My name is Sabina, and I am a crossword-aholic.
It began before my now-fiance and I started dating. He was always doing crosswords at his job at the library, and messaging our Whatsapp group of friends for help with clues. I was usually the only one who responded. When Kieran and I (finally) got together, crosswords became a date staple – at the diner over brunch, in the park, at our kitchen tables. Now, every week, my future mother-in-law and I work on a puzzle during dinner, while Kieran wanders in and out to help and watch the Rangers game in the other room.
This crossword addiction is not new – when I was a pre-teen, I spent hours with my puzzle book, determined to get 100% without cheating. My romance simply rekindled my love of the activity. In fact, I think I have surpassed Kieran in my crosswording habit – I have an app on my phone for commutes, and the pen-and-paper versions are a favorite way to wind down after a long day.
Why are crosswords great self-care?
1. It’s a needed break from the screen.
When I grab a good, old-fashioned crossword book, I immediately feel more at ease. All day I stare at screens, be it my phone or my laptop. To grab a pen and pull the ink (red, if I am feeling cocky) across a real piece of paper into sure letters feels so good. (Tea and soft lighting optional, but highly recommended.)
2. I still feel productive.
I am the type of person who considers a weekend fulfilling if I have re-organized my closet or sock drawer. I rarely feel fulfilled by watching TV. That’s why I love (all kinds) of puzzles. I know I am positively using my brain, and there’s that chance to feel accomplished at the end.
3. It promotes learning!
I think I have learned more vocabulary from crosswords than from any of my SAT prep. If I give up and finally check the answers, I am now armed with more trivia for next time. My favorite types of crosswords are the ones that have a bunch of riddle clues with long answers throughout. It is so satisfying to change how I was looking at the problem to figure out the elusive pattern!
4. You can crossword alone or with friends.
Doing a puzzle with other people is so rewarding when you each have different kinds of knowledge. While I am good with languages, Kieran’s best friend is good for sports trivia, Kieran’s mom is good for old TV shows, and my brother is a movie encyclopedia. Plus, there’s nothing like an entire family collectively screaming at Will Shortz out of frustration.
I will always be a lover of print books, real bookstores, and snail mail. Crosswords are just another way I disconnect from my sometimes overwhelming life. It may make me a nerd, but it is truly a joy!
This post is part of our #SelfCareSA series, which explores unique self-care habits of #SApros. Whether it’s faith, crosswords, or video games, you’re bound to be inspired to carve out some “you-time.” For more info, please see Sabina’s intro post. Be sure to check out other posts in this series too!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Conor McLaughlin on SA Work-Life Balance