Reviewed by Physician Ignatius Ooi Yong Chin and Dr Jessica Gunawan on October 21, 2022
Helpful Tips for Dealing With A Midlife Crisis In A Healthy Way
Published | 7 min read
A midlife crisis might only be temporary, but it can lead to dangerous health effects that cause permanent damage. These tips can help support your health during this time while you recover.
Most people associate a
While many of these things may be true, there is nothing wrong with struggling where you are currently at in life, both physically and psychologically.
However, long-term problems arise when you remain stuck in this place, allowing negative things like a divorce or job loss affect you much longer than it should.
Pulling yourself out of a midlife crisis and focusing on your health and well-being is hard, but it can be done. These tips can help.
How Does A Midlife Crisis Impact Your Health?
A transitional period that sees a person struggling with their identity and self-confidence, a midlife crisis isn’t just physical, but also psychological in nature.
According to Eu Yan Sang Physician Ignatius Ooi, the most common age-related health conditions are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and gout. Knowing the signs and symptoms of these conditions can prepare you for lifestyle changes that’ll keep you healthy and happy.
Excessive weight gain
According to registered Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician Brandon Yew, “Chronic work stress and unhealthy dietary habits cause Spleen Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation. This results in the accumulation of stagnant fluids, Dampness, and Phlegm in the body. When coupled with sedentary posture, these pathogenic factors tend to build up around the abdomen, giving rise to weight gain.”
Men and women tend to gain weight easily after age 40. This comes from a slowdown of the resting metabolic rate – the total number of calories burned when the body is at complete rest. Combined with a lack of physical activity as a person becomes older, it’ll result in muscle loss and fat gain.
In addition, natural appetite regulation weakens with age, making you prone to uncontrolled eating. Fried foods and fatty meats and cheeses can cause weight gain and increase cholesterol. These will bring about an onset of hypertension and diabetes, which are also risk factors for heart disease.
Eu Yan Sang TCM Physician Anita Pee says, “TCM practitioners believe that diabetes is due to a Yin Deficiency in the body. This means that a person has ‘excessive heat’ in the body. This imbalance may be due to consuming too many fatty or sweet foods, which deplete yin energy, resulting in too much heat in the body.”
Aging is also a notable risk factor for diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. Interestingly, evidence also shows that the effects of aging and diabetes mellitus share similar onset pathways.
For instance, a symptom-free increase in blood sugar levels over time can lead to metabolic dysregulation. This changes how sugar is stored and used in the body, insulin sensitivity, and fat metabolism. It makes a person vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases or other chronic illnesses.
In TCM, gout is the result of internal and external factors such as Wind, Dampness, Heat, and Cold. These four are considered pathogens and when mixed, they affect qi flow and blood in the body’s meridians. When flow is disrupted, it results in pain and gout.
A disease that relates directly to uric acid deposits in the joints and kidneys, gout can occur between the ages of 40 to 60 years. A stand-out trigger of the disease’s onset is your body’s inability to excrete enough uric acid in the urine.
Stemming from a genetic defect of the kidneys, and involving a substance called organic anion transporters (OATs), it’ll prompt an excessive accumulation of uric acid in the organs. Gout can happen for several other reasons, including:
- Alcohol consumption
- Poor kidney function
- Excessive consumption of meat and meat gravies
- Use of medications like low-dose aspirin and some medications for controlling hypertension such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers.
Gout symptoms can present as joint pain or red and swollen joints. You might also experience fever, chills, and a general feeling of discomfort.
According to TCM, vision problems arise from several causes. These include pathogenic factors like Phlegm, Fire, and blood clots disrupting the qi and blood flow to the eyes, which can directly inflict damage to the eyes. Deficiencies of the five vital viscera, especially the Liver and Kidneys, can also lead to vision problems.
Presbyopia is a normal consequence of moving past age 40 and will result in a person being long-sighted. Long-sightedness describes the inability to see objects or words from a relatively close distance.
When you’re young, your eye’s lenses are flexible and soft. This makes it easier for them to change shape to focus on subjects up close or at a distance. Aging makes the lenses more rigid, impairing your ability to look at people, objects, images, or words nearby or perform tasks up close.
From a TCM viewpoint, menopause is mainly associated with a Kidney Deficiency, either in yin or yang. As the entire body’s yin and yang rely on the Kidney’s yin and yang, any deficiency in either or both of these would lead to a decline in overall endocrine and physiological function.
Warming the Kidney yang helps boost the overall body condition in perimenopausal women, particularly for those with dull complexion, limb coldness, fatigue, back soreness, and frequent urination. Nourishing the Kidney yin would especially help perimenopausal women who face hot flushes, anxiety, insomnia, and dry complexion.
Women who turn 40 will transition into perimenopause – the period before menopause – due to the slower production of estrogen. It can provoke irregular or more frequent menstruation, and symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- Changes in bladder control
- Disturbed sleep
- Vaginal dryness or irritation
- Loss of interest in or discomfort when having sex
How To Support Your Health During A Midlife Crisis
It’s understandable that you’ll feel confused or emotionally frustrated if going through a midlife crisis. Fortunately, making small lifestyle adjustments can help you achieve better outcomes as you undergo this phase of life.
Change the way you eat, sleep and move
A healthy lifestyle starts with a balanced diet. Consume foods that are unseasoned but nutritionally rich. Also, eat low-calorie and low-cholesterol meals that have minimal amounts of sodium and fat. Limit alcohol consumption.
It’s also necessary to get your sleep schedule right. Go to bed at the same time nightly and limit yourself to a fixed set of work hours. Exercise regularly to maintain proper weight control.
Let TCM help
Bu Zhong Yi Qi is an herbal formula that can be added to chicken, beef, or dumpling stew. It comprises multiple herbs and is frequently used in TCM to treat fatigue and symptoms like weakness, indigestion, and a loss of appetite.
- Bupleurum (Chai Hu)
- Black cohosh (Sheng Ma)
Chinese Angelica(Dang Gui) White atractylodes(Bai Zhu) Dried tangerine peel(Chen Pi) Baked licorice root(Gan Cao)
Ning Shen herbal soup, meanwhile, can be consumed to keep your Heart and mind healthy.
The stimulation of acupressure points like Guan Yuan (RN4), Zhong Wan (RN12), Zu San Li (ST36), and San Yin Jiao (SP6) can also help achieve the same effect.
Don’t Let A Midlife Crisis Ruin Your Future
Ultimately, you will experience a midlife crisis if you are carrying a heavy psychological burden as it strains your body and mind. Hence, taking steps to improve your mental and physical well-being is necessary to prevent the development of certain illnesses.
If your chosen methods include TCM therapies, it’s best to speak to a TCM practitioner beforehand. Doing so will help you identify the herbal formulas or ingredients that are suitable for your body constitution.
- Acenda Integrated Health. AM I HAVING A MIDLIFE CRISIS AND HOW DO I HANDLE IT?
- U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure.
- American Heart Association. 2018. Age-Related Changes in Glucose Metabolism, Hyperglycemia, and Cardiovascular Risk.
- Hospital for Special Surgery. Gout: Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment.
- AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPTHALMOLOGY. What is Presbyopia?
- Keck Medicine of USC. 2022. Your Body at 40.
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