Midlife crisis is a normal part of maturing process usually between the ages of 40 and 60. As couples start families and their careers peak, many start feeling anxious, stressed, lonely, useless and washed up mainly by their late 30s and early 40s. Signs of midlife crisis include change of habits, desiring to quit a job, thinking about death, shifting sleep patterns, feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities.
Most experts look at a crisis in midlife as an opportunity to take action, revaluate priorities and transform lives. Every crisis is an opportunity for growth. A midlife crisis can be a transformative period marked by tremendous growth, achieving new goals or revisiting old ones. It is also about coming to terms with new life patterns and finding new meanings. For some, it might be channeling time and energy once reserved for raising children into new and fulfilling endeavours.
Many experience some form of emotional transition during that time of life. A transition that might cause them to take stock of where they are in life and make some needed adjustments to the way they live their lives. Most people come through the process smoothly without making major life changes while others find it very difficult to cope. For them it can be an uncomfortable time emotionally which can lead to depression and the need for psychotherapy.
Men and women equally experience a transition or crisis but it differs in accordance with gender makeup. Both will go through the same stages of shock, denial, depression, anger and acceptance. Anyone who goes through midlife crisis is experiencing an internal change that will have either a positive or negative outcome.
Individuals experiencing a midlife crisis have some of these feelings: search for an undefined dream or goal, a deep sense of remorse for goals not yet accomplished, fear of humiliation among more successful colleagues, desire to achieve a feeling of youthfulness, need to spend more time alone or with certain peers.
And thus exhibit the following behaviours: alcohol abuse, unnecessary acquisition of expensive items, bitterness and depression, remorse for one’s wrongs, paying special attention to physical appearance and entering relationships with younger people.
Dealing with a midlife crisis may take time and energy. However, it is important to understand that there are many coping skills that can help as well as lifestyle changes that can be adopted earlier in life. It is very important for a person to explore and share their feelings by either trusting a friend or seeing a therapist. A person in midlife needs to re-evaluate and think of what their life goals can be.
l Accepting help when it is offered can be one of the hardest things to do. We all want to handle our issues ourselves and not feel like a failure by needing help. It does not mean you are a failure. It shows wisdom.
l Accept the fact that you cannot do everything well. Now is the time to have a laser focus on what is important in your life and what is not. Over committing yourself can sap your energy and take you off track of your project plan.
l Holding on to issues and resentments of the past will only keep your arms full and unable to hold or even recognise the joys of today and keep you from a fulfilling future. Learn to let go. .
l Physical activity will relieve stress and elevate mood. Fitness is essential for mental and physical health as we age.
l You will feel better and think clearer when you eat healthy meals. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts.
l Learn to find humor as you experience challenges throughout the day. Laughter actually reduces the level of stress hormones and boosts the immune system. Make laughing an exercise. Take five minutes in the morning (the drive to work is perfect for this) and just start laughing. This little exercise will take the seriousness of life out of your system and give you a joyful attitude throughout the rest of the day. n