We’re half-trained as humans to expect a midlife crisis these days – especially women. As we reach midlife ages, from forty to sixty years old, we expect to see signs that our lives aren’t moving forwards, or that our future is in jeopardy.
It’s true that it can be a time of transition or change – women often experience the menopause around this time. Women may also have to deal with other stressful events; their children are growing up, family members are growing old, and careers are changing all the time.
So with all these stresses on our shoulders, it’s no wonder we experience a ‘crisis.’
But what are the signs we might be having an actual midlife crisis?
1. You’re feeling very deep and reflective
You can’t help but question everything you know. Have you done enough with your life? Are you making progress? Is every day the same? You feel like you’re holding on to a past self, and you’re trying to escape the monotonous nature of your day to day life. This period of reflection can be perfect for you!
A study from the British Psychological Society has shown that those who have a quarter or midlife crisis can often find a way out by tuning in to their focus and finding a creative way out of their slump.
2. You’ve started making rushed and strange decisions
You’re feeling more impulsive than you ever did when you were younger, and it is often a way of reaching out to your younger self. You’re aware you’re not getting any younger, and you want to be more adventurous. You feel like there’s less to be lost from doing something exciting than staying home and living the status quo.
3. You feel like you could be losing it
Women often report a change in their personality when they’re experiencing the menopause, which is defined as a year or longer without a period. These changes are due to levels of estrogen decreasing.
This can even take place in the years leading up to menopause. It is suggested that a woman going through menopause should see their consultant to find effective ways of attacking the symptoms.
4. You never get a full night’s sleep
Hormones may cause you to wake up randomly in the middle of the night and be unable to get back to sleep. Insomnia is common in women approaching the menopause or during it. The National Sleep Foundation says that lower levels of estrogen can cause these changes.
5. You have a bleak vision of the future
Midlife is an interesting stage of your life because it’s usually where things slow down for a little while. However, some women may see this as annoying, or even scary, when the future seems unclear. When you’re not sure how you might advance next, it’s hard to comprehend whether you’re going to get stuck in a cycle of disinterest.
6. You don’t feel like you’re advancing in life
If you feel a sense of boredom, it’s possible you’re having a midlife crisis. People who crave advancement will find this time slow and predictable, thus making them feel like they’re stuck.
7. You feel like you’ve lost something important
You haven’t necessarily lost anything at all, but this time in your life can make you feel like you’re lacking some purpose and leave you with an empty feeling inside. With all of your goals reached, it can feel like there’s nothing left to look forward to.
8. You’ve started to obsess over how you look
You can see the changes that are happening to your body, and you’ve become obsessed with upkeeping your appearance. You don’t feel ready to let go of your youth, and you feel the need to seek it actively.
This change seems to come more suddenly for people who are single, claims Dr. Ludwig.
9. You start to let your looks go
A symptom common to those experiencing a midlife crisis is letting go altogether. When we no longer care what we look like, it can be a sign of something more serious, such as depression.
10. You’re less interested in sexual contact
You may worry that your lack of sexual need is due to a lack of sexual passion, but often, it’s just hormones playing a cruel game. For women experiencing the menopause, vaginal dryness is typical, making sex all the more unappealing. However, it’s important to note that there are options to help you along and to tackle any issues with pain during sex.
11. You view yourself as old
Feeling old, and indeed, feeling cynical about it, are signs of a midlife crisis. A study done over a period of ten years found that negative feelings towards age could lower psychological health. Finding a positive spin on growing older can help push through a midlife crisis.
12. You feel like you’ve surpassed your best years
You don’t feel like there’s much to look forward to anymore, knowing that you’ve done all the things you wanted to do already. Setting new goals is a great way to see this stage of life through and reignite your interest in life.
13. You assume you’re having a mid-life crisis
We tend to believe as we approach different milestones that it means the same thing for each person. For example, turning twenty-one is intended to be the sign of adulthood and capability. Each age has its own pressures, and many put pressure on turning forty and create a self-made midlife crisis. However, studies have shown that our lives have ups and downs, with our most fulfilled years spanning from age twenty upwards. It’s all about mindset, and positivity can take you a long way!