope addressed to:
As a child, Jacynta wanted to be a mermaid when she grew up - or a writer. As she got older and discovered seashell bras to be impractical professional daywear, she began focussing on writing. With degrees in both psychology and professional writing, she uses her powers for good to help give unique and resounding voices to her stories.