Dealing with a mental mid-life crisis

Dealing with a mental mid-life crisis

The mental mid-life crisis: have you experienced this? It can hit at any time in life, but is common between your 30s and 60s.

Whilst some people deal with the dawning realisation of one’s mortality by trying to recapture their youth (think, red sports car and young new partner!), others experience it wholly in their own heads.

You might have reached a milestone in your life and suddenly it feels like your time is running out, and that death is already knocking at your door but you have so many things you want to experience, you just aren’t ready! This feeling can be extremely debilitating, and it’s important to take steps to prevent it from overwhelming you.

There are things you can do. However, if you are finding yourself constantly thinking about time running out (or worse, death and dying) you may want to consider seeing a trained professional who you can talk to about this specific anxiety. They can offer you personalised help and methods for subduing the anxiety beast.

Now getting back to the ordinary, everyday mental mid-life crisis, let’s have a look at some practical steps to stop this runaway train! First things first – and I know this is one you’ve heard before  – try to be present and live in the moment as much as possible. What this means is don’t spend so much time focussed on a future that may or may not happen, when some really good stuff is happening right now and you are missing it! Life is what happens when we are busy making plans. Hug your loved ones, watch that sunset, enjoy that delicious meal – mindfully. Really feel what’s happening, and try to stay out of your own head during these good life moments.

Next I want to throw back to an earlier post about acknowledging your life accomplishments. If you are feeling the crush of time, go back to your list and remember those amazing things you’ve done. You’ve come so far! And you’ve got heaps of time ahead of you to rack up a whole bunch more achievements!

Following on from all those things you’ve done, now I want you to make a list of things you want to do. This is sometimes called a bucket list, but I think it’s nicer to call it goals and adventures list! Adventures come in all shapes and sizes, and will be personal to each individual.

Exercise: write your list

Sit down for five minutes with a blank piece of paper and your favourite pen, and just start writing. Let your consciousness throw up all the things you’ve thought would be fun to try, or places you’d like to see, things you’d like to do. It doesn’t matter how practical or achievable they are right now – these are aspirational! Write it all down.

Once you have your amazing list, you might like to organise the entries into topics such as travel, skills, projects etc. This is a good way to actualise your goals and adventures and make them feel possible and real.

Take it a step further – jot down some notes under each entry about what is needed to achieve them. Do you want to learn to play an instrument? Jot down how proficient you’d like to become, how much time you’d be able to dedicate per week, how much lessons would cost, and whether you want to buy or borrow an instrument.

What you are doing now is starting to make a life plan!

You may find that a lot of what’s on your list are things you can make significant progress towards right now – start saving for that trip, pick a weekend to build that garden shed.

Keep track of your progress, and tick things off as you complete them. Don’t forget to move them to your life accomplishments list!

Here’s a few of the things on my goals and adventures list:

  • Travel: Explore Greece and the Greek Isles (doing this year!), see Machu Picchu, visit Stonehenge and Ireland/Scotland, see the pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt, go on an African safari, see Niagara Falls and explore Canada, see the Northern Lights in Iceland!
  • Activities: go horseriding again, indoor rockclimbing again, buy a kayak and paddle the local areas.
  • Projects: publish my book, record an original song, set up a backyard bee hive, get a swim spa, plant a fruit tree orchard, make 5 Minute Reboot even better!
  • Skills: become more proficient on the guitar and the piano, get better at coding, do winged eyeliner without ruining it every time!

Look forward to the future

If you have things to learn and look forward to, life becomes exciting again instead of a terrifying march towards the end! Drop the morbid inner dialogue (I’m looking at you, self!) and replace it with taking joy in the small things, and making plans to make the big things a reality. Together we can do amazing things!

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