If you are reading these words, you might be a woman between the ages of 40-55+. And maybe you’ve googled words like- midlife crisis, what is a midlife crisis, a midlife crisis in women, how to deal with a midlife crisis. Or, maybe you just landed here by coincidence. But I don’t really believe in coincidence, do you?
No matter how you’ve found yourself here and now, I am so glad you are here!
Let me start by saying I am not a doctor, and I don’t pretend to be one on the internet. I’m just a 58-year-old woman who has made her way through a sh*t storm or two. And, I enjoy sharing my insight with other women in hopes it may be helpful.
Here’s the thing-No one makes it to almost 60 without learning a thing or two about a thing or two. And since I’m almost 60- I’ve found out that I like to keep things real. I’ve run out of reasons to sugarcoat stuff.
Fair warning moving forward, there’s a real good chance that I may sprinkle a bit of tough love throughout this article, AND the odds are high that I will drop a truth bomb or two along the way.
I love me a good truth bomb. Don’t you?!
OK! If your in- buckle up, and let’s get going!
Midlife crisis in women + how to deal with it:
What is a midlife crisis? Or what is a midlife crises?
While doing some research, I found out that “midlife crisis” is not an official diagnosis. Without a precise diagnosis, it’s challenging to find a firm definition. In addition, a midlife crisis can look different for everyone.
Midlife crisis is a time of transistion
A midlife crisis can be a transition time of questioning one’s authentic identity and a “crisis” of self-confidence during the middle-aged years.
Midlife (whether it feels like a “crisis” or not) can be a season of revisiting the past, contemplating what lies ahead in the future, and coming to terms with the fact the second quarter of life is in full swing.
As I write, I am 58 and 1/2. That means that if this is “halftime” for me- I will live until I’m am well over 116 years old. Things that make you say HMMMM (thanks, Arsenio Hall)
A midlife crisis can become serious
On a serious note: Midlife transitions (a midlife crisis) can be a dark time. It can lead to destructive behavior, bad decision-making, spiral out of control and lead to severe depression.
There are many instances where people feel so unhappy and out-of-sorts that they make impulsive decisions and even “blow up their lives” based on their emotions during a midlife crisis.
If you find yourself struggling and perhaps even depressed-please reach out and talk to someone. Find a therapist, a pastor, or a close friend. Don’t try to white-knuckle your way through it alone.
What is the typical midlife crisis age?
While the midlife crisis age can vary, the typical period that people experience a midlife crisis is between 38-55. So that’s a pretty extensive age range if you think about it. I think I was about 53 when I started showing some minor symptoms of a midlife crisis.
What can trigger a midlife crisis?
A midlife crisis can be triggered by a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and changes in lifestyle, such as a career change or perhaps a divorce.
During the middle-aged years, crises can be made more difficult by conditions such as perimenopause, menopause, clinical depression, and even PTS (post-traumatic stress syndrome).
These conditions require professional guidance and perhaps medical intervention.
What are the signs and symptoms of a midlife crisis in women?
There is a laundry list of symptoms that signal you may be experiencing a midlife crisis. But, of course, symptoms vary from person to person.
Symptoms of a midlife crisis in women:
- Feeling of restlessness and /or boredom
- Panic attacks + Heart Palpatations
- Mood swings + Increased irritability
- Sleeplessness or over-sleeping
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
- Obsessive concern on physical appearance
- Lack of concern about physical appearance
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Depression + Anxiety
- Loss of energy
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Lack of focus (brain fog)
- Loss of interest in things once loved
- Obsessive regrets of the past
- Impulsivitiy + bad descison making
How can you avoid a midlife crisis?
The trick to perhaps avoiding a midlife crisis is to educate yourself about middle age. And to prepare for what may be coming your way. Preparation is the key.
In other words, midlife is the time to get your ducks in a row.
A midlife crisis doesn’t have to be a “Crisis” -does it?
This time of “crisis” doesn’t have to be a crisis unless we decide it’s a crisis. We can choose if we want to believe that attitude is everything and that life is 10% circumstance and 90% attitude and response to said circumstance.
