I don’t know about you, but the hobbies I find that relax me the most are ones that make me work the hardest. I have mentioned here many a times my joy of gardening and passion for cooking which take physical work to enjoy. But I also have hobbies that require mental work, like doing puzzles. For someone, like me, with a very cerebral job, why would I want to push my brain even more after a long day or week of work? Well, it is because the mental exercise of doing puzzles is different and uniquely challenging which actually helps my mind set aside work, chores, and other life concerns for a little while. My mind becomes intensely focused on colors, patterns, and shapes. After spending even just a few minutes working on a puzzle, I can actually feel the tension releasing from my neck and shoulders. A little more time and my mind starts clearing and the bigger picture of the puzzle forms in my mind. And if I lots of time, I get into the zone and can literally start seeing random pieces in a pile and know exactly where they go. After a long session, even more when a hard puzzle is completed, I have this great feeling of accomplishment and very relaxed. All that “work” to complete the puzzle actually has helped me “relax” my mind and body.
How about you? What hobbies take work but help you relax?
Below is my current puzzle and the next two in line.