How to cope with Midlife Crisis?

How to cope with Midlife Crisis?

How to cope with Midlife Crisis?

Midlife crisis is not an unpopular concept. It is a popular concept portrayed on TV shows and movies. The definition of a midlife crisis is a period of transition in life where someone struggles with their identity and self-confidence Midlife crisis doesn’t discriminate between genders. It occurs to both men and women alike. To overcome and cope with this crisis, it is important to understand the nuance behind the midlife crisis. Why does it occur? What are the signs? We will look into this below. 

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Signs of a midlife crisis are:

  • Ageing: The realisation of reaching one’s age and reflecting on your achievements and past success is a part of a midlife crisis. Furthermore, ageing parents or partners can also lead to a midlife crisis.
  • Changes: Feeling unsatisfied with your career, having your chance around you like people growing up, children moving out (empty nest syndrome), and loss of people in your life, can all trigger a midlife crisis. 
  • Changes that give you a lot of time to be free and reflect. 
  • Awareness of one’s ageing and the occurrence of physical decline.
  • Inability to make decisions/ excessive indecisiveness 
  • Feeling anxious, feelings of loss, anger and boredom. 
  • Nostalgia:  Rather than focusing on the positives of the present, you begin to idealise your past lifestyle. 

Strategies to Cope with a Midlife Crisis 

Navigating a midlife crisis can be challenging. As you begin questioning your purpose in life, your place in this world and what you and haven’t achieved, it is overwhelming to go through this period. Here are a few strategies that can help you cope with a midlife crisis and have a fresh restart

1. Acceptance 

When you take time to reflect on your thoughts and why you suddenly feel so despondent, you will be able to understand your midlife crisis and accept it. Acceptance is the first step to take to deal with a midlife crisis. As you self reflect, look back at your past, and think about all the decisions that you have made. The circumstances and experiences you faced, they were not all in your control. Your previous actions aimed to select and make decisions that were in your best interest, even though the outcomes may not have aligned with your desired results.This will help you go through the emotional experience during the crisis, as regulating them becomes important when there’s a possibility that they can cause you to irrationally think about your crisis. 

The period of acceptance also involves accepting the changes happening in your life. The period of midlife is one where you rapidly experience a lot of changes which get stressful and overwhelming. Acceptance of change comes with acknowledging that this is a time of transformation for you and this is a natural part of life. 

2. Focus on Yourself

Midlife crisis occurs at a point in your life where it’s very common that you might be facing a burn out. You might feel the stress of your career, or taking care of your ageing parents or your children. All of these things can potentially lead to stress. You might also be facing financial hardships or juggling your relationship with a partner. In times like these, it is not selfish to take some time for yourself. It might seem selfish and difficult to stop and take a deep breathe. But you need to understand that focusing on yourself becomes very important at this stage in your life. 

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To start again from the beginning, take some time to question your motives, what you have done for the past few years, and how you want to proceed further . Try understanding what you’re feeling. This might be an important step you take to deal with your midlife crisis. Activities like meditation, mindfulness and journaling can help to achieve this. Meditation and mindfulness can help you to alleviate stress and anxiety. Guided Meditations are proven to improve anxiety and feelings of depression. They will also improve your blood sugar levels and heart rate. Meditation and mindfulness is also proven to improve the quality of your sleep, relationships and enhance self-awareness. All of these benefits will in turn help you with dealing with a midlife-crisis.  

3. Keeping a Track of Your Changes in Life 

One of the prime reasons why midlife crisis is incredibly overwhelming is because it can bring in a lot of changes. These changes can be so rapid that you might not have the time to perceive it completely or have time to accept them. It’s a suggestion of many mental health professionals to try and set time to acknowledge these changes. This does not mean that you need to get stuck on your past. Becoming aware of your changes simply is a way of accepting that “yes, this is what has happened, these changes were inevitable.” It does not mean dwelling on your past. 

You can use journaling as a way to track these changes but this method is not one that is suitable for everyone. In that case, you can simply take time to reflect and think about your past experiences. A key idea that mental health professionals suggest is to be grateful for your past experiences that have been beneficial and positive for you. 

4. Delving into New Hobbies or Learning Something New

Learning something new gives you a sense of achievement. Amidst a midlife crisis, you might start questioning your achievements, your success and your accomplishments. Getting into a new hobby or learning something new will help you feel excited about something. You can take some time for yourself, learn a new skill, join a new program, or even get out of our house to enjoy activities like fishing and camping. These will give you time for yourself, and maybe help you find a new purpose in life. You might feel amazing and even feel accomplished. 

5. Spending Time with Friends and Family 

Sharing your time with others and being in the presence of those who love you can alleviate the feelings associated with a midlife crisis. Feelings of isolation and feeling despondent over your past achievements can be one of the symptoms of a midlife crisis. In times like these seeking isolation for the shame and sadness you’re experiencing, it is more important to seek out and talk to people about your emotions and thoughts. 

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6. Setting Realistic Goals to Build a Positive Future 

You can use this period of uncertainty to start afresh. To refocus your career and future goals to build a more positive future, try to use the SMART method of creating realistic goals. The SMART method refer to

S – Specific

M – Measurable 

A – Achievable

R – Relevant 

T – Time – Based 

Planning for the future also involves setting goals and an optimum financial plan. This planning will help you navigate a period of change and uncertainty of the future. Look into your long-term financial goals and assess whether these goals still align with your future motives. 

7. Health and Well-Being 

Investing in your physical and psychological Well-Being becomes important during your midlife crisis. Incorporating physical exercise and not only help you maintain your well-being but also alleviate stress and enhance mood. Cultivate a strong network of support. Self-compassion, self-care and focusing on yourself can be helpful in building your emotional resilience and maintaining mental well-being. 

8. Seeking Professional Help

Therapy can aid in lessening  the chances of behaving with impulse and leading to unintentional negative consequences (Simon & Romanoff, 2023).  Midlife crisis is not a medical condition and there are no courses of treatments specifically available for this. But many options do exist. You can seek a professional to help alleviate the emotional dysregulation, behaviour, stress and feelings of depression. Therapy can also help you deal with your impulsive and rational thoughts. 

Joining a support group and being in a company of those who are experiencing the same thing as you can also help seek advice and share your own experience. Your life might feel that it is stalled when a midlife crisis occurs, but with proper interventions, you can learn to turn this into your favour and get a new start. You don’t need this crisis to stop your life or drag you down. With simple steps taken to improve your well-being, you can easily deal with this. 

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