The Hope You Need for Your Midlife Crisis




INTERESTING ANALYTICS

My blog analytics aren't perfect, I haven't purchased any extras, but I do get a glimpse of what people are searching for when they visit my blog--giving me an insider's scoop. One recent search bar entry seemed more desperate. It asked, "How do you get over your midlife crisis?"

Women are looking for answers!

Maybe it's because it's fall and the air is getting colder and the skies greyer, or maybe it's because children are back in school or even out of the home and off to university/college, but this fall I've seen a resurgence of women looking for advice on midlife crisis. Not only that, they are being specific, they are looking for advice on midlife crisis for a Christian woman.

IS A CHRISTIAN'S MIDLIFE CRISIS ANY DIFFERENT?

I'm not sure why many searchers added the term "Christian".  Could it be because they wonder it's "unChristian" to have a midlife crisis?  Could it be because they want to know if they have permission as a Christian to feel the way they do? Is it because they expect a different set of solutions for Christians?  Is it because they know God has the true answers, and so they are searching for answers from a Christian perspective?

OWN IT, YOU CAN

If you are a Christian woman who feels she's having a midlife crisis, then I will let you own it. What you are struggling with can be a real phenomenon, Christian or not. There can be issues going on within you that are more than just Satan bothering you.  There are issues that may need more than merely praying them away. You are not weak. You are not crazy. You are not perfect Jesus.  You are human.  You have all the frailties any other human has.

THE SIGNS

One sign of a midlife crisis is if the world around you looks bleaker on far more days than it looks hopeful and fun. Another symptom may be a feeling, after having achieved many goals, of being unable to find new and inspiring goals to work on.  You may feel "lost".  You may also be having physical symptoms of fatigue, insomnia and moodiness.


MORPHOLOGY OF A MIDLIFE CRISIS

A midlife crisis can take shape in so many different forms and with so many different triggers that it is difficult to lump everyone's experience into one. There is no one set route.  No two people may feel the same.  The solutions may be different for each.

Usually a woman's changing body chemistry plays a part in how she feels. It makes sense.  Menopause hits between 51 and 54.  So peri-menopause is before that.  The body begins to make hidden changes for many years before menopause is reached.

Just because you can't see a physical connection to how you're feeling mentally, doesn't mean one doesn't exist.  Just because your lab results show nothing unusual, doesn't mean your body chemistry isn't affecting your thought processes.  This is especially so because women go through cycles.  Hormone levels rise and fall, activity levels vary, dietary intake, and so on, continues to change and fluctuate from day-to-day.  It makes sense that something may not show up in a physical examination when seeing a doctor one day out of 365.  Only you can measure the ups and downs.

Also affecting a midlife woman are her relationships or lack of them. A woman's career stress or the lack of having a fulfilling one may also play a part.  A midlife woman may have left a job or been forced to leave one, which means her schedule, activity level and relationships have all changed at once.

A mom who stayed home full time to raise children may struggle to find a new place in the working world as a 45 year old. The search for what's next for her can feel frighteningly dead-ended.

SOLUTIONS

REINVENT YOURSELF

A key piece of advice is to re-invent yourself. We all have a story to tell and a mission to complete, and at midlife we need to find unique ways to communicate it, maybe in new territory.

There are new assignments before us for the taking especially in a technologically-driven world. We are in a good age. We have access to a zillion people across the globe through technology or travel. We have multiple opportunities online or on mission fields.

But our path is rarely clear and can be full of potholes because re-making oneself at 46 or 52 is a lot different than making oneself at 20. There are definitely challenges (another topic, another time).

Consider yourself on a journey.  Take a day at a time and enjoy it as much as you can.

THE INTERFERENCE OF WOMEN'S STUFF!

Once you identify a valuable path to remaking yourself, chances are your body chemistry will cause interference with mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, muscle aches, problem periods, peri-menopausal or menopausal headaches, hot fashes, night sweats, low thyroid and so on.

So where does that leave you? Well, for many, it means going on a journey of getting to a place of balance and well-being so that they can do what they're meant to do.

Here are a few things you might implement on your journey:
  • be cautious about booking major appointments or events during times when you know your resistance may be low during peri-menopause.  If you're still having periods, they may be heavy, you may still be crampy and tired, so lay low.
  • check your diet for triggers affecting your well-being. For some, caffeine during peri-menopause can lead to a racing pulse and light-headedness.
  • get rest even if it means taking naps or sleeping in and juggling your schedule (make appointments for later in the day).
  • get your blood chemistry checked regularly.
  • build in regular movement and exercise sessions.
  • see a doctor for whatever else is on your list of symptoms.
  • make an appointment with a counselor if depression or general unrest is an issue (do you have an EAP counselling plan through work or your spouse's work?)
  • consider hiring a life coach.
  • if you frequently wonder about anti-depressants--for instance if you've been asking friends if theirs work; if you've been trying to mimic anti-depressants through drugstore supplements but found they don't work; if you've been hinting to your doctor that you're depressed, but are not strong enough to admit it--come out and tell your doctor that you suspect you might be depressed.  See what your doctor recommends.
  • for some women who have had a little depression earlier in life (like with PMS), depression can manifest more profoundly at midlife. For some women, anti-depressants can help significantly.  Physical conditions can also bring on depression (low thyroid for instance) which may need a different treatment.
  • consider whether hormone replacement therapy is for you. New studies reveal that HRT is not as risky as once thought. Your hot flashes and night sweats will cease quickly on HRT, and your overall mood may improve, especially as you'll sleep better.  If you've reached a place of desperation, try it.  You can choose how long to stay on it. 
Continue to seek out a new life path and take significant steps forward, but realize that even women with great goals and new aspirations can feel set back by a number of other stressors.

Remember, God is still in control. Ask him what he's thinking. Ask him what his plan is for you. Do some good Bible studies on your own or with a group.

I want to emphasize that if you are meeting with midlife or perimenopausal or menopausal challenges,  it is important to nurture yourself. Ask questions and search for answers that will help put your body into a good place so that you can move forward with new wonderful goals.

If you'd like to make a comment or ask a question, do so in the "comment" section.  I reply to every comment!

Postscript:  If you want a package of helpful tools to help you walk this journey, you might want to purchase this eBook available in digital form.  Can be read on a Kindle or computer. 


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