For those following on Instagram, this may be a bit of old news, but I'm finally done working on my very first self-care puzzle!
Puzzles are known to reduce stress by engaging your mind to create a sense of calm. Everyday worries tend to decrease when my mind focuses on an activity that is both meditative and satisfying. Puzzles may not solve my actual problems IRL, but they do provide a method of self-care that my body and mind desperately needs. So I thought, why not design my own?
Whenever I get an idea, I am usually impatient, so I will rush to finish projects. Surprisingly enough, I allowed myself to take my time with this one. This piece was posted on Instagram last year, which seemed to resonate with more people than anticipated. I wanted to do more with it, but I wasn't sure what.
Around New Year's Eve, a friend of ours gave us a few Disney puzzles. The whole family slowly worked on them through January. Even my parents and sister would come over and help us out. I remember loving how relaxing it was to work on them, either with family or alone. There is nothing more satisfying that finding a piece that fits. That's when I decided to make my "Take Care of Yourself" drawing into a puzzle.
Using Shutterfly, I tested out the project. After adding a bit more color to the design, uploaded to the website and created a puzzle. The puzzle was great! I worked on it for a few weeks, taking my time with the 252-pieces. Another idea I got during the process was finding a way to create a puzzle that can be framed. This puzzle measured at 10 x 14, so it might be a bit more challenging to find a frame, but I found that you can create your own puzzles at this lovely website!
While 2018 wasn't easy, this past January was one of the hardest months I had experienced in a really long time, in regards to stress and mental health. Whenever I think back on it, it seems like a blur. Growing up, my peers made it seem like therapy was for crazy people. As a female, we are raised to do everything (work, clean, take care of the family, etc.), while not letting anybody see you sweat. Self care has never been a priority because people will twist it into "selfishness". I can honestly say the moment I finally took the time to begin taking care of myself, the spark of creativity came back.
Just knowing that I was working on my mental health through therapy already helped me breathe easier. Knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel gives me a hope I haven't felt in years. Hope for better days, better thoughts, and a better life.
Of course, this is different for everyone. My journey is not the same as yours. For me, self care comes in many forms: therapy, puzzles, and nights out with friends. For someone else, it may come as weightlifting and less phone time. Just be sure to search and find what works for you. Chances are it will be a lot of fun.;)