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5 Steps to Avoid a Professional Midlife Meltdown

midlife meltdown

From time to time, we all experience feelings of boredom, dissatisfaction or even exasperation in our jobs.  Most of us muddle through, knowing these feelings ebb and flow, as they often do throughout a long career.  But what should you do if those feelings persist and grow stronger with each passing week?  When you are longing for change and beginning to resent work, you might be on the road to a professional midlife meltdown.  In other words, you’re approaching career burnout.

You realize it’s important to be careful in this situation. You’ve probably known people who faced a similar dilemma and took leave, not only of their senses but their jobs as well.  These restless souls decided suddenly to resign and jump without looking.  Gutsy and a bit foolish, yes?  But that’s not you.  At least you don’t want it to be.

Well, what can you do to keep from going through this type of crisis? Let’s break it down. There are five steps you can take to avoid a midlife meltdown, thus saving your career, relationships, and mental state.

#1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

As the old saying goes, “Perception is reality.” You don’t need anyone else to validate your emotions or tell you that you’re wrong.  There’s a reason for your angst or malcontent, even if you haven’t discovered what it is yet.  Let the feelings flow, and you may discover the cause of or solution to your problem.

midlife meltdown

#2. Add a Few Minutes of Mindfulness to Your Routine

Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique used by successful professionals to avoid stress, negativity, and frustration.  When you focus awareness on the present, it becomes impossible to dwell on the regrets of your past or the worries of your future.  Meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises are all popular forms of mindfulness.  Consider adding one or more of these activities to your daily regimen to stave off a midlife meltdown.

#3. Determine if the Situation is Temporary or Not

Once you have accepted and pondered the situation for a while, consider whether it’s a temporary irritation or one that’s bound to continue.  How long are you willing to tolerate the current state of affairs?  If your job is unbearable or you dread Monday mornings, it might be time to make a plan or take action and make positive changes.

#4. Investigate a Different Career 

Do you daydream starting a more fulfilling career?  If so, check out this epic list of potential jobs and resources: 11 Midlife Career Change Ideas that Don’t Suck.  These positions take less than two years of education and pay a starting salary of 40k – 76K.  You may discover a more satisfying professional life is not out of reach.

#5. Plan to Become the Entrepreneur You’ve Always Wanted to Be

If, however, you long to start a side-hustle or become a full-time entrepreneur, you will need to do some investigation and devise a plan.  Do you know what type startups to consider?  If so, have you researched your competition?  How much money can you get your hands on to fund a potential business?  How long can you afford to go without a steady income?

All are critical questions to answer before leaving your current position.  Check out this basic guide from the Small Business Administration to help you start a business plan.  While some people don’t think a structured plan is critical to success, I firmly believe even a shortened version can save you thousands of dollars and countless headaches throughout the first few years of your startup.

Following these five steps regarding your career can help you steer clear of a midlife meltdown.  You can have a satisfying professional life again.  But it will take patience, research, and commitment.  Let’s face it, anything worthwhile does!

Remember, life is better when we lift each other up.



Are you a woman over 40 who wants to start a business? Download this printable checklist to help get you from crazy good business idea to successful launch in no time!

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5 Steps to Avoid a Professional Midlife Meltdown helps you decide if it's time to make a career change after 40 or start a business of your own.

11 thoughts on “5 Steps to Avoid a Professional Midlife Meltdown

  1. This offers some great strategies for reevaluating our purpose and place – especially at midlife. Great ideas for going within and taking stock. If something is working in your life explore the aspects that appeal! Thanks for your inspirational work Jen.

    1. Hey, Cheryl. Purpose becomes so important to us as we move into midlife. I hope your business is providing you the fulfillment you need. Thank you for your input.

  2. Great article! Life is too short to be unhappy.

  3. I feel like this post was written especially for me! I went through this last year, and it would have really helped me to read this then. At the time, I listened to meditation videos regularly, and they were a big help. Happy to say I’ve also done #5 and started my own business. Life is looking up! Thanks for writing this.

    1. Hi, Catherine. So happy to hear you are feeling better and have started a new business. That is exciting! It sounds like you could have written this post with all of your experience. Thank you for your insight.

  4. I never knew how life could be until I became an entrepreneur. Doing the same old thing every single day sounds awful.

    1. Hey, Rena. That is the absolute truth for me too. I love running my own business. It gives me such joy!

  5. I think one important question definitely is to ask if this is only temporary. Too often we react and sometimes overreact to something that might be going on that will eventually pass. Not always, but sometimes!

    1. Greetings, Tonya. I would have to agree. Sometimes we just want to quit out of frustration. It’s better to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Thanks for sharing! Come back soon.

  6. Midlife is a time of taking stock and reinvention. These tips are definitely a great way to keep the drama to a minimum!

    1. Hi, Marya. I wish more people over forty would take the time to reflect and be mindful of their situation before acting. It would save a lot of headaches and heartaches. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Come back soon.

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