It is said that if you live long enough, you’ll eventually hit middle age. Once they hit that mark, many people begin to look around at their life and notice what is working and what isn’t. Unfortunately, some people notice much of their life isn’t working, at least not in the way they thought it would, and a crisis strikes.
What’s Really Going on in a Midlife Crisis?
For many of us, middle age is the first time in our lives that we pause for a moment to reflect. Birth, in a way, is like a slingshot, catapulting us into life at a significant speed. That momentum never slows as we gain an education, make friends, choose a career, commit to a significant other, have children, raise them as best we can, and plan for our retirement.
Eventually the pace of life begins to slow and we find we have more time to take stock of our lives; of what we’ve become and where we seem to be headed. And what do many of us find at this juncture?
We find we’ve been so busy earning a good living, keeping up with the Joneses (whoever they are), and pleasing everyone around us, that we haven’t always made decisions based on our own self-interests. In other words, we find ourselves lost and unable to recognize our lives as anything that we once imagined.
4 Ways to Cope with a Midlife Crisis
It’s important to understand that in this situation, the word “crisis” is a bit dramatic. Midlife crises aren’t traumas; they are instead wakeup calls that alert us to the fact we need to start taking better care of our minds, hearts and bodies.
With this in mind, here are four ways you can cope with your own midlife wakeup call.
As I mentioned, midlife is generally when many of us finally begin to slow down. While this slowing can lead to mental and emotional insights, it can also lead to aches and pains. In other words, slow your pace of life but not your physical activity. Now is the time to become even more active. If you haven’t been exercising, start now. Take up a new sporting activity, try exercise classes, go hiking. Keeping your body limber and pain-free will help you stay positive.
Embrace Your Creative Side
Everyone has a creative side. That’s what life is, one big creative project. But many of us completely ignore our creative impulses either because of a lack of time or a belief that we’re “not talented enough. Nurturing your creativity is one of the best ways to re-energize yourself.
Do something to feed your creativity. Write in a journal. Learn how to paint. Take piano lessons. Not only will this bring you joy, learning something new keeps your brain young and active and fends off dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Make Some Changes
Midlife is an opportunity to make some changes you’ve been wanting to make. A change could be a simple as finally painting a room in your house, to getting your teeth whitened or planting a vegetable garden, or committing to regularly spend time nurturing your spiritual life. Start making choices that will invigorate you wholistically.
Hang Out with Like-Minded People
Social interaction is key to a happy and healthy life. But many of us spend the majority of our adult lives around people we don’t have very much in common with: namely coworkers. Now is the time to surround yourself with those people who support and nourish you, and share common passions and interests. These should be people whom you may also be a blessing to and nourish. A midlife crisis doesn’t have to be a crisis at all but a chance for you to take control and make different choices in your life.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a midlife crisis and is interested in exploring counseling, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.