In this article, we will explore the causes, signs, and solutions to a midlife crisis in women.
As women approach middle age, they experience a significant life transition that can cause a range of physical, emotional, and psychological challenges.
This transition is often known as the “midlife crisis,” characterized by depression, loss of focus, and overall dissatisfaction with one’s life.
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What is a Midlife Crisis?
When we think of a midlife crisis, we often imagine a middle-aged man buying a red sports car, but a midlife crisis is much more than buying a flashy car.
Midlife crisis is a term used to describe a period of emotional turmoil and self-reflection that occurs in midlife.
It can affect both men and women, but women tend to experience it differently. Midlife crisis is a normal part of the aging process, and it can be a time of growth and transformation if managed effectively.
The Definition of a Midlife Crisis
According to this article, a midlife crisis is a stage of life or a period of transition in life where someone struggles with their identity and self-confidence.
Signs and Symptoms of a Midlife Crisis in Women
Symptoms of a midlife crisis vary as the midlife experience differs for everyone.
The symptoms of a midlife crisis can be brought on by biological changes, physiological changes, and lifestyle changes.
Signs of midlife crisis in a woman:
- Inner turmoil: The feeling of restlessness or boredom.
- Panic attacks + Heart Palpitations
- Mood swings + Increased irritability
- Sleeplessness or over-sleeping
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
- Loss of sex drive (erectile dysfunction in men)
- Obsessive concern about physical appearance
- Lack of concern about physical appearance
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Symptoms of Depression + Anxiety
- Low energy levels
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Lack of focus (brain fog) and Memory Loss
- Loss of interest in things once loved
- Obsessive regrets of the past and life choices
- Impulsivity + lousy decision making
The Causes of a Midlife Crisis
There are several common causes of midlife crisis in women.
Including hormonal changes, changes in family dynamics such as an empty nest or divorce, financial issues, aging and mortality, and more.
Common Causes of Midlife Crisis in Middle-aged Adults
- Hormonal changes (this is a biggy!)
- Divorce: Divorce rates climb after 50!
- Empty nest syndrome: Kids are gone, now what?
- Financial issues: Worries about retirement.
- Loss: The death of a parent, family member, or friend.
- Health Problems: Changes in Physical abilities
- The aging process: Undesirable physical changes
Hormonal changes can play a significant role in the onset of a midlife crisis in women.
As women approach menopause, their levels of estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, leading to a range of physical and emotional symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia.
These symptoms can be challenging to cope with, and they can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.
The emotional and psychological effects of hormonal changes can be significant and contribute to the onset of a midlife crisis.
Changes in Family and Relationships
As women enter middle age, they may experience family and relationship changes. Children may leave home, marriages may end, and parents may pass away.
These changes can be emotionally taxing and lead to loneliness and isolation.
Career and Financial Challenges
Women in midlife may face career and financial challenges, such as job loss, retirement, and financial insecurity.
These challenges can be overwhelming and can cause feelings of hopelessness and despair.
Aging and Mortality
As women approach middle age, they can become more aware of their mortality. This awareness can cause them to reflect on their lives and question their purpose and accomplishments.
It can also lead to anxiety and fear about the future.
Related Article: How to Age Gracefully + Look Younger!
Midlife Crises Can Become Very Serious
Midlife transitions (a midlife crisis) can be a dark time. It can lead to destructive behavior, lousy decision-making, spiraling out of control, and severe depression.
There are many instances where people feel so unhappy and out-of-sort 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-seek professional help.
Find a therapist, a pastor, a life coach, or a close friend to talk to.
Don’t try to white-knuckle your way through it alone.
Does Midlife Have to Be a Crisis?
While middle age can be a stressful time in a person’s life, but does it have to be a crisis?
I’ll go ahead and throw this out there and see where it lands.
Maybe we can make a choice. We can view this time in our lives as an opportunity for personal growth, not 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!
Midlife Crisis In Women: Signs, Causes, and Solutions
Now that we’ve covered the causes of midlife crisis in women and the signs and symptoms you may be experiencing as a middle-aged woman take heart!
I’ve got good news!
While a woman’s midlife crisis can be a stressful time, there are solutions!
From making small tweaks to more dramatic life changes, a female midlife crisis can be a turning point! A time to reinvent yourself and create the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Now is the time. Seize the day.
The best way to start any journey is by making the first step. Start by making small tweaks and work to make more drastic changes if necessary.
I’m starting with what will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
1. Get Your Hormones In Balance.
Middle-aged women typically experience midlife crisis symptoms when they experience hormonal imbalances caused by perimenopause and menopause.
Perimenopause is the transitional period before menopause.
During perimenopause, levels of estrogen start to decrease. As Estrogen decreases, it throws off progesterone levels as well.
You may begin having menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, and a significant change in periods.
Perimenopause begins about eight to 10 years before menopause. It usually starts in your mid-40s, but it can begin earlier. (source)
Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility in women. It marks the natural limit of a woman’s reproductive years and typically occurs between 45 and 55.
