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Understanding and Taking Action During Midlife Crisis

Midlife crises are complicated to navigate, causing an incredibly tumultuous time as one navigates the myriad of complex feelings of depression and guilt. Even those who have accomplished much throughout their personal lives and professional careers – such as executives, CEOs, and other high-ranking professional positions – are not immune to a midlife crisis. They can even find that the difficulty balancing one's professional obligations and personal ambitions becomes the source of such intense feelings.

Experiencing a midlife crisis is exceptionally complex. However, it is possible to combat these crises and emerge with a newfound sense of fulfillment and new goals for the future. Being vigilant of the signs and symptoms of midlife crises can help each individual be more prepared to acknowledge, address, and overcome the difficulties of a midlife crisis if it surfaces.

What Is a Midlife Crisis?

A midlife crisis is a period of time in one's life that feels dictated by depression, guilt, shame, or regret, often surfacing between 40 to 60 years of age, on average. However, with the newfound stresses of the world, volatile political and social climates, economic shifts, and much more, midlife crises can set in much sooner. These feelings of depression often come coupled with a feeling of “lost time" as an individual looks back on their accomplishments and life. They may consider, unfairly, how much they “should” have done or how they could have changed their lives some 20 years in retrospect.

Depression, regret, and being incapable of changing the past can all congregate into a midlife crisis, leaving an individual at a major transition point in their perspective of identity, accomplishments, and priorities in life. This transition can be extraordinarily difficult to navigate, and one may find themselves doing whatever they can to reshape their current life into a more “ideal” version.

The Symptoms of a Midlife Crisis

While age is a factor in determining if one is suffering from a midlife crisis, there are also other symptoms to consider. Some signs of a midlife crisis can include:

  • Sense of unfulfillment or dissatisfaction with one's life

  • Attachment to nostalgia

  • A newfound sense of meaninglessness in one's job

  • Relationship complications, such as a growing distance between one's partner or courting infidelity

  • Major behavioral changes

  • Changing one's appearance

  • Thoughts of finality or death

  • Negative judgment of one's own life choices

  • Disinterest in hobbies

  • Increased impulsive behavior or decision-making

  • Pervasive feelings of regret

  • Emotional fragility and mood swings

  • Withdrawal from social life or self-isolation

  • Increased use of addictive substances or the development of addiction

These are not the only symptoms possible that one may experience as a result of a midlife crisis. However, they are common signs that one should remain vigilant of when confronting feelings of depression or regret during one's midlife years.

Coping With a Midlife Crisis

Feeling the detrimental effects of a midlife crisis is incredibly stressful, compromising much of one's happiness or sense of accomplishment. However, it is possible to overcome these trials in a safe and healthy way. While feelings of depression and regret can cause one to make self-destructive decisions, actively inviting structured change into one's life can also be a healthy way to navigate and explore one's new, developing identity.

Structuring Change

The complicated feelings brought about by a midlife crisis can tempt an individual to change their whole lives, upending their entire sense of identity to overhaul their current lifestyle. However, while such drastic change can lead to additional stresses or irrational and destructive decisions, inviting a degree of change can also be healthy.

Rather than deciding that “everything must change,” it can be incredibly helpful to embrace a creative outlet or choose what changes to begin with instead. Taking up art therapy, picking up an instrument, or embracing any other type of creative outlet can allow one's emotions and desires to take a concrete form. This can provide a better illustration of the changes one wants to make while granting a safe emotional outlet to process these desires.

Embracing Gratitude

Experiencing a midlife crisis can feel overwhelming, and one's feelings of regret or dissatisfaction can overshadow the more positive elements of one's life. Practicing gratitude by saying "thank you," giving gifts, or writing down one's gratefulness or appreciation in a journal, can all be ways of highlighting the aspects of one's life that continue to be a positive influence.

An atmosphere of negativity and pessimism can loom over an individual during a midlife crisis. Practicing gratitude can help them better understand which aspects of their lives may truly need change while injecting a feeling of thankfulness and positivity into one's life.

Avoiding Comparisons

Comparisons are the bane of fair progress and self-esteem. Avoiding comparing oneself to others in as many aspects as possible is essential to remain focused on one's personal needs and goals. Detaching from social media and reminding oneself that one's accomplishments are valid and important is crucial in relinquishing the power of others' opinions that could otherwise be a detriment in one's life.

Going through a midlife crisis is complicated, and it can feel as if one's entire world is rapidly changing around them while they stand still. However, navigating these tumultuous times is possible, and we at Chateau Recovery are prepared to help you begin to understand and overcome your unique experiences with midlife crises today.

Your time spent in our comfortable recovery facility is curated to your unique needs, with your time being wholly personalized based on your needs and goals. Between art therapy, music, writing, education, and much more – all backed with a caring staff, education, and personalized case management – we are prepared to help you address the changes you are looking to make in your life for a healthy future while instilling the skills necessary to cope with the depression or anxiety of a midlife crisis.

For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to a staff member today at (435) 222-5225.
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