7 Steps for Averting A Midlife Crisis
Mid-life is a time of transition. Are you feeling unsettled as your children don’t need you in the same way? Your job is boring? Are you restless to be doing something meaningful? Perhaps you are thinking about an affair, or your husband is having one. Or, you are moody, cranky, teary.
The crisis is seeing your life as it is and wanting something else.
Here are some steps for identifying the cause and moving beyond.
1. Identify the cause of your crisis
In addition to the above issues, it could be your parents are aging or have died; a close friend or sibling is ill or getting divorced. What else is different or painful now?
2. Honor your past accomplishments
If you work, have children, have friends, have a life, you have experience and achievements. Big or small, don’t dismiss them. They may be concrete, like arranging a fund raiser for your children’s school, climbing a mountain, or learning to swim when you were afraid of water. Give yourself the credit you deserve and have earned.
3. Grieve lost opportunities
Of course there are things you wish you had done, things that never happened. They can be big like not marrying or having children; they can be less consequential but still important like not going to the college of your choice, or not buying the house of your dream. Giving yourself permission to grieve it makes it easier to move on.
4. Set your own expectations for this next phase of your life
Women’s lives are guided by others’ expectations — whether or not you have been aware of it. For example, be heterosexual, get married, have children, be nice, don’t be loud. By now, you either have or have not met them. That leaves you free, now, to set your own. What you want to do with your life?
5. Prepare for other’s reactions to your changes
If your loved ones see you as the good girl or helpful wife, they may have a difficulty letting you change. Or, they may be supportive – as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them. Be prepared. They’re being unhappy doesn’t mean you have to let go of your plans.
6. Resist being pulled back
Family and close friends may be inconvenienced or scared to see you change and grow. Be firm; don’t be lured back to your old way just to lower their anxiety about what your change means for them.
7. Get support
It’s hard to step into uncharted waters without your usual support system, so find like minded women. Look for spiritual, religious, or personal growth groups. Consider a weekend retreat for Baby Boomers to help you move through this normal transition period,
Use these tips to help prepare for what you want next. It takes immense strength to change when you are in mid-life.
If you have questions or comments or want more information, contact me at:
Dr. Karen Gail Lewis
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