What comes to mind when you think of going through a midlife crisis? Most people think of dropping their life savings on a hot red sports car or suddenly quitting their job to join the circus.
The truth is, a midlife crisis looks different from person to person and it doesn’t have to be as theatrical and disastrous as pop culture would have us think.
In essence, a midlife crisis happens when our reality varies drastically from the future we envisioned for ourselves. But is that such a bad thing? Perhaps not.
Here, we’ll explore what it means to go through a midlife crisis, and how you can turn this time into an opportunity to start fresh.
What Is a Midlife Crisis?
As you approach middle age, do you look back on the past few decades fondly, feeling proud of how far you’ve come? Or does regret and longing for your younger years start to sink in?
When we reach middle age, we look back and wonder what could have been. We also worry about what the future holds. This is normal! When these regrets and worries start to take over, however, you may have a midlife crisis on your hands.
There are typically three phases to a midlife crisis (or any crisis):
Trigger: A stressor (like a death, job loss, health problem, or other major life change) causes increased concern about aging or death.
Crisis: During the crisis period, you deeply examine and doubt your current situation, your past, and your future. It’s common to feel lost or uncertain about your identity.
- Resolution: You reach a new conclusion and understanding of your life and who you are. This phase is often full of acceptance and positivity about what lies ahead.
Still, experts debate whether the “midlife crisis” as portrayed in pop culture is a real phenomenon or a myth. The mental and physical changes that most people go through during the ages of 40-60 (especially for women in menopause) are a natural catalyst for introspection and soul searching, and going through a transition during this time is considered normal.
Signs You’re Going through a Midlife Crisis
- Unhappiness and dissatisfaction with your life
- Loss of purpose and aim
- Frustration and resentment
- Boredom in your career, relationships, or overall life
- Overwhelming thoughts about death and your existence
- Fatigue or restlessness
- Lack of motivation or interest in your hobbies
- Mood swings and low libido
4 Ways to Make the Best of a Midlife Crisis
A midlife crisis can be uncomfortable (or even scary) when you’re in the thick of it. The good news is that most people feel an overwhelming sense of relief, acceptance, and purpose when they reach the other side.
Perhaps a more accurate term for the common “midlife crisis” may be “transition.” Changes are never easy. But with the right mindset and habits, you can navigate this transition with more ease—and even joy.
1. Use meditation to ask yourself deep questions.
In our younger years, we are often swayed to think and act in a certain way by our families, friends, and society’s expectations. But by now, you likely have a stronger sense of your true values, interests, and purpose. You’ve also learned many lessons along the way that will help you live this new phase of your life with more stability and empowerment.
Good things come from introspection. Use this transformative time in your life to re-evaluate your values and beliefs about yourself through the powerful practice of meditation. Along with easing the stress and anxiety of a midlife crisis, meditation also helps you connect to your inner self to inspire a better future.
2. Make time for yourself.
Feeling burned out? Exhaustion from a career, raising children, or taking care of aging parents is extremely common in middle age.
It may seem obvious, but the only way to truly combat this burnout is to devote time to yourself. During this phase, it’s important to set aside time for different types of self-care: to exercise, to spend quality time with family and friends, to practice a hobby you love, and to enjoy doing nothing at all.
3. Revisit a childhood hobby.
The activities you loved to do as a child could be the key to thriving in middle age. So often we give up our favorite childhood pastimes to make time for our more “serious” adult pursuits. But a life with all work and no play is a recipe for a midlife crisis.
Now is the perfect time to revisit old hobbies such as art, music, games, or other interests. Or, consider trying something completely new! Immersing yourself in a new skill will trigger your childlike curiosity and keep you feeling young.
4. Prioritize your health.
Perhaps a health scare spurred your midlife crisis. Or maybe you simply want to preserve your good health in old age. Either way, middle age is the perfect time to re-evaluate your health and set some new goals.
Take an honest account of your health at this time. What’s going well, and where do you need more support? How do you want to feel over the next decade? If you’re unsure, consider seeking the help of a holistic wellness practitioner for a whole-body health assessment.
Once you have a clear picture of your health goals, start with one or two achievable changes or habits. Sleep is a great place to start, since your body needs quality sleep to function optimally. If you struggle to fall sleep at night, consider using a CBD or CBG supplement to help encourage more restorative sleep.
The Silver Lining of a Midlife Crisis
When you’re on the verge of a midlife crisis, you may feel like the best years are behind you. But nothing could be further from the truth! A midlife crisis is just a beautiful opportunity in disguise. Use this transition to refresh your perspective and forge a new, healthier path for the future.