When you think of the term “mid-life crisis”, are you reminded of cartoonish clichés involving convertible cars, tons of plastic surgery, and not-so-subtle hair dye? A person’s middle years may indeed include a certain sense of longing, or nostalgia, for his or her “younger” or “better” self but a true mid-life crisis has more to do with who one is than it does physical looks or the image projected to others.
There are a number of other significant events that can coincide with mid-life, adding to its overwhelming feeling of change and uncertainty: empty nest syndrome, dealing with aging/dying parents, age-related health challenges, loss of job security and/or retirement, menopause, and andropause. It’s no wonder it’s called a crisis!
If you’re stuck in the middle, so to speak, and feeling out of sorts, here are some tips to help you cope:
- Talk to someone – whether it’s an Insights therapist, family member, or friend, don’t go it alone. Staying connected, processing feelings, and asking others who have “been there” for guidance are key factors in feeling less overwhelmed during this transitional change.
- Spend some time thinking about what your goals were at age thirty, forty, and beyond: How have those goals changed? Do they still reflect who you are today? If not, write down three to five new goals for the next five years and some ideas regarding how you will accomplish those goals.
- Challenge yourself: Learn a new language, take on a new skill or deepen one you already have (painting, sewing, cooking, golf, etc.), find five unique things every day for which you are thankful.
- Reframe the way you think about aging by finding older role models who are still very active and vibrant. Many people joke these days about 60 being the new 40, etc. but there is wisdom in that way of thinking—we’re living a lot longer now and are fortunate to have many scientific/health advances in our favor. Age really is just a number.
- Find ways to keep your body feeling good such as regular exercise, healthy eating, quality sleep, meditation, massage, and spending time outdoors.