Getting divorced? Time to get creative!

One of the things I tell my clients most often is not to lose themselves to their divorce. Yes, divorce is a big deal, and yes it is hard work. It’s easy for it to become all-consuming. But that doesn’t do you (or your divorce) any favours. It’s important to stay connected to who you are. It’s important to make time to play. So in Getting divorced? Time to get creative! we’ll explore how and why divorce is a time to get creative, even when you don’t feel like it.

You are not your divorce

First of all, let’s remind ourselves of this important truth. Divorce might be the front and centre of your mind right now. The injustices of it all might be swarming around your head. The grief will come in waves, sometimes tidal. And the to-dos and decisions-to-be-made might dominate your waking moments.

But this is not the entirety of who you are.  Before divorce was in your life, you were many things. You played several roles: wife, mother, friend, sister maybe. Even more than that, you’re the bundle of experiences, qualities, and feelings that are uniquely yours. 

The person who others turn to when they need someone to listen. Or their go-to when they want something done. The person who hates strawberry ice cream, or who will not touch chardonnay. Perhaps the unlucky one the mosquitoes always go for in a crowd. The woman who amazes people with her knitting, her ability to remember dates, her karaoke prowess. 

You are so much more than your divorce. I want to remind you of this now because I see so many women feel like they’re drowning. But you were there before your divorce. You will be there after it. And even if it doesn’t feel like it now, you’ll emerge stronger and happier. 

Time to get creative

If you’re in the midst of divorce you need to play. Play harder than ever. You need to get creative.

“What?” I hear you say. “Emma, I’m on my knees, my brain and heart are aching. I’m in no mood to play.”

I hear you. Divorce can take you to the brink. But, believe me, getting creative is one of the surest (and easiest) ways to pull yourself back. Spending time on something creative regularly will do two critical things: 

  1. It will remind you of who you are
  2. It will put divorce in its place.

What do you mean?

Let’s take each of these in turn. We’ll start with who you are. 

As we’ve seen, it’s easy for divorce to become all-consuming. Not just in terms of the time it takes, but in the headspace it occupies. How it threatens our identity. 

When you spend all of your time thinking about divorce or doing tasks related to divorce it threatens to take you over. And getting creative is an antidote to this.

When you get creative you bring something new into being. Something that only exists because of you. It could be anything – a doodle, a cake, an angry journal entry. It might even be divorce-related. You might have got out your pencils for a soothing drawing session and ended up scrawling all over your paper in angry red and black lines. 

But, crucially, it is led by you. It is coming from you. It’s a safe place to either address how you’re feeling about divorce or retreat from all divorce activity for a while.

So by giving yourself time to get creative each week you are giving yourself space. You are reminding yourself that divorce is not the everything it sometimes feels. Yes, divorce looms large right now. But you are bigger. You are stronger and you will be there after the storm.

OK – maybe I’ll give it a go. But how?

I want you to set aside time to get creative each week. And by ‘get creative’ I mean anything that takes your fancy. Drawing, if you like. Writing or doodling in a notebook. Baking. Dancing. What’s important is that you do something for fun and create something that wasn’t there before.

Doing this takes conscious effort. You will need to set aside time. But it doesn’t have to take long. Can you find an hour each week? You might want to try these things:

  • A new recipe using ingredients you love
  • Signing up for a new class (music, yoga, dance, art, writing… whatever you’ve always wanted to do)
  • Following a paint-along Youtube tutorial
  • Going for a walk and writing about it afterwards

Can you only find ten minutes here or there? No problem. Try these:

  • Write in your journal as you drink your morning coffee
  • Put music on and dance in your kitchen
  • Plant some seeds in a pot
  • Find a quick sketch-along Youtube video 
  • Start a jigsaw puzzle
  • Start a knitting/crochet/whittling project you can pick up and put down. 

But I’m not creative!

Take a look at the examples I’ve given above. Do you ever cook? Could you get a pot, a packet of seeds, some soil and put them all together? Of course.

Creativity comes in so many forms. We often are taught early on that we’re not creative in one way or another. Maybe we weren’t build to be prima ballerinas so we’re told we’re ‘no good’ at dancing. Or maybe we were left flailing in art classes at school. This isn’t the sum total of creativity.

I’m no painter, but I have created a thriving business that I love. It brings me energy every day knowing I am helping so many women. I have a friend who doesn’t want to write poetry but can organise events like the superstar she is. 

The point is to do something, anything, each week that brings something new into your world. Yes, dancing counts – the creation doesn’t have to last forever. 

If you’re stuck, think back to when you were seven years old. What did you do for fun? Did you tell stories? Make fairy potions in the garden? Build dens? Pretend to be a school teacher? 

Whatever it was, think of how you can bring that sort of fun back into your life. If seven year old you loved being wild outside, go and get wild outside. If seven year old you was into books – get reading and writing more. And what if seven year old you was a demon on the roller skates – well, why not?!

Creativity doesn’t care about rules. You can be creative in your own unique way.

But how will this creativity help my divorce?!

Creativity has countless benefits for life and work. And all of these will help your divorce too. Let’s look at three of the most important advantages of getting creative. 

Problem solving

Divorce is many things, and most of my clients see it as a problem! How to negotiate with your soon-to-be-ex, how to plan for the future, how to support your children… all of these are problems to be solved. Honing our creativity helps us tackle these problems in a lighter way – to see them as puzzles to be worked on rather than obstacles that shut us down. 

Clarity

Creativity helps you think more clearly. Even more importantly, it puts you back in touch with yourself. This means you can approach decisions by really tuning into what your needs are.

Stress-relief

As you probably know, our bodies are designed to have a fight/flight/freeze response to stress. None of which are very helpful for progressing your divorce! Avoiding your divorce, or freezing and letting your soon-to-be-ex take control are clearly unhelpful. Fighting might seem like it’s moving things forward, but the more you turn the heat up in your divorce negotiations, the more difficult (and expensive) proceedings will become. 

What you need is a calm, responsive approach.  Getting creative helps to relieve stress, which has a ripple effect on how you deal with your divorce. And you’ll see better results. 

Come and join our amazing academy!

Creativity thrives in community. When you’re trying to create space for yourself in your own divorce storm it’s so much easier with others cheering you on.

Not everyone gets it when you’re going through divorce. They’ve not been there. Or if they have, it’s behind them and their ‘advice’ feels stifling. What you need is a group of women who are on that journey now, and who have decided to do it on their own terms. 

They know they’re more than their divorce. They even know that divorce will leave them stronger and more themselves than before – however many bumps there might be along the way. And you know it too.

So come and join us. For just £197 a month (about the same price as an HOUR with a solicitor) you get my legal knowledge and coaching support, all the toolkits and resources you need plus a crowd of amazing women who’ve all got your back.

You can join us here today. 

About Emma

Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is the author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. Emma is also the host of  The Six Minute Divorce Podcast. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com

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