There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the idea of a midlife crisis. Maybe it’s a myth. Maybe it comes in so many different variations that it’s hard to describe.
Still, many adults go through a stage where they feel washed up or question the meaning of their lives. They may follow the old stereotype of buying a sports car or join the newer trend of excessive exercise.
Whether you visit a Jaguar dealership or a gym, the reaction often has more to do with specific events than with age. You’ll usually find some trigger such as divorce or the death of a parent.
Plus, with the average lifespan growing longer, you could experience quarterly upheavals.
Fortunately, these transitions offer positive opportunities as well as dilemmas. Learn what to do when you or your spouse are going through a midlife crisis.
Coping with Your Midlife Crisis:
1. Think before acting. Slow down if you’re tempted to quit your job or have an affair. You may want to make radical changes in your life but consider the consequences first to avoid losing the things you value.
2. Set new goals. Give yourself something to look forward to. Plan an encore career or do more volunteer work in your community. Move to another city or go back to school.
3. Shape up. A healthy lifestyle can lower your risk for many diseases associated with aging. Design a balanced program including training for cardio fitness, strength, flexibility, and balance. Choose activities that are appropriate for your age and ability.
4. Assess your priorities. Have your children left home? Are you tired of shopping sprees and office politics? Reflect on what having a meaningful life means to you now.
5. Stay engaged. If you’re feeling bored, remember that anything can be interesting if you pay more attention to it. Put energy and enthusiasm into your activities. Stay connected with family and friends.
6. See your doctor. Hormonal changes and other physical aspects of aging can affect your thoughts and emotions. Ask your doctor if there could be any medical cause for your situation.
7. Talk it over. Reach out for support when you’re struggling. Let your family and friends know how they can help.
Coping with Your Spouse’s Midlife Crisis:
1. Focus on yourself. If your significant other is going through a midlife crisis, it affects you too. While you’re looking out for them, be sure to take care of your own needs and those of your children. Set reasonable boundaries and stick to them.
2. Offer validation. You may disagree with some of your spouse’s new choices, but you can try to understand their feelings. Listen to their position and show them that you care.
3. Be patient. Relationships have ups and downs. Remember what you love about each other while you’re going through a rough period.
4. Have fun. When was the last time you and your spouse took time out to enjoy each other’s company? Cook your favorite dinner together and eat it outside on the patio. Take up a hobby you can do together such as kayaking or playing tennis.
5. Consider counseling. If you think you need more assistance, consult a professional therapist who specializes in relationships and aging. If your spouse is unwilling to try couples counseling, go on your own.
You can emerge from a midlife crisis with more wisdom and enthusiasm for the years ahead. Protect your quality of life by taking care of your health, cultivating close relationships, and setting inspiring goals.