Many individuals can experience the dreaded and dramatized “midlife crisis.” Stereotypically, it’s portrayed as a time when a person feels that life isn’t turning out to be what is expected. As a result, individuals take measures to make up for lost time.
But midlife doesn’t, and shouldn’t, need to be a struggle. While every transitional stage in life has its ups and downs, victories and mishaps, midlife doesn’t need to focus only on the crisis. In fact, there are many ways you can benefit as you transition into midlife.
1. Let go of things that no longer benefit you
Our time on this earth is short, and many people, as they approach midlife, begin to realize this truth. Because of this, it is important, and beneficial to your mental health, to begin cutting things out of your life that cause you more harm than good.
This can look different for everyone, but some suggestions that might help include:
- Forgiving old grudges – Holding a grudge is exhausting. It adds stress, takes away peace and can make you feel bitter. Letting go of grudges, past frustrations and other things robbing you of mental peace can be crucial to keeping you sane and relaxed during this time.
- Kicking old, bad habits – This can be anything in your life you’ve identified as unhealthy. Maybe it’s a smoking habit; perhaps it’s ordering take-out every day. Whatever it is, take the time to identify and begin breaking bad habits.
- Leaving an unhealthy environment – Consider a workplace where you feel undervalued, though you’ve been working there for so long you haven’t really considered the possibility of anything new. Now might be the time to give yourself the freedom to step away and find something that will make you happier and enhance your quality of life.
While we can’t guarantee that eliminating stressors from your life will let you avoid a midlife crisis, it can definitely help. Minimizing stress promises to boost mental health.
2. Dive into a hobby
Another creative technique for how you can avoid a midlife crisis is by investing time and energy into a hobby. Boredom is a common player during midlife stages, and an effective method of beating boredom is through investment in a hobby.
This hobby can be virtually anything. You could take up woodworking. You could learn that instrument you’ve always wanted to play, or dust off the piano and brush up on your skills. Maybe take the time to learn another language. If you enjoy being outside, consider designing and planting a garden. Teach yourself how to paint canvases, make pottery or cook.
3. Prioritize community
Isolation can be a gateway for depression during this time, so making sure you’re investing in time with friends is important. Having people you can talk to about what’s going on in your life can offer you support, encouragement and peace.
Additionally, you might seek friendships with your adult children, with your own parents, with coworkers or with people in your community through volunteer work. Experiencing midlife is difficult, but doing so alone is even harder. Even if you’re making new friends, you’re doing the right thing in cultivating community and finding support on the hardest days.
4. Take care of your body
A midlife crisis can set in partially because of an unhealthy mental state. You can often avoid this by prioritizing your physical health.
The way you treat your body directly impacts the quality of your mental health. Habits like eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night, exercising or moving your body for 30 minutes and drinking the recommended amount of water can all positively influence your mental health.
5. Pursue your dreams
Just because you have grown older doesn’t mean anyone said you need to live out the rest of your days in boredom. Now that you’ve been on this earth for some time, you deserve to take full advantage of the goodness it provides.
Maybe your dream is to go to Europe – take the time to plan and make it happen. If you’ve always wanted to work in a retail store, do it – you’re more likely to earn respect from pursuing your passions than from staring at a computer screen all day.
Pursue professional help if necessary
Sometimes, life still feels difficult to manage. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to despair about. Many people seek professional help from counselors during this time, for valuable encouragement and guidance.
If you would like to speak to someone about your concerns regarding midlife, schedule your appointment at Silver Ridge Recovery or call (855) 945-7788.