How is mid-life treating you?
Oliver Robinson said, “a (mid)life crisis is defined as a period characterized by unstable mental and emotional health, altering the course of one’s life and affecting one for a year or longer.” Does the “unstable mental and emotional health” part sound familiar?
If it does, then you are certainly NOT ALONE.
My first mid-life crisis (I have had several since) hit me at the age of 42. It was like a full-frontal collision with a runaway bulldozer. When the dust settled down and I managed to get back on my feet, I found that a few things had changed. I got divorced and got remarried. I sold my house and bought another one, in a different country, where they speak a different language. I had resigned from my comfortable job as a GP and I had started training for a totally new career, in said new country. I had gone from a substantial monthly income to…no income. And I seem to have acquired a whole herd of enormous horses – me, who have never had time to go anywhere near a horse.
As midlife crises go, this one was pretty earth-shattering.
I shall tell you. As a medical doctor with many years of experience helping women through the menopause, I know what works, what makes midlife an easy ride and what makes it a painful slog. I also have personal experience, now. I share with you what worked for me and my patients below:
Learn to say “No” and mean it, without having to say why. Make no excuses, just say “NO”.
Learn to let go. Accept that there are some situations that you just can not control, manipulate or influence. Let go of the past. Forgive and forget.
Be kind to yourself and be kind to others. Pay it forwards several times a week, a day, an hour. In small and in big ways.
Start mindfully meditating – read books about it, watch TED talks about it, or do a guided meditation on youtube. Find a method that works for you and fits into your lifestyle, whether it is a sitting, walking, writing or whatever meditation – make it a daily habit to reduce stress and to improve your short and long-term mental and physical health.
Boost your brain power. Learn a new language, play chess, do sudoku puzzles/crosswords, read about current political trends, scientific discoveries, health advances. Do something creative, take up a new hobby/sport or learn a new skill – sword-fighting, for example. Or horse riding.
Nurture important relationships. Make time for family, friends, colleagues, charities and your community. Make friends with people with similar but also with different interests. Broaden your horizons. Blog. Use Facebook and Twitter. Look up your old school friends. Build a stronger support network. Contact friends that you have not seen/or heard from in a while. Improve your communication skills.
Get rid of self-imposed limitations and if you didn’t realise that you have any, get help. Read about personal development, get yourself a coach, join a self-improvement group, take a course/attend a webinar if you can’t get away. Commit to personal growth. Get rid of bad habits and avoid mental pollution. Just because everything is different doesn’t mean anything has changed. Leave your comfort zone. Stop making excuses.
Be grateful. Make a point of noticing everything you have to be grateful for. Start with the smallest thing. Be grateful, several times per day. Keep a gratitude journal/jar. Write a gratitude letter. Send thank you e-cards.
Look after your body. Get regular exercise and check-ups. Eat mindfully making sure you get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need. Stay supple. Get fresh air, go out and appreciate nature, alone and in company. Get enough quality sleep and if you are not sleeping, get help.
Expect miracles. Of all shapes and sizes, daily. Make them happen for other people.
If your sense of humour is gathering dust on a shelf somewhere, get it out, dust it off and put a new battery in – you are going to need it.
Take a gap year and travel the world. Or take a gap year and do nothing, somewhere interesting and/or relaxing. Go back to school, train for a new career, like pole dancing. Now is your chance, while you are still strong, healthy and crazy enough to do it. Always dreamed of sailing around the world? Swimming with dolphins? Going to meet the gorillas? Do it now, people will blame your « temporary insanity’ on midlife, you could get away with just about anything.
I realise that this is a long list of «Do this»’s and «Get that»’s, sometimes without a clear indication of how to go about it. It’s a bullet list, probably already crammed with too much detail. Luckily, in the internet age we live in, help and information are always close at hand. You can learn how to do just about anything you can think of, on-line.
Midlife is as much about opportunities as it is about challenges. Don’t be intimidated.
Women try to tame themselves as they get older, but the ones who look their best are often a little wilder.” ~ Miuccia Prada
Should you need a bit of help, join us on one of our Mindful Midlife Renewal Retreats for women in spring 2016, just the right time of year to let the new you loose upon an unsuspecting world. And you’ll discover what I ended up doing with that herd of horses.
Written by Margaretha Montagu – Mpowering women to live the second half of their lives with renewed passion.
Dr. Margaretha Montegu is a medical doctor with 20 years of experience helping her patients manage midlife stress so as to avoid physical disease and psychological distress. 8 years ago she left medical practice to concentrate on prevention rather than cure and now hosts Mindfulness Meditation Retreats, assisted by 6 super-smart horses, in the south of France.
If you are interested in attending a Mindfulness Meditation Retreat here at Les Sources Sacrées in the sun-blessed south of France, or if you would like to find out more about it, please e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a message below. Goes without saying that your e-mail address is perfectly safe, we will never share it. You can find our everything you would like to know about the retreats by clicking on the buttons on the top left-hand menu bar.
- I am also on Twitter (@EquineGuidedMD), this is where I publish details of any early-bird or last minute special offers,
- Facebook (Meditation Workshops with Horses), here I publish articles about our work written by experts in the field,
- Pinterest, where I have a board that showcases everything this beautiful region (Gascony) has to offer, as well as a Midlife Blossoming board – a collection of articles about how to not only survive but thrive during midlife
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You may also like:
- A Guide to Midlife Enlightenment
- Mindful Midlife Meditation and Mantras
- What is wrong with the South Of France?