Health: How to prevent midlife crisis

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Many were shocked when megastar Sharon Cuneta came out on her Facebook page to tell fans that she went through a midlife crisis.

Sa kanyang open letter online, sinabi niya na she “gave up” on herself. “I became rebellious because I hated myself for the way I looked and the time I continued to waste by not focusing and working on bettering myself.”

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According to the 48-year-old actress na tumanggap ng puna dahil sa kanyang weight, maybe because she was at peace with her family and was focused on her kids, so she lost her “hunger” to be on top.

Hindi mo iisipin na someone successful sa kanyang professional at personal life could still struggle with problems. Pero para kay psychologist Cristabel Fagela, the experience of midlife crisis is familiar to most women.

“Lalo na with the hormonal changes brought on by menopause,” she says. Culture and context are additional factors. Given an environment na driven by achievement, work can define your sense of self.

“Nasa rat race ka kasi and more likely, you go through midlife when your work doesn’t contribute to a sense of purpose,” sabi ni Fagela. Common din ang ageism o discrimination against older people, especially in certain fields, so it happens.

How midlife crisis happens

“Midlife crisis is an experience for some people in midlife or approaching midlife when they do a life review and find some aspects of their life that they consider important as underdeveloped or lacking,” paliwanag ni Fagela.

To manage it, she says some people enage in action steps to fill in the lack, like a career change.  “Yung iba naman, pwede maka-develop ng depression at discontent kapag they think na wala na sila magawa to change things as they are, or their current situations make it difficult or impossible to accommodate changes or new things,” ayon kay Fagela.

When you think of life as lacking in meaning or purpose, this can contribute to a midlife crisis.

“Isang concern rin kasi sa midlife ang generativity or leaving a legacy for the next generation,” Fagela adds. Mas aware ka na kasi sa iyong age—you notice physical signs of getting older, like wrinkles, white hair and getting sick, as well as your mortality at tipong malapit na ang tinatawag na finish line.

Fagela clarifies, “As it is, hindi siya clinical condition but pwedeng may lumabas na reactions na symptomatic of a clinical condition, like depression.”

What you can do

In order to prevent it, you have to continue creating opportunities for purpose and meaning sa iyong buhay even as you grow older.

Para kay Fagela, pwedeng makita as an act of courage ang pag-admit ng midlife crisis, gaya ni Sharon.

“It empowers other people with the same experience to feel na hindi sila alone. It also normalizes what they’re going through,” sabi niya. “It calls attention rin to personal issues of  those in midlife.”

Dagdag niya, your family is still the best support system. Here’s how you can help your loved one manage midlife, according to Fagela:

1. Respect. Foster healthy and positive attitudes towards those advancing in age. Acknowledge their strengths and capabilities, she says. “Sabihin mo na models sila ng kabataan at sources of wisdom,” sabi niya. Avoid making them feel that getting older is something bad.

2. Provide bonding activities that make the person in midlife feel connected to the younger generation. “Hanapin ang common interests and do things together that both of you will enjoy,” payo niya.

3. Support plans to try new things that contribute to personal growth. Fagela suggests, “Samahan sila sa pag-discover ng bagong hobby or pag-try ng mga bagong kaalaman”

4. Empathize when they voice out concerns and fears about challenges faced in midlife. Good rin to encourage more friendships with people who are facing like issues but are positive influences,” dagdag niya. They need a support system in regular and constant contact.


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