I’ve been feeling a little keyed up lately due to a death in my husband’s family, so I’ve started another jigsaw puzzle.
Jigsaw puzzles are so relaxing, and they never fail to calm my nerves and put my mind in a better place.
They force me to concentrate all of my attention on one very specific thing, so there isn’t room for my mind to roam free and stir up trouble.
They not only calm the mind…..they quiet the mind...and that is something those of us “over-thinkers and obsessors” desperately need. The chatter going on in our heads all day is ever-present. It’s like a nagging three-year old tugging at our pant leg all day. Jigsaw puzzles are a way to put that toddler down for a nap and have some peace for a while.
I usually spend about thirty minutes at a time, “puzzling” away, and when I am done I feel like my “reset” button has been pushed and I can tackle whatever is next with a fresher perspective.
And you know what else I love about jigsaw puzzles? They can become a part of your family life, in the broader sense.
I don’t always have a puzzle going, but when I do, I usually leave it right on my dining room table, (nobody ever eats there anyway), and anytime I am getting frustrated or overwhelmed, I just say “Mommy’s going to work on her puzzle for a while.” And I get a cup of tea or one of my lovely little aromatherapy diffusers, and sit down and work on my puzzle.
If my kids are not getting along with each other, I tell them to go sit at the table for a while and have “puzzle time”. Silly little arguments and disagreements are quickly forgotten as they focus solely on the task at hand…..putting those pieces together.
If my husband is on the phone, he will sit down at the table and absent-mindedly put pieces together while talking.
If I have to kill 5 minutes waiting on the macaroni water to boil….I go work on the puzzle. As you can imagine, this sometimes doesn’t end so well. Quite often the whooshing sound of water boiling over signals to me that puzzle time is over.
If I feel like I haven’t been spending enough time with a particular child of mine, I will say “Let’s go work on the puzzle for a while.”, and we work together, just the two of us, and chat about our day.
I think that in their own small way, puzzles simply make life better.
I will say that it can be a challenge keeping puzzles on the table with two 4 year olds in the house though. They are fascinated by the puzzles and love to try to be “helpers”. My 4-year-old son came up to earlier this week and said “I can help you Mom!”, and dumped my entire sorting bowl out on the table, in with all the unsorted pieces.
Three days of work down the chute.
But I just sighed, and decided that perhaps my jigsaw-loving mom up in heaven must have known that I missed a piece and used Sawyer to let me know I should go back and sort again.
“Jigsaw Puzzle Therapy” is a widely used tool by people who are looking for a way to cope with their mental and emotional health issues. I feel a great kinship with people who gain comfort and a little peace from this type of therapy, and I have discovered some lovely stories over the years about people who are doing just that. Of course not all people who use jigsaw therapy are living with anxiety. Some live with Alzheimer’s or loneliness or other health issues. However, I feel that kinship just the same.
If you haven’t tried jigsaw puzzles in a while, give them another go and see for yourself what great “therapy” they can be, and how they add just an extra little bit of something nice to your home and day to day life.
For a little fun, check out this history of how jigsaw puzzles came to be.
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