Covid19 virus pandemic and the huge increase in the demand for jigsaw puzzles

Covid19 pandemic and the huge increase in the demand for jigsaw puzzles

The year 2020 has seen a huge increase in the demand for jigsaw puzzles, even to the point where many jigsaw puzzle suppliers have run out of, or at the very least, run extremely low on stock.

Puzzle manufactures have been busy producing more puzzles to meet the demand and make up the shortfall, and some have even stopped taking on new wholesale requests, since they are busy simply keeping up with their existing outlets.

The reason for this imbalance of supply and demand is the Covid19 virus, that has brought many parts of the world, particularly Europe and the USA, to a standstill.

Covid19 virus pandemic and the huge increase in the demand for jigsaw puzzles

Because of the Covid19 virus, many countries introduced ‘lockdowns’, either nationally or locally, where people are required to stay at home, other than for essential reasons such as food shopping or work, where that work cannot be done at home.

This, in turn, has led many people to seek alternative pastimes and leisure pursuits, to while away the hours of being stuck indoors, with one of the consequences of this being that many people have started, or restarted, taking up the pastime of assembling jigsaw puzzles.

Whilst some people have always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles as a pastime, others may not have done a puzzle for years, and some may even have started to do jigsaw puzzles for the very first time. Either way, the demand has increased tremendously.

Psychotherapist Jenny Maenpaa, told ‘HuffPost’

“Our primitive lizard brains are on overdrive in quarantine. We know on a cellular level that there is a threat to our survival, as both individual humans and a species, so we are stuck in a fight-flight-freeze cycle where our brains can’t figure out which one will keep us alive.”

She went on to say

“We’re not sleeping well because we’re staying alert enough to jump out of bed if the threat comes close enough to us, which our brains can’t understand is an unhelpful and irrelevant biological response to a virus,” adding “When we don’t get enough restorative sleep, our reaction times are slower, our emotional self-regulation is poorer, and we have trouble performing high-level cognitive functions. Puzzles are a surprising antidote to all of those challenges.”

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It’s the ‘puzzles are a surprising antidote to all of those challenges’ that catches the eye. Puzzles come in several different forms and styles with jigsaw puzzles being one of them. Jigsaw puzzles present a challenge, a feeling of control on the outcome, you know it will end, both relief and accomplishment when finished and you are constructing something that already exists.

Doing a puzzle of perhaps a favourite holiday destination or something that connects a person to happier times, will also lift the mind and soul away from troubles that may be either covid19 related or non covid19 related.

Doing a jigsaw puzzle of something that reminds a person of happier times can take the mind and soul away from covid19 related and non covid19 related troubles

 Doing a jigsaw puzzle of something that reminds a person of happier times can take the mind and soul away from covid19 related and non covid19 related troubles

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In addition to this, those that do jigsaw puzzles feel a sense of calm, restful and peacefulness. All these benefits can be antidotes to the challenges and anxieties that the covid19 virus is presenting many people with. Experienced puzzlers would agree with the above quote by Jenny Maenpaa with maybe the only exception being that, to many of them, it is not at all ‘surprising’.

Many puzzlers have known, or would have an awareness, of these benefits already and newcomers to jigsaw puzzles or those that have taken them up after many years are discovering or rediscovering the benefits, as a result of the lockdowns and social restrictions imposed by the Covid19 virus pandemic.

To further make the point we quote Patrick K Porter, creator of ‘Brain Tap Technologies’ who stated,

“The conscious mind is known as a servomechanism, meaning it is goal-striving” he continues “During quarantine, (as in the case of the covid19 virus pandemic) when we have no environmental changes from one day to the next, it can feel like we’re living in Groundhog Day, as depicted in the Bill Murray movie. Jigsaw puzzles provide a challenge that gives this goal seeking behaviour an outlet. With each puzzle piece found, the puzzler gets a little hit of dopamine, which soothes the brain, and this reward then climaxes with the puzzle’s completion”.

It is not the first time in recent history that jigsaw puzzles have served the purpose of offering such benefits. During the great Depression, (which started in the USA in 1929 and spread throughout the western world, lasting until 1939), there was a massive increase in the buying of jigsaw puzzles. They became a cheap and pleasant way of separating yourself from the troubles of that time, as many families could not afford expensive or other forms of recreational activities.

Likewise, the Covid19 pandemic has brought about another huge increase in the sales and interest of jigsaw puzzles, with many believing this interest will very likely continue well beyond the virus and become a lasting and enjoyable pastime, for all ages, not just for the present but also the future.

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