TODAY: Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

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I recently went through a painful breakup with my boyfriend of five years. It was the longest relationship I’ve ever had and extremely heartbreaking to let go of and accept its end. Coming away from the relationship feeling more heartbroken and emotionally wounded than I’ve ever felt before has prompted me to really commit myself to the process of healing. I know that I don’t want to stay living in my past, thinking about “what might have been”. I want to accept all that’s happened, reflect on the lessons I’ve learned and look forward to the future. I want to heal my heart so that it can reopen fully to new relationships and discover deeper connections with others.

One of the first things I did after the shock of the breakup wore off was go to my local bookstore and pick up a copy of the book, How to Survive the Loss of a Love. I stared at the relationship self help aisle for a long time, overwhelmed by the amount of weird relationship books. I flipped through books like The Breakup Bible and others but decided I wasn’t really interested in reading stories about other people’s horrendous breakups. What I wanted was some simple words of encouragement and a flexible guide to help me through the healing process. Originally published back in 1976, How to Survive the Loss of a Love walks you through the stages of recovery from a loss which are: survival (shock/denial/numbness), healing (fear/anger/depression) and growth (understanding/acceptance/ moving on), and then goes through a sort of checklist with suggestions, reassurances, and resources.

Now that I’m in the healing stage of recovery, I’m learning more and more about what it actually means to heal. For me, it means giving myself time to mourn the loss. My instinct is to push away any feelings of sadness, pain, and anger. But pushing those emotions away for me means holding them in and I’ve learned the hard way what can happen to your body over time if you hold that kind of negativity inside. So instead I’m trying to be with my pain now. To really feel it and allow it to pass through me and be released rather than compartmentalized and ignored.

Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

Being with my pain now has also made me learn to experience the loss differently. At first feeling the fear, anger, desolation and pain would completely overtake me and become too overwhelming to experience. So I’ve learned how to mentally step out of my feelings and simply be with them like I would a close friend, allowing the tears and emotions to flow but focusing on my body and breathing, and telling myself, “You’re OK”, “Everything is going to be OK”.

The ability to self soothe is an extremely valuable skill to have especially when recovering from a loss. Only you can heal yourself and knowing that you have the ability to calm and comfort yourself without having to rely on others is extremely important. You might find your friends and family becoming impatient with your healing process, so it’s important to be able to soothe yourself and stay on track in your healing process without relying on help from others.

Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

There are lots of ways you can self soothe when healing from a loss. Here are some of my favorite creative activities that help to ground me, calm my nerves, and relax:

DIY: Watercolor Affirmation Cards #tutorial

Affirm Yourself.

Combating negative self-talk is so important when healing. We all have moments of feeling unloved, unloveable, fearing that we’ll forever be alone, and the pain will never end. Whenever negative thoughts like that start to creep in I make sure to acknowledge them and then counter them by telling myself, “I am loved and lovable”, “I will recover and things will get better”, “I will find new love”. Make your own cute affirmation cards to carry in your wallet or purse and post in little places around your home and workspace to remind you to think positively.

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Art Journaling.

Express your feelings through Art Journaling or try Soul Collage. Art journaling has been a favorite activity of mine since high school. These days I turn to my art journal whenever I feel like I need to reconnect with my true self. Allowing my intuition to cut, paste, paint, draw, and write helps me to process my emotions and release them into the pages. When working in my art journal I try not to judge or worry about what my finished pages will look like. The focus for me has always been on  the process so instead I draw my attention to color and shape, to my paint or scissors and let my intuition guide me.

Creative Ways To Heal A Broken Heart

Coloring Books.

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now and studies have even shown that coloring is like a form of meditation. So play some soothing tunes, get out your box of markers and colored pencils and spend an evening coloring (and sipping a glass of wine).

Cleanse your space.

Clearing out my closet and sorting through and getting rid of stuff was one of the first things I did after my breakup. I rearranged my entire living room and redecorated my bedroom so that my space felt like the “new me”. I also recommend smudging your space to help get rid of any lingering negative energies that might be stagnant in your house. If you’re curious to know more about the art of smudging, check out this article I wrote for Molly Muriel.

DIY: Jersey Macrame Hanging Planter #craft #home #decor

Get a new houseplant.

After I finished cleansing my space, I shopped for a few new houseplants to give my home some fresh energy. Being close to nature is extremely cathartic for the body, mind and spirit. Bringing nature into your home is an easy way to get creative too with decorative planters and arrangements. Check out a few things I’ve made recently like a Macrame Plant Hanger and Mini Crystal + Succulent Garden.

DIY: Culinary Herb Wreath

Start an herb garden.

Herb gardening is another new hobby of mine and I love that it can be done both indoors and outdoors. Not only has watering and caring for my herb garden become a relaxing part of my daily routine, I also have have fun finding creative ways to harvest the herbs both in the kitchen and in the craft studio. A few of my most recent projects were making an Herb Wreath and also a batch of Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar

DIY: Mini Crystal Succulent Garden

Crystal Healing.

