The Real Reason You Should Be Doing Jigsaw Puzzles Right Now

Have you had your fill of gardening, and baked just about all you can bake (at least without gaining another 15 pounds)? Has Netflix long since lost its thrill, and TikTok workouts started to pale? Yes, quarantine's been hard on everybody; we get it. Even now, as everything is slowly opening back up, and even the weather is finally improving, it's still kind of a risky business venturing out and about again, not to mention the fact that the economic repercussions of a lengthy lockdown have left many of us still feeling stressed beyond belief.

Perhaps it's time you considered taking up a new hobby, one that needn't cost you much (or any) money, and only takes as much time or effort as you feel like putting in. While the results may not be as Instagram-worthy as, say, finally nailing that perfect frog bread, this pastime is entirely carb- and calorie-free. So what is this boredom-busting, stress-relieving leisure activity? Good old-fashioned jigsaw puzzles.

Jigsaw puzzles make us feel in control and accomplished

According to CNBC, sales of jigsaw puzzles have soared over the past few months, and there have even been shortages of popular puzzles. As it turns out, there are some very good reasons why people are turning to puzzles, since they are surprisingly therapeutic for our poor pandemic-panicked brains. Ohio State University psychologist Michael Vilensky tells HuffPost, "With a puzzle, with enough time and effort, we can control the outcome, know it will end, and experience a sense of relief and accomplishment when it's finished." This is good news at a time when it seems the world keeps finding new ways to spiral out of control.

Psychotherapist Jenny Maenpaa adds that puzzles also provide us with a sense of purpose: "[D]oing a puzzle feels like working towards something bigger than your to-do list, which is especially alluring when meaningful action in quarantine can be hard to come by." She also adds that they "challenge us just enough to feel accomplished when we complete them."

Jigsaw puzzles also help us to de-stress

Still others feel that puzzles provide a calming, almost meditative experience. Donna Brown of The Missing Piece Puzzle Co. says, "Puzzling immerses you into a problem-solving situation that is relaxing and soothing, and it always feels great to place a piece in a puzzle." Puzzles also trigger a pleasant sense of nostalgia – Vilensky says they "can help us connect to the past and offer a sense of familiarity that is reassuring during new and chaotic times." They also offer an appealing array of images, and the time spend contemplating a beautiful piece of scenery, adorable animal, or amazing work of art has curative powers of its own.

Oh, and if you think puzzles aren't for you because you lack the table space or the patience to look for those inevitable lost pieces stuck between sofa cushions? There's a wide range of online jigsaw puzzles out there that provide the same benefits without any of the hassles of traditional puzzles.