During menopause, hormone levels decline significantly, which can lead to physical changes such as hot flashes, night sweats, and weight gain.
Additionally, there can be psychological changes such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
Symptoms of perimenopause and menopause!
- vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- weight gain
- depression and anxiety
- low sex-drive
- loss of fertility
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.
Related article: BHRT: Bioidentical hormones (my story)
My hormones and thyroid were out of whack, and my adrenal function and cortisol levels were in the tank.
No wonder I was miserable.
I got some hormones (BRHT pelleting) and thyroid meds and added essential vitamins and supplements I was missing.
Within two months, I felt like a completely different human being!
You may deal with similar issues if you are a midlife woman over 40.
Never underestimate the power of hormones. Let me say that again for those of you in the back. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF HORMONES.
2. Make Self-care a Priority.
Self-Care is a buzzword these days.
But, by definition, Self-care is the practice of actively protecting one’s well-being, health, and happiness! LOVE IT!
Midlife is the perfect time to start taking better care of yourself.
Put on Your Oxygen Mask!
It’s the whole oxygen mask on an airplane thing. You’ve got to help yourself first before you can be of any help to anyone else.
Practical Ways to Practice Self-Care
- Learn to meditate. Practice Mindfulness.
- Take long walks, enjoy sunsets, etc.
- Do what you love as much as possible.
- Take mornings slow. Enjoy the time set aside for you.
- Start a gratitude journal. Gratitude is everything.
- Update your skincare routine. It needs to happen.
- Work on Sleep Hygiene. Good Sleep makes all the difference!
- Move your body. Find a way to exercise that you enjoy
- Eat well. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Take Vitamins and Supplements for your age range.
- Spend quality time with friends and family members.
- Take breaks from social media.
Related article: The self-care alphabet: Self-care 26 ways
3. Simplify Your Life with Big and Small steps
Simplifying your lifestyle can be a powerful way to take control of a midlife crisis in women.
This can mean decluttering your home, saying no more often, reducing financial stress, or downsizing your home.
Simplifying your lifestyle can make more room for things that bring joy and fulfillment, such as pursuing new hobbies and interests.
Here are some steps to simplify your lifestyle:
Declutter: Start by decluttering your home and removing items that no longer serve a purpose. This can help create a sense of calm and organization.
Say no: Learn to say no to commitments and activities that do not align with your values and priorities. This can help reduce stress and free up time for what truly matters.
Don’t over-commit your time: Be mindful of your schedule and avoid over-committing your time. Prioritize self-care and make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Simplify your finances: Reduce financial stress by simplifying your finances. Consider consolidating accounts, automating payments, and reducing unnecessary expenses.
Downsize your home: Moving to a smaller home can reduce financial stress and provide a sense of freedom and simplicity. And, moving to a new community may just be what the doctor ordered!
Related article: How to Reinvent Yourself at 50!
4. Let Yourself Dream
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 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.
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, would love to have, 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!
Related article: How to Make a Vision Board for the New Year!
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 goals, wishes, and desires to pour on the page.
Once you’ve sorted your dreams, you can develop an action plan!
More Midlife Articles:
5. Set goals. Take action.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Breaking down a dream or goal into bite-sized pieces or action steps is helpful.
–Start a bullet list of goals + action 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 life everything you’ve got!
6. Do Your Best & Don’t Half-ass It!
One of my favorite life values is always doing our best. No matter what. Some days our best is outstanding and goes well beyond the status quo; other days, we fall on our faces.
The idea of success or failure is not the point.
The point is to give 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?
7. Get Your Affairs in Order
Now is the time to finish everything you’ve been putting off! It will feel so damn good and give you a sense of accomplishment.
Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
Contact A Lawyer
It’s high time to have a living trust 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 are already 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.
Get Your 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 must also get one of those fancy driver’s licenses!
Talk to a Financial adviser.
Whatever your financial situation, you must know where you stand and your options. (knowledge=power)
Make health appointments.
Make those medical and dental appointments that you’ve been putting off. You know, the ones.
- Dental appointment (every six months)
- See the dermatologist (if it grows, it goes!)
- Have an annual mammogram and check your breasts monthly
- See your primary care doctor: Get a yearly physical and have your labs checked
- Have your eyes checked and update your glasses prescription
- 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.
Having a sense of order and security brings a feeling of safety. And feeling safe can do alot for those fears that keep you up in the middle of the night.
8. Seek Professional Guidance
Seeking professional guidance during a midlife crisis can be an essential step toward managing symptoms and finding clarity and purpose.
Mental health professionals, such as therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists, can provide an objective perspective and help women explore their thoughts, feelings, and goals in a safe and supportive environment.
Seeing a clinical psychologist can also provide practical strategies for managing stress and anxiety and offer guidance on navigating major life transitions.
Therapy or counseling can also provide a space for self-exploration and personal growth as women reflect on their values, priorities, and goals.
