Midlife Crisis: What Is It & How To Deal With It?
As you begin to age, there comes a time when you ponder over your life’s purpose. Some people might even reflect on their regrets and unfinished desires but the feelings of dread can still linger. This can be tagged as having a “midlife crisis”.
Midlife crisis, as the term suggests, occurs in adults in their midlife i.e., between ages 40-60. Dealing with a midlife crisis means that you are going through some tough times and are confused about the purpose of your life.
This confusion can be a bit overwhelming because you may reflect that you studied hard, married the love of your life, had wonderful kids, and had a successful career but then you’re hit with an urge to transform your life and this can make you ditch your responsibilities. Confusing, I know.
This phase of life can cause you to take some outrageous decisions such as quitting your good-paying job, divorcing or separating from your partner, changing your lifestyle to feel “young” once again, etc. Knowing and realizing that your life is half over can be followed by depression for some people whereas others may choose to begin a new journey from this point onward.
Because midlife crises can look and feel different to each individual, there is no definitive answer or manner in which one can explain its nature. However, I’ve managed to explain the midlife crisis in this blog. Give it a read and share your thoughts!
What Is Midlife Crisis?
Midlife Crisis is not a diagnosable disorder or an official term in the DSM-5 and neither does it describe a particular age that a midlife crisis can strike someone. Even if you wish to know an age range, a midlife crisis could hit someone between 38 to 50 years, give or take.
Usually, a major life event is a reason that a crisis hits someone. For example, children have moved to other cities leaving an empty nest behind or the demise of both parents.
It is interesting to know that the term “Midlife Crisis” gained its popularity in the 1980s and occurred commonly among males and females.
However, both genders deal with the crisis differently. For instance, men wish to show their worth or prove something to the world whereas women like to self-evaluate and self-reflect on their career and relationship as a spouse or mother.
What Are The Signs Of A Midlife Crisis?
A midlife crisis can be related to changes in behavior, says American Psychological Association. Some signs that you or your loved one may be dealing with a midlife crisis can include:
- Avoiding personal hygiene
- Sudden gain or loss of weight
- Changing moods like increased anger, sadness, and anxiety to irritation.
- Withdrawal from relationships and family members
- Change in the sleep cycle
These are some of the visible signs of midlife crises. Other, more subtle, or hidden signs that someone is dealing with a midlife crisis can be:
- You like to talk and debate about everything but do not take action to make things happen.
- You have no goal for now and life is simply running on autopilot.
- Your purpose in life and career is certainly not clear.
- Life seems stagnant and everything you have built by now seems worthless.
- You might be feeling jealous of others’ success.
- You have enough success but there is no sign of satisfaction.
The Stages Of Midlife Crisis
Psychology experts believe that a midlife crisis is more likely a myth than anything more substantial. So this lack of belief, you can’t find many evidence-based studies or signs.
However, we can’t ignore a midlife crisis. Certain factors such as age-related stress, emotional disorders, or any traumatic event later in the years can be triggers of a midlife crisis.
When dealing with a midlife crisis, you need to keep in mind the three stages that eventually everyone in a midlife crisis goes through;
- The Trigger: The stressor or the event that causes severe distress or overwhelming emotions to rise.
- The Crisis Period: This is where you go through a list of self-doubts, and values, and go through an identity crisis.
- The Resolution: Here, when the crisis usually meets its end and you begin to accept your reality and even welcome the new chapter of your life.
Other common factors that trigger midlife crisis can include:
- Significant weight gain
- Poor physical health
- Waning sexual health
- Relationship changes
- Memory loss
- Loss of financial security
- Family problems
- Significant career changes
How To Deal With A Midlife Crisis?
It is not that midlife crisis always comes with negative consequences, it is an opportunity for many people to grow from a new perspective. As soon as you identify your situation, you get the ultimate power to deal with the issue. Here are some ways to help you overcome a midlife crisis.
1. Make Your Life Meaningful Once Again
Take the midlife crisis as an opportunity to grow once again and renew your perspective of life. Now we know that it sounds very objective but let us help you in making things clear. The aspects that you can pick:
2. Make health better again:
It is time to change your dietary patterns and begin with the new exercises. Join swimming, tennis classes, or any other physical activity to bring newness and grow a new skill.
3. Form new relationships:
Join a club or reunite with friends who are encouraging enough to keep you going in life. Learn a new skill together and enrich yourself.
4. Focus on spiritual wellness:
Spiritual wellness is gained with a sense of calm and it comes through various means like focus exercise, meditation, and yoga. You can even focus on the goodness and learnings of your religion or faith you follow.
5. Give a boost to your career:
Even though you might have achieved heights in your career, you can still aim at new plans and long-term growth goals. If nothing else, you can join one of many online courses and work on gaining a new professional skill.
6. Focus on self-care:
Men and women, both need to give themselves a boost of self-care. Children are grown but it’s time to take some “me time” or spend some romantic time with your partner.
7. Break Off The Limits
Life could have been very fortunate or unfortunate by now. Regardless, realize that there is just one life. And you can enjoy breaking off all the limits that bother you. Bring in some more positivity and let it sink in for the rest of your life. Do something extraordinary so that this midlife crisis never bothers you again.
8. Find A Counselor
There is no harm in consulting an unbiased counselor about how to steer your life in a new direction. A counselor or even a life coach can understand the issues you are going through, find the reasons behind them, and help you with finding solutions as per your wishes.
Connect with a counselor or a life coach soon and don’t suffer all alone, because you aren’t alone in dealing with a midlife crisis.
How To Help A Loved One Dealing With A Midlife Crisis?
If your loved one is dealing with a midlife crisis, here’s how you can be supportive:
- Validate Their Feelings
Even if you can’t relate to their feelings, there’s no harm in validating theirs. Not feeling the same does not mean they don’t feel them or they’re not real. Ask questions when you want answers but accept that they are feeling lost.
- Don’t Give Generic Advice
You should avoid giving them unsolicited advice or any general advice that they might be aware of. If they ask for your advice and support, only then provide them with your solutions. Let them come to terms with their feelings on their own.
- Check-In With Them
Even if you feel that your loved one is drifting apart, do not lose contact with them. Keep the communication open and frequently check in with them. See if they want to join your spin class or take that cooking class they’ve been wondering about. Keep the conversations light and amicable.
Dealing with a midlife crisis is easy only when you are self-energized with positive thoughts and lots of courage. There will be plenty of ups and downs, no doubt about that, but what makes you distinct is the ability to get through the midlife crisis smartly and passionately.
It’s never too late to follow your dreams while keeping in check with your reality. Try not to lose focus on what you have to pursue what could have been. Check in with yourself and your loved one. If needed, establish a support system you can lean on when you feel reality slipping away.
Again, you’re not alone in dealing with a midlife crisis. To share and learn from others’ experiences, you can join local community groups or online groups on the same.
Bonus: They way, you can meet new people and make new friends too!
Unaddressed midlife crises can turn into depression or other similar conditions. If you need professional intervention then with either group therapy, individual therapy, or even family therapy, you can find the issues addressed.
It’s OK to feel lost now and then but it’s also OK to pause and ask for directions. Your journey doesn’t have to be distressing.
I hope this blog helped you understand what midlife crisis is and how you can deal with a midlife crisis. For more, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media.
Have you experienced a midlife crisis? Share your tips and thoughts on how you dealt with it in the comments below.