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Playing With Puzzles Whilst Being Stuck at Home During Coronavirus Outbreak



With the Coronavirus outbreak, I like many will be spending pretty much all of my time indoors at home and practising social distancing which means I will have a lot more time on my hands than I normally would and be on my own a lot more even though I live with others. I am a big sports fan which is a big pastime of mine and did take up a lot of my free time and as that has been cancelled there is a huge void that needs filling in terms of entertainment and passing the time. This situation has provided though a perfect opportunity to do something productive that I would have found difficult to do before and learn new skills or improve on skills I already have and that is where puzzles can be useful. Playing with puzzles is a hobby of mine anyway but now I have the chance to have a go at the ones that I haven't had the time or motivation to do before as they are very time consuming or complex to solve and master. How to stop this activity from becoming boring will be a challenge at times over the coming weeks or however long this crisis lasts for as it will be for all the other activities I will do for entertainment. This hobby will also be for me a good distraction from the bad news that is currently happening as they can demand plenty of concentration and bring a lot of joy when I play with and solve them. Playing with a variety of different puzzles is going to be essential for me in order to keep this activity interesting and stop boredom setting at some point. A variety of challenges will also help to ensure my puzzle-solving skills are well rounded and that they are kept sharp. The puzzle I choose could be a challenge in which I physically operate it which will usually involve using my hands or the one I choose could be a mental challenge in which I read or listen to a puzzle and then use my brain to come up with an answer. Certain types of puzzles like speed cubes or jigsaws offer basically the same challenge or they slightly vary so I will try to mix these up when I do them and not move from one speed cube straight to the next one as I could get bored of them quite quickly. Puzzles especially repeat themselves in puzzle books as the whole book may be devoted to one type of challenge for example crosswords and in this case, I may do part of the book and then do part of another puzzle book and alternate between them until they are completed so I don't get bored of the challenges. A puzzle book that consists of one type of challenge may increase in difficulty to keep the book interesting and worth completing as I can improve my level as I get through it. I do prefer to work on one challenge at a time until I have completed it because if I am doing a lot of them I can lose track of where I am at with one of them so I will only be working on two or three at most at a time to be able to give my best to each. More free time means I can now try to do a challenge that is really difficult for me and will take a lot of time to master so I now have an even greater variety of challenges to choose from than I did before due to having the opportunity to do them all now. Another way of maintaining interest and excitement in this hobby of mine through this pandemic could be to ensure I do a puzzle that has a theme(s) to it and that the theme(s) varies for each puzzle I do. There are themes I really enjoy with horror, comedy and mystery probably being the themes I enjoy most and I know that these themes can definitely be found in jigsaws, books and boards games from experience so it shouldn't be too difficult for me to find puzzles of differing themes and which have a theme(s) I enjoy. Playing with puzzles of different materials should also help keep this hobby of mine interesting and varied as different materials can make them feel and play very differently and there are challenges unique to a certain material. There are collections of puzzles to go through as well that can vary a lot in the challenges they offer such as the huge Hanayama collection which has such variety in terms of challenge, appearance and difficulty and speaking from experience are almost always fun to do. Puzzles come in many forms and can be downloaded to my phone or laptop instantaneously or I can even just play them online on a website so I don't have to go out to a shop to get one or even have one delivered which will be helpful to me in the current Conoravirus scenario and the limitations it brings. Having so much extra time on my hands it is important to have some fun but I also want to do something useful and not waste the extra time that I have been afforded and that I will unlikely have again and puzzles could be one of a number of ways to do this. There are plenty of different skills I can learn from them that can be either applied to other puzzles or that are useful in other realms outside the puzzle one. Maths would be a good example of a skill I could acquire from certain puzzles that could be used in many different realms as plenty of brain teasers are number challenges and math is a skill that can be used in various areas of life and is an essential skill. Persistence would be another example of a skill that is needed with a lot of puzzles that would be useful for many other tasks outside this hobby and what I need to improve upon. A work-related skill I could gain from this hobby may be working to a time limit which is something I can sometimes struggle with. Puzzles could help me with another activity of mine such as computer gaming as both require similar skills such as dexterous hands and problem-solving and the same could be true the other way round with computer gaming helping me with certain puzzles. I may use a puzzle to break up an unpleasant task such as cleaning up by doing one