self-care

Zen and The Art of Puzzling, or Why Puzzles Are Awesome Stress Relief #mind #soul 

HOW DID I FORGET ALL ABOUT THE NPR SUNDAY PUZZLE PODCAST?

A few weeks ago, while Tee and I were in North Carolina with family, I was reminded of the Sunday puzzle when Morning Edition came on the radio.  I re-subscribed to the Sunday Puzzleweird_al_yankovic_white_nerdy_mousepad Podcast and now I’ve been listening every week.

On a related note, I’ve recently experienced a resurgence with one of my nerdiest leisure activities – puzzling.

Once we got relatively settled in our new lovely old farmhouse, I broke out my puzzle caddy and started working on a jigsaw.  (Sidebar: this particular puzzle was one of several given to me by a family friend, my Aunt Jan, who passed away.  She was my fake aunt and one of my mother’s best friends, and they spent many a vacation together with others working on jigsaw tables in a cabin in the Poconoes, back when I thought puzzles were boring and enjoyed playing Manhunt with my fake cousins way more.)

This past month or so has been Prime Time For Puzzling – I’ve been learning to do a new job, going in to work early and staying late, and struggling a little with work-life balance.  There have been a lot of nights when I get home, eat dinner with Tee, and spend the rest of the night watching Parks and Rec or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (my new favorite!) while working on a puzzle.

This is why I think puzzles are awesome stress relief when life gets crazy:puzzle-piece

  • Puzzling promotes mindfulness.  Just the way coloring can help you to re-center and to focus on the picture right in front of you, puzzling pulls your focus so that you are SERIOUSLY attuned to the piece you need to complete the picture in front of you.
  • When you’re puzzlin’, you are literally putting things in order.  I think that’s why I get so drawn into puzzles when things are confusing or overwhelming at work.  When I am having trouble putting things in order at work, I find it refreshing to come home and put a puzzle in order.
  • Every piece has an exact place in a puzzle.  There is an answer that you can find, and you have a road map to get to your goal.  (The top of the puzzle box – duh.)  You don’t have to force anything at all – in fact, if you find yourself trying to force things, you can be pretty sure that you’re on the wrong track.

Thank goodness for puzzles – helping to give us the illusion of control.

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