I’m going to go ahead and throw this out there and see where it lands.
Maybe we can make a choice. We can choose to view this time in our lives as an opportunity for personal growth and not as a crisis.
Could it be that midlife doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end? But instead, a new beginning!?
It can be a time to start dreaming about what you want for your life—a time of personal enlightenment and freedom. Growing older can be a good thing!
Stay with me.
The finish line is the beginning of another race-Author unknown
You are the master of your destiny. The captain of your ship.
Life can deal a bad hand. No doubt about that. Such is life.
We cannot control what our spouses do, what our children do, and God knows, we can’t control all the nonsense going on in the world today. So many things are simply out of our control.
HOWEVER. There is so much we can control! Think about it.
We can control what we put in our mouths daily, what media we consume, whom we spend our time with, what job we have, where we live. We control if we exercise or if we don’t.
It’s called free will. And we all have it with a few exceptions. We (us, each of us) ultimately choose what we will do with this one beautiful life that we have been given!
And don’t forget about that idea I mentioned earlier. The idea is that life is 10% circumstances and 90% attitude and response to circumstances. Do you believe that? I do.
If that notion is true, then it’s also true that we get to decide. We are not just passengers along for the ride, no! We are in the driver’s seat.
The way I see it, there are two options. The first is to choose to dwell on the problems and stay stuck, allowing midlife to be a crisis-or second option; we can roll our sleeves and get busy working on some solutions!
We can double down on ourselves and make the second half of our lives the best half.
Are you still with me? Then buckle up your seat belt, and let’s ride!
Dealing with a midlife in women crisis: A women’s step-by-step guide
NUMBER ONE (1) Get your hormones balanced
It’s not lost on me that women typically experience midlife crisis symptoms around the same time they enter perimenopause and menopause.
Raise your hand if you think that’s some coincidence? No way.
Perimenopause and menopause cause a
sh*t ton boatload of problems, all of which can serve as a catalyst for a full-blown midlife crisis or mirror the symptoms of a midlife crisis.
When I hit what felt like a midlife crisis at 53 years old, I dug into the symptoms I was experiencing (hot flashes, insomnia, weight gain, migraines, low libido) and decided to get my hormones checked.
It turns out my hormones and my Thyroid were all out of whack, and my adrenal function, along with my cortisol levels, we in the tank as well. No wonder I was miserable.
I got some hormones (BRHT pelleting) and some thyroid meds and added some essential vitamins and supplements that I was missing. Within two months, I was feeling like a completely different human being!
As a midlife woman over 40-You could be dealing with similar issues.
Never underestimate the power of hormones. Let me say that again for those of you in the back. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF HORMONES.
NUMBER TWO (2) Make self-care a priority
Self-Care is a buzzword these days. But, by definition, Self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s well-being, health, and happiness! LOVE IT!
For me, self-care was something that had slipped through the cracks for years. During those “hardcore Mommy years,” -I did not make self-care a priority. Instead, I put myself on the back burner.
If I could go back I would make a self-care routine a priority
It’s the whole oxygen mask on an airplane thing. You’ve got to help yourself first so that you can help others.
No matter what season of life you’re in-Single no kids, married with kids, midlife with or without kids, or a retired empty-nester- it doesn’t matter! Self-care needs to be your priority.
You’ve got to take care of yourself first. Period. End of story.
NUMBER THREE (3) Make some changes (big and small)
Midlife is an opportunity to make some tweaks and changes!
It could be as simple as rearranging your living room and organizing all your closets and drawers (and that garage!) But, simplify, simplify, simplify.
If it doesn’t bring you joy or serve a purpose, it’s GONE!
Have you’ve been putting off making some bigger changes? Maybe it’s time for a plot twist!
Could be it’s high time to cut ties with that toxic friend? Or downsize to a smaller home? Or perhaps you need to make a complete career change?
