It’s no news that Nigeria is a tiring place. Last week was particularly stressful for me and when I asked my few friends they all said the same thing. I think I even lost weight and appetite at some point but thank God I slept it all off this weekend.
A major part of stress for me is worry. When the Bible says not to be anxious for anything it says so because it is harmful to your health. You know that thing they call the silent killer in Nigeria? Yes, hypertension or high blood pressure. This week I heard from 3 people who had their (elder) loved ones battling to recover from a stroke (or passed away due to a stroke) and it hit me a little bit more just how many people I know who are monitoring their blood pressure (my beloved dad is one of them).
This week the sad news about stroke and high BP issues just made me a little bit more upset at how people in Nigeria can be so insensitive to each other. Everyone really is going through a stressful time. Transferring your aggression to another person is only going to come back to you in a vicious cycle (what you sow you will reap bruv) and I can guarantee it won’t make you feel any better.
First thing to do when you are tired of everything is to recognize the stress you are going through in your life. Sit down and list all the stressors in your small life: the person at work who forces you to do things at the last minute despite all your reminders to them week in week out, the fuel queues, the swerving, lane-changing, sudden parking, no “trafficator” cabs and buses on the road, the noise of your neighbour’s generator (somehow your own generator is noisy too but never as noisy as your neighbour’s), the silent treatment your “The Lover” is giving you, the fact that it is 10 days to pay day and you need fuel at black market rates, etc. Outline the stressors in your life and sit down and talk to yourself very well. Identifying the problem is halfway to the solution.
Second thing to do is to relieve the stress in your life. Do you know the relationship between stress and time? As time tends to infinity the slightest stressor tends to killer status. It may look like little everyday but the stress of a constant dripping tap wears heavily on the rock of your heart until one day the crack is opened for the root of bitterness to take hold. Resist! Do not allow anyone put you on high jump. Learn to say no you cannot have this now, I need more time. Also try not to listen to what people say. In the end they will come visit you in the hospital, God forbid, when your right hand is no longer under your control. Their words will mean nothing then, and they probably shouldn’t mean anything now. Find your happy place and go there as often as you can. Take it as an obligation to work hard and play harder. I will give examples. My happy places are foot and back rubs and cuddles from The Lover, swimming, volleyball, cycling, music and seeing friendly faces (yes, chat groups are nice but group hangouts are infinitely better). I will pay money for any of these things if I had to but I thank God they are free for the most part. Some people also feel better when they talk about their problems to their friends. Now I have a theory that if you do not feel better after talking to your friend about your issues, then maybe they are not the right friends for you. Don’t stop talking, find a real friend who listens. But this is just my theory.
The third thing to do when you are tired of everything is to take a step back and pray. I know I am saying the Bible says for the second time in this post but hear me out. There is a direct link between meditation (quiet in your mind/soul/heart/”braim” for a few minutes or hours everyday) and reduced levels of stress. The direct opposite of worry in the Bible is prayer. Pray for your enemies that they may have the sense not to stress your life. Pray for your family that they may have the sense not to stress themselves (and you by extension) too much. Pray for your The Lover to not be stressed and please find ways of reducing his/her stress when you are with them. Nobody is happy coming back to a stressful house or having the house much more stressful when you come back from work. Try small, you hear? Pray for yourself too, that you may have the sense not to transfer your stress to your fellow human beings, helping to strike the little blows that may send them to an early grave. You are not a messenger of stress from the depths of Sheol. You are a bringer of light. You have sense. And if you don’t have sense, please pray very hard that you might have sense.
Say no to stress this week, my dear brothers and sisters. Much love.