Surviving Mentally, Surviving Lagos.
I recently read this viral twitter post
“How does one have a 9-5, side hustle, plough through Lagos traffic, try to be fit fam, try to have a social life, try to have quiet time, try to network, try to raise a family all in this same Lagos”
It honestly got me thinking, really, how do we do it? This post doesn't even take into account dealing with the marital stress, and handling health problems, or managing your workers. All these can be so overwhelming, and it requires deliberate intervention and self-will to just pause and take a deep breath. Please take 5 minutes right now.
Stress has been identified as a cause or a trigger for some mental illnesses such as Manic depression and schizophrenia and can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts. Stress as a mental health however is often not talked about in this part of the world. We are wired to embrace stress as the norm, in fact the more the stress the more the likelihood to make it in life, as there is this notion that only the ones who have worked tirelessly deserve to be heftily rewarded.
The Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria as reported by Sahara reporters says about 20 to 30 per cent of Nigerians suffer from mental illness. That’s saying about 60million out of about 200million Nigerians (via world bank), are suffering, and most times in silence. How do you deal with stress? What are the coping mechanisms?
The first step to dealing with stress is being able to identify stress really is.
- Are you anxious or feeling depressed?
- Do you find yourself always irritable, feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, or unfocused?
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much?
- Racing thoughts or constant worry?
- Problems concentrating?
All these are signs that you might need some help, as if not handled properly can lead to more complicated diagnosis.
7 ways to cope with stress.
Exercise: Working out regularly. Start with 30 mins of aerobics a day for 4-5days. You can start with regular walks, then graduate to jogging or running, don’t worry if this is your first time. Just start. This can be very liberating, and reinvigorating, releasing hormones caused Endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling in the body.
Food; A warm cup of milk or tea, wrapped under a blanket might just do the trick. Other foods containing Omega-3s such as Avocados, Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardine. Food like nuts, fruits and high fiber cereals. Green leafy vegetables and bright colored peppers. They all have been proven to help reduce stress. Vitamin E and polyphenols found in red wine, blueberries and dark chocolate are also useful in helping to alleviate stress.
Personal Time; We all need some personal, “Me” time away from it all. It can be reading a book, going to the movies by yourself with a bucket full of popcorn, or just staying still in a quiet space. This allows you to recalibrate and reset.
Mini Breaks; Go away somewhere. It doesn't have to be fancy but leave that city. Go visit your somewhere quieter or different from what you are used to. Try some fun and exciting adventures. You deserve it.
Good Support Network; Who is in your circle, your tribe. Be sure to cultivate good friends and maintain contact with relations that will positively add value to you are your wellbeing.
Be positive but realistic; “This too shall pass” Always remember that every tough time or difficult situation would always be yesterday by the next day. So be positive. Find structured ways to deal with the problem and be realistic. If you cannot find a solution to a problem, acknowledge that.
Which leads to the last point,
GET HELP; No matter how savvy, smart and resourceful you think you are, there are some situations that will require you to reach out to someone. This can be professional help like a counsellor in form of a trained professional e.g. a psychologist, a counsellor and well-respected family member. Either way, speak to somebody about how you are feeling and take steps to resolve them.
Do you need help with stress? Reach out to your OneHealth pharmacist today to direct you to the right help.