in between breaks or it could even be done alongside a chore by listening to an audio puzzle book whilst doing the chore which could free up time for other activities. If I am spending all the free time I have with puzzles it is going to eventually get boring so I will need to mix it up with other activities as well that I can do indoors such as watching a movie, cooking or computer games. It is probably going to be a good idea to do a puzzle when motivated to do one as doing one when unmotivated could put me off altogether a particular one or this activity in general. Spending too long on a puzzle can also be mentally draining and reduce my chances of solving it as I find my brain isn't as sharp after a while particularly if it is a difficult challenge and also I may need to be mentally sharp for other important tasks. I want to fit them around my schedule and not the other way round so whenever I have time to kill and nothing else to do that is when I will play with one and not rearrange other things to do a puzzle. Mastering a challenge I find can be very motivating which means being able to do it as fast as possible with no wrong moves or missteps which does often require plenty of practice and time to achieve which is what I now have and that by constantly trying to break my personal best time or score it will keep my interest for longer. I don't have to rush a challenge now and can pace myself which may help to avoid mistakes and solve it faster and I also don't want to go through all of my puzzles right away. Certain puzzles have a challenge or challenges that take a long time to complete especially in books that can take weeks to get through and now that I have so much more time on my hands these challenges become a lot more appealing than they normally would and they will help to stop me from going through all my puzzles too quickly. I could during this time I have now gained dig out an old puzzle I haven't played with for a long while as I find when I do this I have either forgotten how it works or as is often the case forgotten the solution and if both are true it becomes a new challenge again. I find a puzzle can be sometimes way more exciting with other people involved even if the challenge was originally intended to be just a single player. There are of course challenges that demand other participants to play them properly such as a board game or as mentioned there are ones that could easily be adapted so that it can be done by more than one person. Even if it can't be done or adapted to be played by more than one person I could still just let them play with it when I am not using it or bored of it and either see if they can solve it or maybe they can help me solve it. Sharing a puzzle could help relieve the boredom of the people I am living with and maybe they can learn a few new skills at the same time or find they have a liking for them as well. If everyone is bored in the house then we will soon get on each other's nerves which can lead to arguments or a very tense atmosphere and puzzles along with a number of other forms of entertainment could help with this problem. A puzzle when it is done by more than one person adds additional elements compared to a single player one as it can be competitive or a task that is meant to be worked out together so teamwork is needed. Watching other people play with one in the flesh and competing against them can help me improve my own skills by seeing what they do well and imitating them or vice versa they could learn from me. I will have to choose a challenge that the people I live with would enjoy best and maybe not one I personally would want to play so everybody can enjoy the experience. When practising social distancing I can choose one that we don't all have to touch or have to be in close proximity to each other such as reading quiz questions out from a book or playing an audio puzzle book. The environment and the conditions I do a puzzle in will have an impact on my enjoyment of the activity and my ability to solve the challenge that is being presented. I do like to change the location of where I play with them to stop the activity from becoming monotonous and I can also go a bit stir-crazy being in the same room all the time but now that I am in lockdown my choices for locations will be very limited. I may go out into my backyard if the weather is nice and play with a puzzle or I can listen to one when I go to the shop for essentials as I still want to enjoy the outdoors as much as I possibly can. I will try to get a good nights sleep even though being worried over the situation might make this difficult so that I am well concentrated and alert to solve a challenge at an optimal level. If I am tired then I will forego this activity until I am well-rested as being tired can make puzzle solving a more difficult, frustrating and miserable experience. I also won't do it either when hungry or thirsty as I am irritable in this state and distracted which will only hinder me when I am trying to complete it. Big distractions for me are most likely to come from another person that can make a challenge much more difficult and even fruitless experience but luckily in my house, the people I live with are mostly considerate but I can always go to my room if needs be. I find ideal conditions for me when doing this activity in general to be a well-lit, comfortable seating and a warm environment and when I have these conditions I usually have a good time and time flies. In summary, puzzles are going to be a massive help to me in relieving the boredom and for making time pass quicker until the Coronavirus issue is finally over and things go back to normal and hopefully I will not have got sick of them and have improved my puzzle skills in the meantime and leant a few new useful skills along the way.

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