It can sneak up on you. The gradual realization that your waistline is spreading a little, your hairline seems to be moving, and your energy levels are nowhere near what they used to be. Your routine seems monotonous and life has lost its buzz. So, how can you coast through the inevitable years of middle age and learn to appreciate every moment? Cairo West Magazine chatted with leading psychiatrist, Dr. Bassem Soliman, for tips on how to turn these critical years into a rewarding and fulfilling life stage.
WHAT IS IT?
A midlife crisis usually derives from the fear of getting older. It is not considered a medical condition, but it could result in depression and anxiety, which are medical conditions. Therefore, if I am treating a patient going through a midlife crisis, I am usually addressing the depression and anxiety problem that was a result of it. There is also a feeling of disappointment and loss of self confidence.
MIDLIFE CRISIS INDICATIONS
- Mood swings and impulsive decision-making.
- Obsession with appearance.
- Changes in sleeping habits.
- Replacing old friends with younger ones.
- Thinking of death.
- Changing careers.
- Leaving a spouse or having an affair.
- Attacks of depression.
HOW TO TACKLE A MIDLIFE CRISIS
A midlife crisis derives from fear, which is an attribute that is usually difficult for a man to accept. Therefore, it can result in denial that their fear exists and replacing it with other excuses for the absurd actions taking place. They could often blame their actions on boredom or accuse their partner of being monotonous.
The dangers involved here would be that major life decisions could be taken at that time that result in drastic permanent changes. It could sometimes reach divorce or bankruptcy.
4 BEGINNER STEPS
- Admit to the fact that a mid life crisis is happening in order to seek professional help.
- Start acknowledging the good things in life.
- Discuss any life-changing decisions with a trustworthy person who can dispense sound advice.
- Meditation helps connecting to the voice within and can help a man face his fears and tackle them one at a time.
SUPPORT FROM FAMILY
One of the major mistakes that a wife does is push her husband to fix the situation too fast, wives must give it time. Consider the following advice:
- Patience is key, don’t panic.
- Try to join in on any new activities and show interest. Ask questions in order to figure out the mindset.
- Take care of yourself through the process. A midlife crisis is not a medical condition, yet along with it comes anxiety and depression, which are difficult to deal with.
- Seek professional advice.
10 WAY TO MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE
- Don’t fear your age; embrace it.
- Have an open channel with a counselor or someone who you can take valid advice from.
- Discover some hobbies and involve your partner in them.
- Have a diary where you can write down your thoughts.
- Make time for yourself each day even if it’s 15 minutes of just “me time”.
- Play sports, keeping fit will give you more confidence.
- Travel with your partner or loved one; make new memories.
- Cut down on caffeine and nicotine as these increase anxiety levels.
- Get a pet; it has been proven that pets decrease anxiety levels.
Dr. Bassem Soliman is a Senior Consultant pf Psychiatry at Seeds Clinics and the Head at the Dr. Bassem Soliman Thought Management Clinic in Alexandria.