Being creative/constructive with my hands has been one of my most useful sources of coping through life's challenges. Useful in it helps to reset my mind.
Writing, painting, knitting, designing home and garden renovations with my spouse, and constructing faux stained glass gets my focus off the challenge in my real intrinsic and extrinsic world, and narrows my thoughts to how I'm going to articulate my point, blend the colors, design a piece/garden that meshes with our home or measure the led lines perfectly.
Another draw I find to being creative is that there is a definite end. Being in a closed adoption I do not know if I will ever have an end to not knowing my child is truly safe, happy, and loved. I am intentionally prayerful for her mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, physical, and relational health, but I do not have tangible evidence that she is authentically well. Yes, when she is 18 she can search for me with her adoptive parent's permission--21 without--but I am not guaranteed that she will want to find me, let alone have a relationship with me. I am not guaranteed an end. And so, having a tangible end to a creative piece is a helpful self-care tool I have found to recenter my peace of mind from the 'I may never' to 'I may'. Endings are possible and seeing them play out before my eyes is reassuring. (Painting: Autumn Respite, 2016, Jennifer Mae.)
Sometimes creativity is not a distraction but an expression. When I first placed my daughter for adoption my creativity helped me express the deep sorrow of the loss of my daughter and parenting her. That time in my life was solely focused on loss and sorrow and that was reflected in the melancholy of my creativity. As the years have rushed forward I do not express melancholy quite as often. But this creative expression is usually pulled out on my daughter's birthday, as this is an especially emotionally difficult day.
For those who find a calming peace in creativity, I would love to see your handy (heart-y) work. And for those who do not find peace in creativity, I would love to hear what healthy coping mechanisms you have found to work best for you. Maybe a birth mom reading the comments would find your regimen helpful in her healing.