This might sound a little too woo-woo for some of you, but I’ve found having a few healing stones and crystals to be extremely soothing. Each stone has a metaphysical quality that relates to the chakras and a special vibration or resonance that gives them the ability to restore stability and balance the body’s energy systems. I recently went to my local rock shop and treated myself to a handful of crystals specifically for healing the heart chakra. I like to choose one stone to carry with me and draw my attention to it throughout the day. You can also place a few stones near your bed or even under your pillow when you go to sleep at night.

Use Color To Uplift Your Spirit.

Color can have a big impact on our general mood. Uplift your spirit by surrounding yourself in cheerful colors through the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the room you spend most of your time in, etc. Red, orange, yellow and pastel colors are all in the “up” spectrum of colors. Green is also a great choice because it is soothing and promotes healing and growth.

A few more suggestions:

  • Keep a journal. If you find yourself stewing in pain or anger or any sort of negative emotion, write it all down in your journal. This can help to get things out of your mind, set them in order and release them.
  • Pamper yourself. If you have a broken leg or are hospitalized, friends and family bring you flowers, send baskets of fruit, and you get to lie in bed all day reading and watching TV. In short, you are pampered. If you have a broken heart, that’s not the case. You are still expected to fulfill your obligations and show up for work with the same energy and efficiency you normally have. So what do you do when the world does not accept the fact that emotional pain not only hurts, but can be debilitating? Pamper yourself! Take a hot bath, get a massage, buy yourself a beautiful new book or magazine, treat yourself to crazy delicious chocolate fudge ice cream, buy yourself a bouquet of flowers.
  • Make plans. Sometimes there’s nothing worse than sitting at home by yourself on a Saturday night. So call up your friends and/or family. Reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with and plan to do something fun together.
  • Let yourself heal fully. If you can, don’t take on any new responsibilities. Don’t get involved in an all-consuming passionate relationship or start any big projects for a while. Let your healing process run its course. Just follow your daily routine and let yourself heal.

 

BIZ: How to get your work in stores (Pt 1)

BIZ: How to get your work in stores (Pt 1) #business #handmade #advice or first steps to get your work in stores (and make people like you.)

Our brick and mortar shop has been open less than a year, but I feel like I’ve already seen everything under the sun. The advice below is directed mainly at approaching stores for consignment placing, but many of the elements can (and should) be applied to any type of interaction. It all comes down to starting with a great relationship.

Most stores will have much of the information you need right there on their websites. Take some time to look around, find out who the owner is, what their submission policy is, and the general feel of the place. It shouldn’t take too long, but I would recommend taking notes, and maybe keeping a spreadsheet or list with notes (you can also keep track of who you talked to, when.)

BIZ: How to get your work in stores (Pt 1) #business #handmade #advice

VISIT THE STORE (THE FIRST IMPRESSION)

If you’re approaching a [local] store without visiting it first, you’re missing a big opportunity. Visiting the store gives you a chance to see the general style of goods that the store owner is drawn too, which means you can send a targeted email with photos that you know they’ll love. It also gives you a chance to size up the owner, and see if it’s someone you’d want to partner with (more on this later.) You can do all this without even talking to the shop owner, if you feel shy or if the shop is busy.

There are a few things I think everyone should do when they visit a shop they are interested in selling products at. The first and most important step…

BIZ: How to get your work in stores (Pt 1) #business #handmade #advice

Take a look around.

When you go to the store, give yourself plenty of time to look around. Pick a day when you have a babysitter, some time to kill, and maybe a friend to shop with. Really spend some time taking in the store and its goods.

It isn’t absolutely necessary to buy something, but if you have the interest and the funds, pick something out. Whatever you do, take the time to absorb the feel of the store, the kind of products it carries, what its specialty is. If you make something exactly like a product they already have, you should keep that in mind. Don’t let it stop you from talking to them, but be aware that you might have to wait a little while to have product in their store.

Don’t forget to give yourself time to get an instinct. Do you feel comfortable? Does the store seem organized? Do the people working there seem polite and happy? You will be entrusting them with your beloved goods, and with your brand’s reputation. If it seems like a fly-by-night operation, let it go for now, and apply if you feel differently later.

If you have a hard time approaching the store owner, I think that it’s fine to skip that on your first trip. Feel free to reference your trip when you contact them later.

But if you’re up to it, and the shopkeeper is free…

Talk to them.

You might not be talking to the person who makes the decision, but there’s a good chance whatever you say will make it back to them. I like it when people express interest in my store. Ask about certain items, artists, etc. Once you’ve broken the ice, and introduced yourself…

Ask about their submission and vendor policies.

“How do you find your artists?”
“What kind of things are you looking for?”
“What are your terms? Do you take goods on consignment, or buy them wholesale?”
“That all sounds amazing, how do I sign up?”
You probably know all the answers to these questions, from the research you did on their website, but it’s worth asking anyway.

Listen, and do what they say.

Most likely they have a policy of only meeting artists by appointment; which means even if you are wearing your product, you should arrange to apply the right way. This sets the best tone to your interaction. As with most things in life, if you show respect and kindness, you will probably get it right back.

Then, when you have all these details flying around in your head…

APPLY!

Check out the second part of this series for my hints at making the best impression when submitting work.