For many, jigsaws bring back memories of rainy days sprawled out on the carpet with the loose pieces all collected in the lid of the jigsaw box and the corner pieces optimistically in place. At the time you probably weren’t aware of the benefits of jigsaw puzzles, but as an adult you’ll probably be much more aware of the relaxing benefits after completing one. Not only are they intellectually stimulating, but they help to focus the mind on the job at hand which, in turn, gives us a bit of breathing space from the pressures and stresses of everyday lives. A jigsaw is an inexpensive way of taking your mind away from these issues, and it can take you back to your childhood – when you didn’t have a care in the world.
If you’re new to jigsaws, don’t throw yourself in at the deep end with a 1,500-piece puzzle – it could prove too challenging and actually add to your stress! If you’ve completed jigsaws as a child, a 500-piece puzzle should be a good place to start.
You can view our range of jigsaws online today.
Cook, Bake and Eat
As adults, baking is usually a chore to be done before hosting the new neighbours or impressing friends at the local bake sale. It’s very rare that we ever make something simply because it’s fun and delicious and a bit crazy! Remember making rice crispie cakes and licking more chocolate off the spoon than goes in the cake mix? Or making your own mini pizzas and piling on more toppings than you could possibly fit in your mouth? Next time you settle down for a hot drink, try putting the tea and coffee to one side and make your own needlessly extravagant but wonderfully delicious hot chocolate. Marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles, glazed cherries, biscotti staws and probably your camera phone will all be required to truly embrace the child in you.
“Growing up, it was a Sunday tradition that we would go for long walk and then be rewarded with a hot chocolate; complete with mini marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. All these years later, a decadent hot chocolate immediately transports me back to my childhood. I love following an indulgent Nigella Lawson recipe – it always ends up in a whipped cream fight between me and my 4-year-old daughter… but that’s part of the fun!” – Cookery Writer Toni Waterfall.
Painting by numbers
Paint by numbers kits were a must-have stocking filler as kids and provided days of carefully using your paintbrush to reveal a beautifully painted design. Studies have revealed a direct connection between painting and reduced stress levels, and painting by numbers is a great way of developing your skills and focusing the mind on a project. Painting by numbers allows you to release your inner artist; even if you haven’t picked up a paintbrush since your school days, you can create masterpieces to proudly hang on your wall! It’s a great distraction when you’re in the moment, but more than this – the relaxation gained during a session gives you a clearer line of thought, helping to put any problems into perspective. The great thing about painting by numbers is that you can paint for a quick five-minute session or a long three-hour stint – revisiting it whenever you have the urge or time.
Scrapbooking is certainly a fond childhood recollection for many; a lot of time would go into embellishing and carefully creating those special books of memories, and the sense of pride we would feel on completing it was always well worth the effort. Creating a scrapbook is now something that more and more adults are undertaking. While some see it as a daunting task, once you have all the necessary tools in place – the right pens, glues and other stationery items – the scrapbooking possibilities are endless. Scrapbooks can be used to creatively express feelings and can be a method of personal art journaling. Looking through old pictures and reflecting on these special times has to be one of the best stress-management tools out there.
We have a beautiful range of scrapbook albums which you can view online today.
As humans, we’re designed to be on the move – not sit in a chair all day long. As well as being a crucial part of good body function, exercise is a sure-fire way of giving you a feeling of well-being, and is one of the best ways to combat stress. As children, skipping was one of the highlights of the playground, but adults are increasingly becoming hooked on “jumping rope” now, too! Skipping burns between 800 and 1,000 calories per hour, but it also helps deplete stress hormones and releases endorphins which help us better cope with stress. The great news is that all you need to get started is a skipping rope – and a bit of space!
Writing letters by hand
“What’s the point of writing a letter by hand?”, the 21st-century techie may ask. Well, remember the pen pals you used to have when you were young and how exciting it was to receive something in the post, before carefully crafting your reply? Writing letters by hand has a rustic, old world charm to it – it’s a simple pleasure and a joy of life to many who live in a fast-paced world. There’s something extremely personal about a handwritten letter. Unlike emails, no two letters are the same, and you can personalise it further by using different coloured pens, letter designs, stickers, colourful envelopes and doodles to make them even more fun. Find somewhere comfy and write a heartfelt letter to anyone close to you; your recipient will be thankful to know they are deserving of your full attention, and in writing it you may feel a sense of calm and relaxation.
Take a look at our selection of writing pens to create beautifully written letters.
Wordsearches and word puzzles
Hand us a wordsearch puzzle today and we’re instantly reminded of stuffy car journeys during the summer holidays and visits to our grandparents’ house on the weekends. Puzzles were sure to keep us quiet for an hour or two as a child, but there are many great benefits to picking up a puzzle book as an adult too. The mental stimulation that comes from completing a good word search or puzzle is just as important to the brain as physical exercise is to the body. These puzzles help the brain produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, and the benefits that come with this released chemical include improved concentration, mood, memory and motor skills. Although word puzzles and searches certainly stimulate the mind, they also help relax it; the brain enters a meditative state during the ‘down time’ of completing a puzzle, which helps create a sense of peace and perspective; both of which aid in stress management.
You can take a long at our range of wordsearch and puzzle books online today.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at adult colouring books then you can take a look at our selection of adult colouring books here. Don’t forget to pick up some colouring pencils and pens as well to get started.