As much as the big city brings with it the many opportunities that we seek, it also brings a shocking amount of stress.  Have you ever been alert enough to compare what you’re like in the middle of the work week and what you’re like after a holiday? Sometimes the difference is as clear as day and night, and other times it’s far more subtle, but make no mistake, the difference is there. It boils down to this little thing that us city folk take for granted – calm.

In cities like Lagos where stress levels are always high, it is difficult to successfully switch off, especially when you’ve amassed years of pent- up anger, stress and anxiety. Inhabitants of big cities have become more susceptible to hypertension due to increasingly frequent episodes of stress and anxiety, which could cause damage to blood vessels over a prolonged period of time. We’ve heard many stories of people losing their lives to unknown causes at ages that we deem too young.

The inconvenient truth is this: inhabitants of big metropolitan cities in developing countries are less likely to be educated on non-symptomatic diseases and are therefore less likely to pay attention to their health beyond the most obvious of diseases and illnesses. The healthcare system fails Nigerians on a daily basis and it is truly up to the individuals to ensure that they are doing enough to maintain a healthy enough lifestyle. Here are some tips on how best to keep the bad energy far, far away, even while living that big city life.

SLEEP WELL

black american woman sleeping well

This is easier said than done. For a lot of us, the commute to work finds us leaving home as early as 4 or 5 AM and getting back into the house at almost midnight. Getting the advised eight hours has become such a myth. Observe your sleep over a week and notice the conditions under which you are getting the most quality sleep. Work to make that your norm.

EXERCISE

There is a prosperity to not exercise as much in cities where the tendency is to sit for the majority of the day – in a vehicle, in the office, at home. Physical movement is not a big part of society, which is ironic for a city that is always on the go. Incorporate some form of exercise into your day. Take the stairs where possible, walk to nearby destinations when the sun is not as intense, go for a run.

CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT

A vacation isn’t always an expensive venture to a different city or country. Find a nearby location that provides you with a feeling of serenity that the city doesn’t offer. If you are lucky enough to be near a park or garden, then utilise that. If you’re near a beach, spend a day basking in the calming sounds of the waves hitting the shore. Find a space that takes you away from the chaos of the city and spend some time there. It does wonders for your mood.

MANAGE YOUR TIME

We tend to believe that we are capable of anything and while that might be true we must also accept the extent to which it is. It is surprising how easy it is to neglect ourselves in favour of managing work demands, as well as demands from family and friends. Be more deliberate in managing your time – placing emphasis on your own wellbeing as much as possible. Be honest about your priorities and remember that you have to be alive to actually juggle these things. Listen to your body.

DON’T LOOK BACK IN ANGER

In relationships, couples are advised to never go to bed angry. But this is true too, with life in general. Do not let situations take up space in your mind. Do not let your anger fester as this can manifest itself in a variety of damaging
ways.

BREATHE THROUGH IT

Sometimes situations are so overwhelming that we became tense, causing our breathing to become shallow. Take a moment to breathe deeply. Inhale through your nose, rest for three seconds and exhale slowly through your mouth,
rest on empty for three to five seconds and repeat. It seems a silly thing to do in the middle of feeling stressed but it
reduces the tension in your body, it helps to lower your shoulders and allows you a few seconds to rethink your reaction.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

It has a way of communicating with you when you need to take a step back. This is important. Yes, we’re all trying to live our best lives and survive the woes of the big city life but really, you cannot come and go and die, abi?

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