Additionally, seeking professional guidance can help women build coping skills and resilience, valuable tools for managing future challenges. While seeking professional advice can be intimidating, it can also be a transformative and empowering experience.
There is no shame in seeking help; doing so can be essential to a happier, healthier you.
9. Build Strong Relationships
Make time to nurture your relationships and prioritize the people who bring joy and positivity to your life.
A strong support system and circle of friends are essential when navigating a midlife crisis in women.
Friends and family can provide emotional support, encouragement, and guidance during stress and uncertainty. They can also provide a sense of community and belonging, particularly important during significant life transitions.
Strong relationships with loved ones can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, a common symptom of a midlife crisis.
Friends and family can help women stay accountable to their goals and priorities and provide a sounding board for ideas and decisions.
A strong support system can also improve physical health, as studies have shown that social isolation and loneliness can negatively impact health and well-being.
Related article: How to make friends in your 50s
10. Try new things: Pursue Personal Interests and Hobbies.
Exploring new hobbies and interests outside of normal daily activities can be a fun and fulfilling way to help manage a midlife crisis in women.
Many women find that Trying something new can provide a sense of adventure and excitement and can also help women discover new talents and passions.
Whether taking up a new sport, learning a new language, or trying a new craft, there are endless possibilities for new hobbies and interests.
Pursuing these activities can also provide a sense of purpose and meaning as women engage in activities that align with their values and priorities.
Additionally, new hobbies and interests can provide opportunities for social connection and community as women meet new people with similar interests.
Here are some ideas for new hobbies that women can explore during a midlife crisis:
Take an online course: Endless online courses are available on various topics, from cooking and photography to business and technology.
Dance lessons: Dancing is a fun and social activity that provides a great workout. Whether it’s ballroom, salsa, or hip hop, dance lessons are available for all skill levels.
Gardening: Gardening is a relaxing and rewarding hobby that can also provide fresh produce and beautiful flowers. It’s a great way to connect with nature and get fresh air.
Painting or drawing: Creating art can be a therapeutic and rewarding hobby. A painting or drawing class can provide structure and guidance for those new to the craft.
Writing: Writing can be a powerful tool for self-expression and reflection. Whether journaling, creative writing, or blogging, writing can provide an outlet for creativity and personal growth.
Related Article: Hobby ideas for Women over 50+
FAQs: Midlife Crisis in Women
Q: Do women only experience midlife crisis?
No, a midlife crisis can be experienced by both men and women.
Q: How long does a midlife crisis last?
The duration of a midlife crisis can vary depending on the individual, but it typically lasts between 2 to 5 years.
Q: Can a midlife crisis be prevented?
While a midlife crisis is a natural part of the aging process, there are things you can do to manage the symptoms and promote personal growth.
Q: Is it normal to feel anxious during a midlife crisis?
Yes, it’s common to experience anxiety during a midlife crisis due to the many changes and transitions that occur during this time.
Q: Can a midlife crisis lead to positive changes?
Yes, a midlife crisis can lead to positive changes such as increased self-awareness, personal growth, and renewed purpose and meaning in life.
Q: How can I support a loved one going through a midlife crisis?
You can support a loved one going through a midlife crisis by listening to them, offering emotional support, and encouraging them to seek professional help.
Q: Can a midlife crisis impact physical health?
Yes, a midlife crisis can impact physical health due to the stress and emotional turmoil accompanying this period. It’s important to prioritize self-care and seek medical attention if you experience physical symptoms.
Q: What are some common challenges women face during a midlife crisis?
Some common challenges women face during a midlife crisis include hormonal changes, changes in family and relationships, career and financial challenges, and aging and mortality.
Q: Is a midlife crisis the same as a midlife “awakening”?
No, midlife crisis and midlife “awakening” are different. While a midlife crisis is characterized by confusion, loss, and dissatisfaction with one’s life, midlife “awakening” is characterized by personal growth, renewed purpose, and a more profound sense of meaning and fulfillment.
Q: Can a midlife crisis be a positive experience?
Yes, a midlife crisis can be a positive experience if managed effectively. It can be a time of growth, transformation, and renewed purpose if you approach it with an open mind and a willingness to explore new possibilities.
Conclusion: Midlife Crisis in Women
A midlife crisis in women is a normal part of the aging process and can be a challenging time as women navigate physical, emotional, and psychological changes.
Understanding the causes and signs of a midlife crisis is essential to managing its symptoms and promoting personal growth and fulfillment.
Getting hormones in check, seeking professional help, pursuing personal interests, and focusing on the positive aspects of life are all practical solutions to managing a midlife crisis.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a midlife crisis, know that you are not alone, and resources are available to help you navigate this transition gracefully and purposefully.
The Bottom Line: Life is hard
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, the next, and so on.
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.
I hope this article has been informative and helpful.
I welcome your thoughts and feedback, so please comment below to share your experiences or ask any questions about a midlife crisis in women.
You’ve got this!