Are you in your 40’s or 50’s? Are you aware of feeling unsettled and restless at times? You may be questioning your life and feeling like you need a change of direction. Or, perhaps you feel as though you’ve been going through the motions for the last few years or so and feel stuck in a rut.
Mid-life crisis is perfectly understandable, when you think of all the adjustments we need to make in our lives around this age. We are often juggling a number of responsibilities from coping with teenagers at home to helping ageing parents and depending on the age of our parents, at some point taking on responsibility for their financial affairs/health and wellbeing. All this, without even taking into account any workplace stress or redundancy and our own financial worries about the future. Putting it another way, we can lose sight of who we are and feel a lack of fulfilment in our lives.
Change of Life
One thing that affects us all to a greater or lesser extent is the change of life or menopause/andropause. Men and women can experience physical and mental symptoms over several years. The menopause affects women in a far more obvious way due to the dramatic change in hormone levels, however, men also experience a fall in testosterone, although it is much slower with fewer symptoms.Both sexes can often struggle with symptoms for years, without realising how much they are impacting on their physical and mental health. In women, the fall in oestrogen levels, causes symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, reduced libido, mood swings, fatigue and memory loss. Both men and women can also experience raised anxiety levels and sometimes depression.
Difficulties in relationships can also cause mid-life crisis. Partners can often feel that they’ve grown apart and have completely different outlooks. If you’ve had children who have now flown the nest, your life can very different, even if you’re working and keeping busy in other ways. Although its not unusual for sons and daughters to come back home after uni, they will have their own lives and any flaws in your relationship can suddenly be brought into sharp focus. When children are growing up, they take up a lot of time and energy and its only to easy to neglect your relationship and take each other for granted. Relationships need to be worked at and nurtured if they are going to survive. Sometimes, that isn’t always enough. We can fall out of love with someone for all sorts of reasons. People can change in all sorts of subtle ways, which we might not notice for a long time, or aspects of their personality which never bothered us before can become really irritating. Equally, a traumatic event or Ill health can change our attitude to life quite dramatically, which then impacts on our relationships.
The workplace has changed so much over the last thirty years. There is a lot more pressure on employees both in the public and private sector, whether that’s through performance related targets, changes in technology, reduction in staff numbers, leading to excessive workloads, organisational re-structuring, non-participation in decision making, bullying from management and lack of pastoral support, to name but a few. Added to all this can be worries about occupational pensions and the need to stay in a job you may hate, in order to get your full pension. Depending on the type of job you do, changing jobs in your fifties can be quite difficult and may mean re-training, which of course can cause even more stress.
If any of the above resonates with you, read my next blog on how to beat Mid-Life Crisis