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Midlife crisis during the pandemic

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Midlife crisis isn’t a full stop: Use this time to generate new ideas, think positive.

A midlife crisis is a transition of identity and self-confidence which occurs in middle-aged individuals, between the age of 45–55 yrs. It is the transition of emotional change that one experiences. The phenomenon is described as a psychological crisis caused by events that highlight an individual’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and possibly lack of accomplishments in life. This may produce feelings of intense depression, remorse, and high levels of anxiety or the desire to attain youthfulness or make drastic changes to their current lifestyle and the wish to change past decisions and events.

Midlife is a time when relationships and roles are constantly emerging. Some people may need to begin caring for ageing parents during midlife. Others may become empty nesters—or they may feel as though their teenagers are growing up too fast. For other people, middle age may be a time of regrets. Some people may regret not choosing a different career path or not creating a life they once dreamed about living. The ageing process becomes more apparent than ever during this time as well. Some individuals may develop illnesses while others may begin to notice a decline in their physical abilities. For some individuals, midlife may be a time of immense reflection. They may look back over their years and question what their lives mean.

A midlife crisis might be caused by ageing itself, or ageing together with changes, problems, or regrets. The most common causes are:

● Career changes, such as work being more or less demanding than it once was.

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● Financial Challenges, especially related to retirement

● Dealing with trauma from earlier in life

● Feeling that life hasn’t turned out the way one envisioned or hoped it would

● Lack of meaningful relationship in life

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● Separation from children

● Regretting over career choices

● Ageing or death of parents

● Physical changes associated with ageing

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A midlife crisis is accompanied by an emotional crisis. Emotional crisis is evident from a clear and abrupt change in behaviour. These behavioural changes can include:

● Dramatic changes in sleep habits

● Weight loss or gain

● Emotional outbursts

● Mood swings

● Losing interests in activities

● Feeling hopeless

● Pronounced changes in mood, such as increased anger, irritability, sadness or anxiety.

● Withdrawal from usual routine or relationships

● Rash-Decision Making

● Circling Doubts About Existence

● Reduced Self-Confidence

● Uncertainty about the future

Here are some tips to follow to help cope through the crisis:

● Acknowledging the crisis: Appreciate the changes that are happening, it can help you to move from the difficult times.

● Midlife crisis isn’t a full stop: Use this time to generate new ideas, think positive. Take several ideas into consideration that can help you to deal with this time.

● Talk to Someone: Don’t bottle up your feelings. Confide in someone you trust, such as a friend or partner, your doctor, a trained counsellor, a life coach, or a therapist.

● Reframe Your Situation: Use rational thinking to challenge any negative thoughts, and focus on what you still want out of life, rather than what you’ve lost. Think about things that you are grateful for.

● Do a Life Audit: Use this time as an opportunity to re-examine your values and sense of purpose. Don’t judge your situation on others’ expectations or compare it to other people’s achievements

● Set New Goals: It’s time to reassess what you want from life and to align these goals with the values that you’ve just identified. Positive changes can bring new energy in you, try to explore yourself and set new goals.

● Exercise and eat healthy: Practicing yoga and meditation can help you to deal with stress. It can help you to relax your mind and body.

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Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh
Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh
Currently head of Department of Holistic Medicine & Wellness at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh is a mental wellness expert with expertise in relationship, lifestyle & stress management. The founder and director of The Mind and Wellness Studio Dr. Rachna Khanna has worked with leading hospitals like Fortis Escorts, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital. Her specialties include stress management, lifestyle management for heart diseases, supportive care for chronically ill patients, work-life balance, parent-child bonding, cancer support care, ante/postnatal care, relationship counselling, pre-marital & marital counselling, adolescent counselling, psychiatric & psychological illnesses like depression, anxiety, insomnia.


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