A lady living in Abuja informed her friend of her engagement to the love of her life. He lived in Lagos.
Her friend said, “Oh, I am so sorry for you”.
The lady in question was a bit upset… no, she was very much upset.
“Haba! How can you say something like this?”
“No, I’ll explain…” her friend pleaded.
“In Lagos, they wake up pretty early to get to work and get home late at night. They jump into moving buses, spend over 4 hours in traffic and yell at people when driving. I heard the environment is noisy and you may have to fight with a conductor to get your fare balance”.
Ok, let me clarify this. It is fun to live in Lagos, trust me. There are beautiful beaches, job opportunities, cheap food and clothes, and much more.
STRESS AND THE CITY
On the other hand, what we can’t deny is the level of stress that comes with living in a mega-city like Lagos. Studies have reported that people who live in cities such as Lagos have higher stress levels and prone to mood (e.g. depression) and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, as well as other mental health challenges. Stress influences our mental, social, and physical health.
The question I’ll ask you if you stay in Lagos is “what are you doing about stress?”
I also stay in Lagos, so I’ll give four tips that specifically address how to deal with stress in Lagos, or any other city in Nigeria.
Step Away From The Car
I’ll ask you to step away from the car to cope with stress in Lagos for this reason. Have you heard that driving during the peak of traffic puts your stress hormone in a similar state as a jet pilot fighter? In other words, your body considers driving in the peak hours of traffic similar to a fighting mission. Can you imagine doing this 5 days a week, at least? What I am saying is, if you can, DON’T DRIVE. At least reduce the rate of driving, especially at the peak of traffic.
Get creative to avoid driving. Options include public transport, carpool, allow a friend drive, or get a driver if you can. You can walk a few minutes to get to the bus stop. The walk is great for you. This brings us to our next tip…
Exercise To Manage Stress in Lagos
People say, “the hustle in Lagos is enough exercise”?
Jumping buses and trekking in a tired state, under the scorching sun, is not the same as exercise to relieve stress. As a matter of fact, doing this daily increases your body’s secretion of the stress hormones. Likewise, sitting all-day working, without physical activity, is even more problematic.
When we exercise, our body releases the feel-good chemical, Serotonin. Serotonin helps us deal with stress.
Exercise is any bodily activity that helps maintain your overall health. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, painful or boring. Choose what you love and do it regularly. If you love to dance, make dancing your priority. If you love to pray, take prayer walks – just get moving.
To-do List – Yay or Nay
Of course ‘yea’ and I’ll explain why. This is an age-long activity that people find unnecessary but has huge stress management technique. Our brain loves order and a to-do list helps us remember, plan, prioritize, coordinate and delegate efficiently.
Our brain loves this and would work more under such conditions. This not only helps you manage stress, but also helps reduce the overwhelming feeling with tasks. It also helps us feel productive and in control.
In Lagos, it can be difficult to draw a to-do because something unexpected, such as traffic, can pop up its ugly head. You can draw up a to-do list even when in traffic.
My personal typical to-do list can take a look like this:
- Sleep for about one hour (if am not driving)
- Listen to my favourite music
- Listen to an audiobook
- Make an important business or personal call (if private)
- Make a plan for the next day’s activity
The point is putting things in perspective and being in control. Remember, try not to include so much on a day’s to-do list. it can be counterproductive.
Also, a to-do list helps us manage procrastination
Irrespective, remind yourself that you are “enough,” even if everything on the list is not done. Don’t give up, and continue to use a to-do list to manage stress in Lagos.
Research has shown that when you include mindfulness exercises to your routine, you can cut down the stress hormones and reduce stress significantly. Mindfulness is a type of meditation where we focus on being aware of our feelings in the moment, non-judgementally.
There are simple tricks that can be used to achieve this that can be found online.
One I would recommend you use frequently is the mindful breathing. The idea behind mindful breathing is to focus your attention on your breathing, its rhythm, flow and the way it feels with each exhale and inhale.
It can be done sitting or standing, even with people around.
On a last note, be self-aware to figure when you are about to be stressed, or already stressed.
Get enough sleep, and eat a healthy balanced diet, these are like the status quo. Make time for interests, hobbies and relaxation. Meditation can help you manage your emotions and curb emotional eating if you find yourself stress eating.
Remember this, be kind to yourself at all times. We can effectively manage stress in Lagos, one day at a time. You can utilize some of our free resources to deal with stress or enroll in one of our training programs.
Don’t forget to drop a comment, we’ll love hearing from you.
Until I come your way next time, remember better day tomorrow.