5 Benefits of a Consistent Creative practice for navigating midlife
Something interesting and predictable tends to happen to women in midlife. You find yourself yearning to reconnect to your creativity. In fact, this longing is so common that it is essential to one of the stages of the Heroine’s Journey as described by Maureen Murdock in her popular book The Heroine’s Journey: A Woman’s Quest for Wholeness. She calls this stage an “urgent yearning to return to the feminine” which includes reconnecting to our desire for authentic creative expression.
While there are many ways a consistent creative practice can help us to navigate the challenges of midlife, below are 5 of my favorites.
When I talk about a consistent creative practice, I mean making art, writing, photography, music, pottery, fiber arts or even gardening. Midlife is a time when we feel that desire to connect with the things that bring us joy that maybe we have set aside or forgotten about.
Engaging in a consistent creative practice can have several benefits.
Engaging in creative activities such as painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument can serve as a form of stress relief. Focusing on the creative process can divert attention from everyday worries and promote relaxation. Science has proven that coloring mandalas specifically can help regulate stress hormones and decrease anxiety levels. I have been using this practice for 15 years and am so passionate about it that I created a membership program called Sacred Circles to support more women to find a creative outlet and a support system for managing stress with creative expression.
Creativity provides an outlet for expressing complex emotions that may be difficult to articulate otherwise. Through art, music, or writing, individuals can explore and convey their feelings in a non-verbal and symbolic manner. This can promote self-awareness, emotional processing, and provide a sense of catharsis. One of my favorite ways to do this is with intuitive collage.
5-minute Intuitive Collage Process for Emotional Expression
I encourage you to grab a magazine, a glue stick and your journal or an index card and have some fun. Focus on images only, no words. Select two or three images that speak to you, cut them out, glue them down and then sit with it, admire it and get really curious. I guarantee you will find a message waiting for you that you needed to hear. I love dialoguing with collage and asking it what it has to tell me or asking what is the gift you have for me today.
Engaging in a creative practice allows individuals to develop and showcase their skills and talents. Accomplishing creative goals and seeing tangible results can boost self-esteem and self-confidence. It provides a sense of mastery and achievement, leading to a more positive self-image. Finding a supportive community where it feels safe to share is an important first step whether that is a local group or class or an online community like our Sacred Circles membership.
Improved problem-solving skills:
Creativity involves thinking outside the box and finding unique solutions. Regular engagement in creative activities can enhance problem-solving skills and foster a flexible and open-minded mindset. It encourages experimentation, adaptability, and the ability to see multiple perspectives, which can be beneficial in various aspects of life. A fun idea might be taking a class on iPhone photography to take better photos with your phone. I don’t know about you but I am always taking pictures out on my morning walks.
Mindfulness and relaxation:
This and the first one are my two favorites are on this list. Many creative practices, such as drawing, painting, or playing a musical instrument, require focused attention and present-moment awareness. Which is why I often recommend coloring books like this digital one created by my son Conner as a way to get started. Mindful coloring can induce a sense of flow, where individuals are fully absorbed in the creative process, letting go of worries and distractions. This immersion in the present can be meditative and provide a break from the demands of daily life.
What are you already doing as a form of creative expression or what would you like to try?
Think about what you loved to do as kid that you might like to bring back into your life. Making time for consistent creative expression is beneficial at any age and stage of life but it’s especially useful as a tool for navigating the messy midlife years when it seems like everything around you is changing.