It’s been two years since we downsized from a two-story to a one-story home. Moving is a pain, but it’s been so worth it! No more clutter weighing us down, less time dusting, and no more stairs!!!
NUMBER FOUR (4) Dream + make plans + “Don’t half-ass it”
Dream up some dreams for your life.
Do you want to travel the world? Learn how to paint? Maybe you want to learn how to play a musical instrument or to play chess? Always wanted to learn how to garden or perhaps to play tennis? You get the idea.
Have you let yourself dream? If not, it’s high time that you do.
Some practicals for dreaming dreams:
Make a vision board
Creating a vision board is a creative and fun way to put those dreams and goals front and center.
Set aside a few hours and get ready to get crafty! Pull together a poster board, old magazines, scissors, markers, stickers, and a glue stick.
Cut out pictures of things you love and would love to have or do places you want to go, etc.
Maybe it’s that white Tesla, that beautiful flower garden, and that sassy haircut- Then, add one piece at a time, creating a collage. Voilà! A one of a kind vision board!
Put it somewhere that you will see it daily. Spend time focusing on your vision board and keep dreaming!
Create a dream journal + a goal planner
Journaling about how you feel and what you want in life is powerful!
Grab a journal just for your dreams. Use your morning quiet time and allow your dreams and wishes and desires to pour out on the page.
Once you’ve got your dreams sorted, you can start to develop an action plan!
Dream big. Set goals. Take action.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It’s helpful to break down a dream or a goal into bite-sized pieces or action steps.
–Start a bullet list of goals + actions steps (Example: Goal: Set up a studio: Action Steps: Gather art supplies, buy work table and chair, find an online art class, etc.)
–Block out time for your goals on your calendar and guard the time with your life.
-Tackle action steps one step at a time, + as you cross them off your list, you will become motivated to cross off the next and the next, building momentum.
-Get closer and closer to your dream every day!
Give it your all. Do your best & whatever you do, just don’t half-a** it!
One of my favorite life values is the idea of always doing our best. No matter what. Some days our best is outstanding and goes well beyond the status quo, and other days we fall on our faces.
The idea of success or failure is not the point. The point is giving it everything you’ve got. You didn’t come this far only to come this far!
Matthew McConaughey says it better than I ever could. This quick video is worth the watch. It’s so convicting and motivating and makes perfect sense. And I love me some Matthew McConaughey, don’t you?
NUMBER FIVE (5) Do all things that you have been putting off
–Get a passport if you don’t already have one, get one! Or renew the one you’ve got! (you may need it for that trip you’ve always wanted to take!) Of course, you will also need to get one of those fancy driver’s licenses too!
-Contact a lawyer and have a will and medical directives drawn up. Of course, nobody wants to think about this stuff. But, it has to happen. It will make things easier for your loved ones who will already be grieving.
I know some people go as far as to plan their funerals. If you are into this, great-but I’m not there yet.
–Talk to a financial adviser and get your finances sorted. Whatever your financial situation, you need to know where you stand and what your options are. (knowledge=power)
-Make health appointments. Make those appointments that you’ve been putting off. You know the ones.
- Dental appointment (every six months)
- Go see the dermatologist (if it grows, it goes!)
- Have an annual mammogram and check your breasts monthly
- Get a yearly phyical and have your labs checked
- Go have your eyes checked and update your glasses precribtion
- Don’t forget your pelvic exam + Pap smear (I know…)
Getting our affairs in order puts us in a place of power and gives us a sense of security and safety. I know I like to feel safe and secure.
I promise that once you’ve checked all the things off your list, you will feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders once you’ve got your poop in a group! LOL.
Midlife can be a challenging time, espically during these uncertain times.
The bottom line is life is hard. Midlife is hard. But as Glennon Doyle says, We can do hard things!
Just remember to be kind to yourself. Take one day at a time. Put one foot in front of the other. Do the next right thing and then the next and so on.
In the end, everything will be ok, and if it’s not OK-then, it’s not the end. Keep going. Don’t quit. Believe in yourself and your dreams.
You’ve got this!