How to cope with midlife crisis?
Due to medical advancement, the lifespan of human has been increased. Middle adulthood is redefined and people around age 40 to 65 are at middle age. In this stage of life, ones’ children attain adulthood and ones may also become grandparents. People started to realize their lives are limited and started to think what to do for the rest of their lives. For those with work engagement, they are starting to contemplate about how to make a real difference to others by giving and teaching. Relationships for people in this age group are also reconsidered, as people may start to feel bored or think that their relationships are going stale gradually. How do people in midlife cope with their crisis and cope with these issues?
Given the various roles and increase in responsibility in midlife, people in middle adulthood are facing enormous stress in their lives. These stress and tension may be related to job loss, lack of career advancement, health concerns, death of parents or empty-nest syndrome. At the beginning of the crisis, a person may deny one is facing a crisis and tend to escape from reality or to struggle to return to the past equilibrium. When one’s attempt to escape or fight against the crisis failed, one started to feel depressed and trapped for the current situations. During the depressive stage, people may start to withdraw socially or withdraw form life totally. People may also feel anxious for facing the uncertainty when being confronted with the uncertainty due to sudden and unexpected change in their lives. It is only when one started to accept the fact that one is facing a midlife crisis, to reflect upon their current situations, to develop coping strategies to facilitate changes, one can overcome different issues occurred in middle adulthood.
To cope with midlife crisis, those in the middle adulthood could refocus their attention back to themselves after solving the crisis at hand. For instance, a man could start a journey of self-discovery and self-exploration after recovery from a serious illness in middle age. A person could start to practice mindfulness meditation or undergoing analytical psychotherapy for turning the focus inward and reconnect with one inner self. By doing this, a person may start to understand one true self better and can contemplate how to make the most out of the rest of one’s life. Apart from reconnect with oneself, a person may also reconnect with loved ones and others to develop meaningful relationship for support and companionship in the face of the challenges in middle adulthood. For those who had reflected that one did not live a balanced and healthy life in the first half of their lives, they may consider develop a healthy eating and exercising habits. It may also be beneficial if one seeks help from a coach to set some achievable goals for one’s healthy lifestyle.
In fact, the life structure of people in middle adulthood become very diverse given the greater diversity of identity-defining roles and values among people in different backgrounds. For instance, a woman may not only be a mother and a grandmother, but at the same time, a daughter and a granddaughter. She may also have the opportunity to reenter into the university to study in a Master program and reconsider to start a career in midlife. Another man may retire early at age 50 and start to engage in art creation as his second career. At the same time, he may also teach the younger generation about his management knowledge in the university as a part-time professor apart from being a beginner artist. For those who still have the energy and resources, their possibility in life seems to be “age irrelevant”. As a result, people in middle adulthood can be brave to think out of the box when planning for their second half of their lives.
Middle adulthood is a time of transition from achieving and striving for success to refocusing on our own inner self. It is a time for integration of our different identity elements and using our freedom to explore our own needs. It is a time for us to increase introspection and reflection so that we can face our mortality with healthy perspectives and meaningful engagement.