Was listening to a radio show the other morning about people who do jigsaws. One of the people being interviewed said that doing jigsaws was a real waste of time but that she enjoyed it so much that she couldn’t imagine giving it up.
And that made me wonder: is doing jigsaws really such a waste of time or is there more to it?
To the woman on the radio it was a great source of pleasure and relaxation. So, even though she thinks it’s waste of time, it’s actually being a benefit to her.
The late Mo Mowlem, former Northern Ireland secretary, was an avid jigsaw fan. According to friends she always had a jigsaw on the go. She had a jigsaw puzzle roll in which you can save unfinished puzzles.
But why do jigsaws?
Well, the immediate thing that comes to mind is that it’s a great way of switching off from all of the other things in your life that can cause you stress and worry. Jigsaws can become very absorbing and require a measure of focus and cognitive skill. So doing jigsaws can help to reduce stress in your life.
Another thing to consider is that, because doing jigsaws demands a high level of concentration, it can actually help your ability to concentrate on other things too.
So my next thought was: is anything that you enjoy really a waste of time?
Having given this a little bit of thought I recently reading about a group of young people, a few hundred in number, who enjoy dressing up and re-enacting parts of the Lord of The Rings trilogy. They get into costume and then really get into character, not referring to each other by real names for the duration of their time together (sometimes for up to 4 days).
At first I though they were a bit bonkers (running around a field dressed in a sheet pretending to be a wizard) but I quickly realised that this sounds like quite a giggle, even if a tad surreal.
But is it any worse than fanatically following a football team, spending a lot of your your time and money going to games and keeping up with the antics of players etc?
I play and watch rugby, is that a waste of time? I also build websites and write on blogs, are they a waste of time too?
Even I think that doing jigsaws is fun, I know from my own experience that there’s a very good feeling from having completed a large jigsaw. Doing jigsaws with my kids is even better; it’s shared experience and shared good feeling when done. Mo Mowlem was definitely onto something.
The point is; we all need to relax and switch off from work and the hectic pace of life. So find something that helps you do that.
And finally, just to conclude; whatever you do to relax, take your mind off things (or just plain enjoy yourself) is certainly not a waste of time. Even if people think you’re a little nuts, just do what you enjoy and get as much out of it as you can.