Lagos is a busy city. It wouldn’t be Lagos if there wasn’t noise, standstill traffic, air pollution and a maddening rush at all times of the day. Lagosians are always on the move. The typical Lagosian is on the road before the sun is up, just to beat the crazy traffic and does not get home until almost midnight, only to repeat the crazy cycle the next day. There’s no time to pause in the city of hustlers. We spend our weekdays running around frantically, and our weekends partying hard.
A lot of people ignore the impact the stress that comes with living in Lagos has on their mental health. Physical health is given more priority, and mental health is usually attached with negative connotations, such as insanity. Thankfully, people are becoming aware of the importance of mental and how it affects everything, including physical health. Studies have proven that people who live in the city are at greater risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and mood disorders. If you live in Lagos, it’s really easy to experience burnout and find yourself feeling constantly low, stressed and tired.
Achieving peace of mind is not impossible. You can live in Lagos and be less stressed. Taking care of your mental health will help you to be calmer, happier, healthier and more effective at work. Here are a couple of tips that will help you stay sane in Lagos even on days when there’s just so much wahala.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist to meditate. All you need to do is set aside 10-15 minutes, find somewhere quiet, and just breathe. Just 10 minutes of sitting still will greatly improve your day. If you think you’d be distracted, apps like Headspace and Inscape can guide you through the meditation process.Studies have shown that meditation can help to lower your blood pressure and improve your immune system.
Keeping a journal can sound discouraging, because writing is probably the last thing you want to do after sitting through 3 hours of Lagos traffic. The goal of keeping a journal is not to write 5 pages about every single event that happened during the day. The goal is to practice mindfulness. All you need to do is to write a few sentences about how you feel at the end of each day. This will help you unburden your mind, and sleep better.
Your physical health is linked to your mental health. When you exercise, your brain produces endorphins that make you feel good. If you live in Lagos, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can be a bit unrealistic. You can take walks on the days when you’re lucky enough to get home early. On weekends, you should make time to do some exercise. It will go a long way in keeping your mind in good shape.
Our smartphones have become mini prisons. Even after you leave the office, you might find yourself opening your email and doing work stuff on your phone. It’s even worse for entrepreneurs and business owners because they feel like they have to be available customers 24/7. Social media doesn’t help either, and when we ‘rest’, we’re still on our phones, texting, scrolling and connecting. All this activity can become toxic to the mind, because we hardly have time to check in with ourselves to see how we’re really feeling. Turn off your phone for at least an hour everyday and do something else. Trust me, the world won’t end because you replied an email one hour later.
Living in a busy city means that you probably won’t get to experience nature every single day. Street lights have replaced trees, and fresh air is practically a myth. Instead of attending an Owambe every Saturday, visit the beach or a park around you and enjoy the beauty of nature. You’d be surprised at how relaxed you’d feel afterwards.
This sounds cliche, but water is proven to have great healing and cleansing properties. It’s quite easy to forget to drink water, and a lot of people don’t drink water until they feel thirsty. Get a water bottle and carry it with you everywhere. Sipping the water intermittently will help to soothe your nerves.
Practice self care
This is really really important. You’re making money and achieving your goals, but are you taking care of yourself properly? You should treat yourself better than you’d expect a lover to treat you. Make time to do the things you truly enjoy. Pamper yourself, take yourself to dinner, go to the spa or cook an exotic meal for yourself. Self care means different things to different people, and if self care to you, means spending your weekend watching reality tv, then you should indulge yourself by all means.
The importance of rest cannot be overemphasised, You cannot function properly if you’re running on low battery. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Take naps during the day if possible. Working without taking any breaks is not a thing of pride, and it’s really bad for your physical and mental health.
Find your tribe
Sometimes all we need is someone to talk to and unburden ourselves. Build meaningful relationships with people you can trust and let them help you navigate life. There’s nothing more soul stimulating like spending time with people you love, laughing and having a great time. Having people to share your experiences with, will help you put things in a better perspective, and make you feel less lonely.
Living in a busy city like Lagos has its great parts- there’s never a dull moment. However it’s really important that you pay attention to how you feel on the inside and take steps to ensure that your mental health is in great shape. There’s nothing more important you could be doing than taking care of yourself. Your health is too precious to be ignored.