Divorce, an empty nest, and the realization that you’re not getting any younger are all common reasons for the dreaded midlife crisis. Despite our concerns about the future, it pays to stay positive so that you can emerge into your “mature” years ready to move forward without being stuck in the past.
What Is a Midlife Crisis?
A midlife crisis is really the panic that you feel when you realize that you’re at what you perceive to be the midpoint in your life. You may feel as though you’ve reached your pinnacle, and the rest of your years are downhill. You might be experiencing a midlife crisis if you feel hopeless, irritable, experience a change in sleeping habits, disconnect with your social group or feel bored with your life in general.
For many, and especially women, a midlife crisis might be triggered by natural lifestyle changes, such as the kids going off to college and no longer having anyone to care for. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can also help you fight back.
Dr. Stacy Reuille-Dupont has previously discussed habits to cut out for a better life. One of these is neglecting your own needs. Consider using your children’s newfound independence as an opportunity to take care of you. You might, for example, start exercising more often or purge the kitchen of frozen pizza bites and potato chips, and learn to cook and eat healthier foods. Prevention explains that your diet should change after 40 anyway. You could also spend more time traveling or simply wake up each morning to meditation instead of a cup of coffee.
There are many other ways to change your lifestyle to be more positive, even amidst a personal crisis. A few suggestions here are to learn from your negative thoughts, start all conversations on a positive note, and practice gratitude every day. You will also need to learn to accept the consequences of any actions you took during your midlife crisis, such as if you filed for divorce, spent your life savings on a sports car, or covered your body in tattoos.
While only time can help you weather a midlife crisis, it can help to seek support. Emotional overwhelm is common, and you may find that visiting a therapist can help. If you need help determining how much therapy will cost, and money is tight, look for an online therapist that offers a secure way to login on and talk. Online therapy gives the option to choose from qualified individuals from well outside of your driving range, which may give you a better chance of finding someone you are comfortable with (bonus if they offer a free consultation). Plus, it’s convenient and affordable. If you’d rather stick with somebody close by, ask about payment plans or sliding scale fees.
You can also find support in other ways, such as meet-up groups or Facebook communities of like-minded individuals. This is especially useful if you’re going through a divorce. Marriage.com explains that a social support group can help answer questions and reduce anxiety.
While a midlife crisis is a turning point, it does not have to be negative. There are many ways to stay positive, from changing how you view your circumstances to finding a listening ear online. Remember, as with all things, this too shall pass, and you may find that your midlife crisis was simply a springboard toward better things.
Dr. Stacy is on a mission to help others become balanced and brave through inspiration and motivation. Today’s post has been just one of many great resources available on the blog.