Lately, I’ve had an increased interest in completing jigsaw puzzles. Specifically, I love the Springbok brand because, they have the thickest puzzle pieces and are all different interlocking shapes. They are quality brand puzzle makers for sure. But, I will work on any puzzle and I get most from thrift stores… or my husband. He buys me a lot of puzzles. 🙂
My interest in jigsaw puzzles also had another purpose… to help keep my brain healthy.
23 months ago, I had a stroke. I was one of the fortunate stroke victims who had relatively minor brain damage. It mainly damaged my memory and balance.
As part of my rehabilitation, my neurologist suggested working on puzzles to help:
*enhance my visual perception
*hone my coordination
*improve my memory
*develop critical thinking
*increase dopamine production in my brain
*stimulate my entire brain
I am grateful for this second chance at living life and look forward to more time on Earth.
What does one do when they survive a health crisis like that? They do what their neurologist says, of course! I need to do puzzles? No problem, Doc! I’m all over it!
Almost 2 years later, no one can tell I had a stroke. I can walk fine. I can talk fine. I just have a little trouble remembering things short-term and recalling long-term memories. That’s what notes and journals are for. I have lots of notes everywhere in my apartment reminding me of things I need to do!
I have completed over 2 dozen puzzles in various sizes and designs during that time. My favorite is the 1,000 piece puzzles that are just the right size for a challenge. I then share them with friends who also have the jigsaw puzzle fever. We rotate and make sure we don’t get the same puzzles.
I get so engrossed in the puzzle that I forget things around me. I am so focused on finding that right piece to fit the section I’m putting together that I tend to finish my puzzles in only a few days. I work on it constantly until it’s done. I’m obsessed!
It really makes me happy every time I get another puzzle. I buy them from thrift stores, Amazon, Hallmark, Hobby Lobby, etc. I get out my felt mat and foam board that are my tools to work on and setup.
The excitement of a new design, the smell of the cardboard, the hunt for the edges that make the border, the chance to watch it grow as I complete it… all of which makes my brain work hard, relax and have fun too.
I take pictures every day of my progress. I want to watch my work for the day grow into the final design. It’s fun to watch and gives me the satisfaction of completion.
It’s currently snowing outside so I ended up finishing it. When was the last time you worked on a jigsaw puzzle? Do you remember trying to figure out where each piece fit?
What about searching through the box for all of the edge pieces to begin the border? What did it smell like? How long did it take you to finish the puzzle?
If it has been a while, I think you should get a small puzzle to try and see if it whets your appetite. You may like it, you may not. Make it a family affair… more than one person can work on it. Then, after you’re done, pass it on to someone else to enjoy. Have fun!
Thanks for tuning in! Watch for future posts on the current jigsaw puzzles I am working on… and a bunch of other stuff.