Jigsaw Puzzle Hobby to Help With Grief and Loss

I've always had hobbies, but I specifically took up a new hobby of doing jigsaw puzzles while a close family member and loved one was diagnosed as being terminally ill.

Working on jigsaw puzzles has been the perfect hobby, helping me to cope with the lengthy terminal illness and then the subsequent loss of a loved one. Perhaps this hobby can also help you during a difficult time.

Jigsaw puzzles have provided a welcome distraction and a mental escape mechanism after dealing with a very lengthy and traumatic illness and death of a dearly loved family member.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide any kind of medical advice or to take the place of  advice or treatment from a doctor or physician.

Taking Up a Jigsaw Puzzle Hobby to Help With Grief, Loss and Bereavement

Taking Up a Jigsaw Puzzle Hobby to Help With Grief, Loss and Bereavement how jigsaws and puzzles help with grieving death of someone

Photo from my Clementoni "New Horizons" Jigsaw Puzzle, Artist Chuck Pinson

During the most traumatic phase of my life where a special and most loved family member was diagnosed with a terminal illness and then had the most horrible and lengthy decline before passing away, I gave up all of my usual hobbies because they no longer gave me any joy.

I lost all pleasure in my own life, as if someone had literally sucked all the joy right out of me, and I was searching for a way to cope and deal with the awful time I was going through. It was like a nightmare that I could not wake up from.

Due to this being a terminal illness, I was dealing with feelings of grief, loss and bereavement long before my family member actually died.

A New Jigsaw Puzzle Hobby Gave Me a Way of Coping With Loss and Grief 

During this difficult time, I was given a jigsaw puzzle. I'd never really done any since childhood, but thought I'd give it a go as it was a nice picture of a beautiful country scene.

Whilst working on this first jigsaw puzzle, I found a bit of an escape route from all the sadness going on around me. I discovered that while I was focusing on solving the jigsaw, step by step and piece by piece, I could retreat into a happier place. Doing jigsaw puzzles provided stress relief and calmed me immensely.

The stunning artwork and the beautiful picture of the puzzle, that was revealed more the nearer I got to completion, was like a place I wanted to escape to.

Reading and books normally give my mind a place to escape to but, during this traumatic phase, just the idea of starting a new book was totally overwhelming and no longer worked as a calming aid or coping strategy.

How Jigsaw Puzzles Help Me Deal With the Grieving Process

After that first jigsaw puzzle, I was hooked and I had to buy some more. I found that taking up this new hobby was helping me do cope better with the awful feelings I was experiencing.

The artwork gave me an escape from the harsh reality that I was living and the puzzle aspect gave me something to keep focused on. While I was working on a puzzle I felt noticeably calmer and less stressed.

Solving the jigsaw was helping to focus my mind and keep it off many more negative feelings of anger, depression and hurt while I was working on it. It gave me a bit of a purpose to each day and was especially important while reality was so very hard to deal with.

Jigsaw puzzles became my go to hobby and one where I could escape for a few minutes or a few hours because it is a very flexible hobby and you can pick it up and put it back down with ease.

Smaller 500 piece puzzles worked best for me during the initial months of bereavement because they don't take too long. Plus they are more portable and I can work those on a board on the sofa or even in bed if I was having an especially hard day coping with grief.

I recommend starting with 500 piece jigsaw puzzles if you are new to puzzling or haven't attempted one in a long time. 500 pieces are not too overwhelming for most adults to begin with. There are also plenty of smaller 250 and 300 piece jigsaws made for adults to enjoy.

The Perfect Hobby for the Healing Process

You never really can get over the loss of someone truly special. What can happen is that you learn to cope with that loss and grief better over time. Time can be a healer and life can gradually start to feel better bit by bit.

Grieving doesn't run in a smooth line though and sometimes you can have lots of good days followed by an especially bad day right out of the blue. I believe that is normal from what I've read online.

Since the death of my family member, jigsaw puzzles have carried on being a tremendous comfort to me. I choose them based on pictures and artwork that I really love and they provide a wonderful place to escape to while working on them.

Even after the puzzle is complete, I find joy in spending time appreciating the art and will often challenge myself to look at it in detail. I get to know each picture very well and that gives me a hobby that continues to bring pleasure and healing out of a very painful time.

If you are dealing with loss, sadness or other challenges in life, perhaps jigsaw puzzles can provide you with a hobby that is rewarding and helpful to you as it has been for me. Why not get started with a jigsaw puzzle and see if that helps.

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Articles are accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in medical, business, financial, legal, or technical matters. All images on this site are my own or are product and public domain photos that are used with permission.