Meditation apps, candles, yoga, adult coloring books, bubble baths, wine--they’re all great, but have you tried a puzzle? Making sense out of all those tiny little pieces is weirdly soothing, especially since the world outside seems to be making even less sense than usual.
Puzzles are the new self-care trend we’re 100% here for, and the really great thing is they’re perfect for whatever life throws at you. Here are 6 reasons to turn off your phone and open a jigsaw puzzle right this second!
1. Puzzles Can Increase Your Sense of Connection
Whether you’ve got roommates, friends dropping by, or kids in desperate need of something to do, puzzles are a delightful group activity. Just about anyone, no matter their age, can take a stab at fitting pieces together, and a shared half hour or so of working towards a common goal can’t help but increase your sense of connection and shared purpose.
Here’s a special bonus I’ve found from doing puzzles with friends and family: everybody talks more freely when their hands are busy! Don’t be surprised when feelings are shared more openly--which, of course, fuels even deeper connection.
2. Puzzles Can Sustain Your Digital Detox
A digital detox can help you sleep better, be more productive, and lower your anxiety (especially these days)--but what do you do when you’ve locked your phone away in a drawer? The answer: a puzzle!
A puzzle is a beautiful, soothing alternative to a phone or device’s harried distractions, and unlike going for a walk or working out, you can do one any time of day for as long as your brain desires.
3. A Puzzle Gives Your Anxiety a Hand
A puzzle brings a sense of calm, order, and completion to your brain. If you’re smart and strategic about the puzzle you pick, you can probably finish it off in one sitting--queue all the productivity feels.
If you feel like your brain is on a constant anxiety loop, a puzzle can give your mind something a tad more productive to work on. Fighting insomnia? Work on a puzzle! It might just exhaust your brain into sleep.
4. Completing a Puzzle Can Grow Your Creativity
You know how you have your best ideas when you’re in the shower? That’s what doing a puzzle is like.
Keeping a puzzle-in-progress to work on in between work or school breaks can fuel your productivity and creativity in some pretty great ways, so make sure you keep a pad of paper nearby so you can jot down all the great ideas you’ll be having.
5. Regular Puzzling Can Dust Off Those Brain Cobwebs
Scientists have found that when people learn new things and keep their brains busy regularly, they’re less likely to lose mental skills to common old-age complaints like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Plus, puzzles can also help increase short-term memory, logic, and creative thinking skills.
Think of puzzles as workouts for your brain: you exercise your body to keep it young and in shape, and same goes for your mind!
6. Puzzles Pair Perfectly With Your Favorite Soothing Rituals
The fun thing about puzzles is that they pair beautifully with other great self-care rituals. Here are some really lovely things to do while you work on a puzzle:
- Practice gratitude
- Listen to a book on tape
- Sip on a mug of tea or a glass of wine
- Light a candle
- Diffuse relaxing essential oils
Whether you keep your puzzles forever as monuments to your achievement, or box them up again when you’re finished, they are definitely your new best friend.
Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.