Midlife Crisis in Women
We always hear about how men have midlife crises, but what about women? Do women have them as well? Well of course we can have a midlife crisis too! Midlife is a period of increased introspection and can bring out feelings of anxiety or depression and cause a woman to search for meaning in her life. We want to feel like we’ve served a purpose and that our life has meaning. If we don’t see this during our introspection, it can definitely bring on a crisis.
Signs you’re Having a Midlife Crisis
1. You’re middle-aged, which is generally considered to start at age 40.
2. You become increasingly aware of your age. This can be brought on by changes in your appearance, medical concerns, life changes like kids leaving the family home, or by the start of menopause.
3. You increasingly feel negative about your increasing age.
4. You increasingly spend time thinking about and contemplating the meaning of your life and start searching for a purpose.
5. You feel a need to try new things and to add excitement to your life.
6. You find yourself thinking about making big changes in your life- maybe a new career, moving, changing your physical appearance, or some other similar changes.
7. Suddenly your emotions become unstable, and you feel overwhelmed, stressed and moody. You might experience depression or increasing anxiety.
8. You might start having trouble sleeping.
9. You become preoccupied with thoughts of your past and spend lots of time thinking about the experiences and dreams of your youth.
It’s Not All Bad
Mid-life crises have gotten a bad rap. When you think of one, you might get an image of a middle-aged man wearing a bad wig, buying a red sports car, having an affair with his secretary, and getting divorced. But that’s just a stereotype that’s been pushed by countless movies and doesn’t have to be your life. You are still in charge of your life and get to decide the course of your life.
Since this is a time of great introspection, it can be a time of great growth as well. You can use it to reflect on things you don’t like about your life and make changes to make your life better fit your values. You might even find that your values have shifted over time and your life being out of sync with these new values is what’s been causing your feelings of restlessness and discontent.
How to Cope with a Midlife Crisis
1. I think it’s always important to honor your feelings. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, don’t try to push those feelings away! Instead, try to understand what message your feelings are trying to tell you. You can try journaling to see if anything surfaces.
2. Feel free to try new things and stretch your horizons, but do NOT engage in any activities that are self-destructive or dangerous. For instance, avoid spending all the money in your retirement account on a new “she shed”.
3. Make sure that you keep open communication with people in your life that are important to you. Since this is a period of change for you, this may put a strain on your relationships, relationships that you may need to rely on during this stressful period.
4. Know that it won’t last forever. This is a life stage that is completely normal. You will get through to the other side.
5. Since you’re in a period of trying new things and experiences, make some of those into healthy new habits. For instance, start a new exercise program, learn to meditate, take a class to learn a new hobby, or start doing daily mindfulness exercises.
6. If you are struggling, seek some help. Counseling can help you to sort through your feelings, gain insight, or to learn ways to cope better with your feelings.
If you feel you need help with anxiety or depression treatment, please check out the link for more information. I would really like to hear from you.