Recently, an email subject line from an online expert caught my attention as it mentioned dealing with a midlife crisis.
As I read through his article, it got me thinking whether midlife crisis was something to be concerned about. It made me realise it’s something we’ve been led to believe can happen during the middle stages of our lives.
Whenever midlife crisis is mentioned, most times, it relates to a male dealing with some change in their life.
I remember once during a job interview, I was asked about my studies and what I wanted in a career. I didn’t know what I wanted out of a career at that time. The interviewer mentioned it was not uncommon for people to have two or three major career changes. That commented has always stuck with me.
What is a Midlife Crisis?
A midlife crisis usually refers to a transition a person goes through during the middle stages of their life. It typically affects people between 40-64 years of age.
It usually brings up certain emotions, which can be likened to an internal turmoil or conflict they experience. That may be triggered by certain events or the realisation they’re in the second half of their life. This often means they’re getting closer to death.
The Effects of a Midlife Crisis
If not dealt with or managed well, it can lead to:
- Low motivation for extended period of time
- Additional stress.
It can also result in rash decisions being made, which may create additional challenges later on.
Dealing with a midlife crisis well often comes down to a person’s mental and emotional health and well-being. If a person is not in a healthy state mentally or emotionally, they have a higher chance of experiencing the effects of a midlife crisis.
Signs of Midlife Crisis
Common signs of a person going through a midlife crisis may include:
- Dreading getting out of bed each day.
- Extreme boredom.
- Lacking purpose or direction.
- Feeling everything is a struggle.
- Questioning whether they’re successful or not, even though they have had success in life.
- Wanting to make big changes or major decisions that are totally out of character.
- Failing to fulfil certain obligations or responsibilities.
- Severe mood swings.
- Feelings of powerlessness, failure and jealousy resulting in depression, anxiety and overwhelm.
- Not having variety in their life arising from doing the same things over and over.
The interesting thing is these signs are not relevant only to those in the middle years of life. They can also be relevant to those in their teens or in their twenties or thirties.
We usually know when something is not quite right with us. It’s our responsibility to do something about it, otherwise it can have a significant effect on our lives.
5 Things You Can Do to Deal With a Midlife Crisis
No matter what’s going on in our lives, we are never on our own. We aren’t the only ones who is experiencing what we’re going through. There are things we can do to get back on track and make ourselves feel better again.
Here are five things that will help deal with a midlife crisis better.
- Seek professional help. We should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about getting help from a therapist, counsellor or psychologist. These trained professionals can provide relevant tools and techniques to help us deal with what we’re going through.
- Take time out. This is almost like discovering ourselves again and reconnecting to what’s most important. Things we can do include travelling or doing something we’ve always wanted to do, much like a bucket list item.
- Devote time and energy to your passions. There are things we love to do or experience and it’s about giving ourselves permission to pursue them. Our passions are things we care about deeply and that bring us a lot of joy.
- Set new meaningful goals. As we reconnect to our passions, our desires will be reignited, which means we’ll be able to set new goals. Our goals should be things that matter to us and challenge us to grow in the process of achieving them. We have to start following what we are attracted to.
- Find a community or network aligned to your passions and goals. Throughout human history, community has been one thing that has bound us together. When we’re in a community, where we can be our true selves, we experience a sense of belonging. That will help make us feel better about ourselves and life again.
It’s hard to say whether a midlife crisis can be prevented or not. There are things we can do to be in a healthy mental state and rediscover what’s important to us. Something that may work for one person may not be relevant to someone else. It’s up to us to do what we believe is best for us.
It also comes down to taking full responsibility for our lives and taking time to reflect on what’s important to us. If we experience any of the signs of a midlife crisis, a good practice is to pause and ask ourselves, “What do I want right now and why do I want it?”
Question: What advice would you give to someone who is showing signs of having a midlife crisis?
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