I have a new hobby… or perhaps it’s more like an addiction at this point! Why I love doing puzzles these days is hugely due to our current world situation.
Why I got into puzzles
When this whole worldwide ordeal hit, I found myself endlessly scrolling for any news I could uncover so I could learn about what was going on.
But I could quickly see that was a bad habit to get into. I started to feel anxious, low, and depressed over all the things I lost. Not to mention, the unknowns were just so scary! And with that, my creativity tanked.
That’s when I realized, I needed a small diversion that would help quiet my mind while adding something that satisfied my desire to accomplish something. Doing puzzles sounded like a great idea.
When I visited my sister, she had a puzzle on her kitchen table always on the go. It was so fun to just pick up your coffee, and fit a few pieces while we chit chatted away.
Once I got home from that visit, I picked up a puzzle from a thrift store, but soon found it left me agitated, because I felt I wasn’t getting enough done. It made me feel like a puzzle was such a waste of time, unless you were already sitting for a reason! So I got rid of it.
I can now see, it just wasn’t the right season to sit and do a puzzle for me. When you want to be busy and productive, it’s far different than if you wish to find peace during a time when you can’t seem to run away from something stressful!
A diversion was just needed right now… fast.
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Landing the first puzzle
Right about then is when I spotted this free puzzle up for grabs on a local community Facebook group I’m a part of. BINGO!
I scanned the picture, finding it didn’t look all that difficult nor have that many pieces. Perfect!
So I arranged for pickup.
Before I started the puzzle, I wanted something to put it on so I could take it indoors and out. So I just grabbed an Office bulletin board from my stash and got to work.
I also cut down my endless news scrolling and started taping the news, then working on the puzzle during news hour. I was sitting anyway, right?!
So the dreaded news combined with a fun activity? That put a new twist on all this for sure!
But little did I realize all that would ultimately transpire by teaming up the two…
What doing puzzles did for me
Snuggling up against a cat or 2, I started to feel comfort as I quietly worked on the pretty puzzle picture for an hour or so a day. I even found myself working on it longer than the news hour on some occasions. It also became a neat way to start my day with my first coffee.
All I knew was, during this season of unrest and concern, this puzzle resembled a comfy blanket being wrapped around my shoulders. It became my familiar companion while I learned how to navigate our new world.
Plus, it gave my hands something to do (to replace scrolling on the iphone), was somewhat productive, provided a challenge, and became something fun to look forward to!
I also found my creativity was starting to return. Turning my mind off the worry for a spell was critical for this to happen. And it appears puzzles do that. Who knew?
Once the puzzle was done, I left it up for a few days, running my hand over it in deep appreciation for the peace it gave back to me for many, many hours.
I missed working on it though… so I knew the time was near to put it back into the box for someone else to enjoy… and to begin my search for a new one.
Puzzle #2 and where it led
Then right at that time, someone posted on Facebook once again, a whole bunch of puzzles they were wishing to share, with the promise that we continue to pass them on for others to enjoy?!
When I spotted this adorable train puzzle, I once again scanning the picture to ensure it wouldn’t frustrate me too much, and at 750 pieces, it would prove to be a tiny bit more of a challenge hopefully without complete overwhelm.
I wanted this to remain calm and enjoyable, not frustrating!
Find many other puzzle boards on Amazon HERE
How I made a puzzle board
But first… it was time to make an official puzzle board.
Yup, my new puzzle addiction even brought on a creative project!
While I shared my new puzzle habit on social media, someone contacted me, wanting to know more about the puzzle board I was working from.
Hmm… it really wasn’t that at all… yet. So I repainted the bulletin board, and created an interactive game board on the back, and made it into something very special!
I share more about all this in the puzzle board post, however grabbing kitchen pans and such helped sort out the pieces by tone which made putting them together a little more effortless.
NOW I was ready to puzzle like a pro!
At this point, the news and puzzling went hand-in-hand, and to add to the comfort, the world started to make a little more sense as time passed on.
A Puzzle Swap group was born
Right before the train puzzle was completed, I wanted to be ready for another, so I created a new post in the Facebook group that was titled ‘Puzzle Swap!’ I put the train puzzle up for grabs with the promise that it would be either re-shared in the group or passed on to another.
And at that time, this amazing sewing-themed beautiful puzzle came up!
Disclaimer: If you aren’t a quality puzzle snob yet, you may become one after reading this. You’ve been fairly warned.
Why you may want to try a ‘quality’ puzzle
I’ve never had the privilege of putting together a high quality Ravensburger Puzzle, but boy, after this experience, I’ll be on the lookout! Who knew?!
I have never worked on such a beautifully made puzzle before. THIS SEWING-THEMED puzzle was so vibrantly gorgeous, while the puzzle pieces were thick, and appeared to ‘snap’ together for a perfect fit!
What a supreme and unexpected perk! This was gonna be even more fun!
Find Ravensburger puzzles HERE
And it was. While this 1000 piece sewing-themed puzzle was more challenging than the others, I still rate it ok. I could still make out details of what colours went where so it didn’t drive me insane. LOL
Who’s with me on that? I will NEVER do a puzzle that has a lot of one colour. Know what I mean?!
And at 1000 pieces, the puzzle still fit my 24″ x 36″ puzzle board, with the help of sorting pieces on a smaller bulletin board.
Pretty cottage puzzles
So now that you know why I love doing puzzles nowadays, here’s a few very unexpected perks that came along the way…
Why I love doing puzzles
- The activity added a familiar calm during a time of uncertainty.
- It helped me focus on the current moment so I could take mini vacations from issues.
- They stimulated my colour awareness, making me focus laser sharp.
- It was a super peaceful way to start the day.
- They offered an element of productivity while I was resting.
- And they’re actually fun to do!
- They helped calm my mind allowing creativity to surface again.
Other possible health benefits of doing puzzles:
- They can improve short term memory.
- Puzzle making can stimulate both the left and right side of the brain.
- The motion can help relieve stress.
- It evolks family unity, much like an invitation to sit down and chat.
- I honestly have to believe, they helped make my brain sharper!
Good ideas to do with puzzles
- Create a puzzle board so you can carry it where desired.
- Snoop through thrift stores to build up a library of them to share.
- Start a Facebook community in your area for a puzzle swap! Name your return terms.
- Purchase at least 1 good quality one so you can see and feel the difference… it’s quite an experience!
Tips for Puzzle Shopping
- Choose your difficulty-rate by the picture. Do you want somewhat easy or highly challenging?
- Decide how many pieces are desired. 500-750 is a good way to start.
- Make a 24″ x 36″ puzzle board – it’ll easily incorporate puzzles up to 1000 pieces.
- Consider trying a high quality puzzle if you get a chance!
- Purchase used puzzles from thrift stores, Facebook or just borrowing from others.
- Check out Amazon HERE for discounted puzzle purchases.
Right after completing this amazing sewing-themed Ravensburger puzzle, it was back in the box and sent on its way to a new home within the hour. I now didn’t fret about relinquishing my latest friend… because another one will be on its way soon… as soon as I land one!
It’s my hope that perhaps if you haven’t done a puzzle in awhile, that you will pull out your own so you too can discover the calm this activity provided for me!
And that you too will consider sharing yours with others. What a lovely way to help each other out through our new challenging world, wouldn’t you agree?
Are you a puzzle maker? Or plan to pick some up?
Other related projects you may enjoy:
Visit all my game-themed projects HERE
Other de-stress things I do: