If you speak to anybody who has had to leave Lagos to live elsewhere especially Abuja, and you ask them about coming back ‘home’, you are likely to get the same response – ‘no way!’
In spite of the pace and lure of our beloved city, the truth is, Lagos can be stressful. In fact, Lagos is unmatched in all of West Africa when it comes to stressful living.
A few more cities and state capitals are developing quite fast and may attract people out of Lagos – Calabar, probably the most beautiful city in Nigeria, Uyo and Enugu, two of the fastest developing cities in the country, and Abeokuta remains a natural choice based on proximity.
Yet, these cities are not developing fast enough to be the solution to the pressure cooker otherwise called Lagos.
How then does the average resident survive the stress in Lagos – a city where 80% of the motorists are assumed to have high blood pressure, and more than 7 in 10 commercial motorists apparently failed randomly conducted psychiatric tests?
It gets worse – a significant number of Lagosians have hearing problems, and many tested motorists failed eye examinations conducted by the state government.
So how do we get around the myriad (high number of) stress-inducing issues we face daily in Lagos?
Lets explore a few ways:
Have a daily planner: a notebook, a diary, even your smart phone, which surprise surprise, can do more than whatsapp, BBM and facebook, can help you plan your day effectively. As unpredictable as Lagos is, a daily or weekly plan can help ease some of the stress of living here.
Make a list: while this may sound too simple, it is extremely effective and helps create a sense of achievement and purpose; as long as you don’t try to overachieve by overloading the list. Be reasonable about what can be realistically done in a given period.
Set out early: Regardless of how much time you think you have, or how well you may know your route, always give an extra hour to normal journey time. It is better to wait at your client’s office or any planned destination than to have to rush and get stressed on the way.
Plan your routes: Back to your under utilised smart phone, download free maps and navigation apps (Google navigation, Traffic Lite) and find new or better routes to your destination. If you’re in a car, tune to 96.1FM and listen for the traffic situations that pertain to your journey. It is a very useful station for the mobile Lagosian.
Use technology efficiently: do you really need to make that journey? Can the purpose be served by telephone, email, or even Skype or Facetime, or any of the several video chatting apps and software currently available?
Find a hobby: No, nobody is too busy to have a hobby. And the typical excuse of ‘hobbies are expensive’ won’t work either. It can save your life! That is how important it is to have a de-stressing pastime. Keep it simple – wake up early on a saturday morning and go walking. Join a book club, buy a board game for the family. Find a local football group and join them. Learn to make beads.
The other side of having a hobby is that it increases your network and you are able to meet and discuss with people in a relaxed atmosphere.
So as the weekend is upon us again, lets try out some of the tips here and kickstart positive change to life in Lagos.
In the meantime, may God bless your hustle.