As we all know, we are now in the last four months of the year, popularly known as the “ember” months. In this part of the world, the end of the year is marked with so much fear of ‘village pipu’ and money rituals. But how much of these fears are actually legit or due to some ‘evil forces’? Despite the many vigils, prayers and casting and binding, many Nigerians still fail to enjoy a stress-free ‘ember period.
Indulge us while we try to debunk some myths [hopefully], and work towards a stress-free year end.
Major End of Year Health and Safety Stressors
The year end comes with plenty financial hurdles and requirements. September starts a new school year with fees and back to school shopping. Then there’s the holiday periods; travelling, vacations, family and all. Plenty stress on the pockets. The worries of financial problems most often lead to high blood pressure, which when untreated can result in stroke or even immediate death. Does this sound familiar to some ‘spiritual attacks’?
Goals and resolutions made at the start of the year will become more daunting in these last few months. Every unmet target comes to remind you of failures. The sadness, fears and depression associated with not meeting your targets could be quite weakening. Most depression and suicide attempts occur at the year-end simply because of the pressures of under-achievement.
Owanbe is the reggae to Nigerians’ blues. Every other week, as the year draws to an end, marriages are more, burials, birthdays are celebrated on a norm. Unfortunately, your weekends become even more stressful than the weekdays. This, coupled with alcohol intake at social events leads to a higher number of accidents and casualties during the ‘ember months.
Yeah, from owanbe to work functions, family meetings and get togethers… road trips become a constant part of life. Unfortunately, due to the state of the roads in most part of the country; these trips get to the point of being dangerous. The constant road-trips take their toll and people get fatigued; increasing possibilities of accidents.
We all know how shopping never ends, from Oyingbo market to Mile 12. From Balogun to Oshodi, all in a bid to get everything for the delicious foods and gift items to family. Eventually someone gets fatigued and drops. Low energy, bad nutrition, lack of sleep and financial worries of meeting shopping needs. All these combines to overall ill-health that could cause different illnesses.
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Now, we hope you see why not all the bad things associated with them “ember” months are from village pipu. But to the more important part, how can we win this end of year? What steps can you take to help yourself as heaven works on your prayers, fasting and retreats?
5+1 Stress-reducing Tips For the Year End ‘Ember Months
- Start saving up already. To avoid the psychological pressures from daunting financial stress, you might want to start saving NOW!
- Drink less or not at all when you go for social functions. Stay sober, don’t fold to social pressures, your life and that of other road users is more important than the drinks or smokes.
- Shop early: Start your end of the year shopping already!!!! Get the non-perishables and even the perishables you can successfully store. Buy all your gifts and do your shopping in bits. This reduces the pressure and stress from last-minute shopping. If you are getting fatigued, please take a break.
- Disconnect: The pressure is getting to you, you’ve not met your targets for this year and you can feel the sadness and depression setting in. It’s time to disconnect and take a break. Depression sometimes manifests in physical health symptoms. Sometimes all you need to do is take a break from the pressures, a weekend by the beach. Travel somewhere, hangout with some calm friends, or at the very least take a day off work and just sleep in and take care of yourself. Take a walk and let go of the stress.
- Be Safety Conscious: As you are doing the rounds for social gatherings, or taking your family trips, always remember the safety rules. Check all parts of your car to be sure they are functioning properly before setting out on any trips. Stay calm as possible during an emergency, and always keep a first aid box well-equipped and handy. When you are travelling by public transport, ensure your transporter follows all safety regulations.
- Enjoy the time with your family. Life passes by so fast we barely notice. As the year is coming to an end take some family bonding time. Time spent with loved ones does amazing things for your health, and sharing chores makes it stress-free.
Let go of your fears and apprehension this September. Enjoy the rest of the year and don’t let a minute more be wasted to avoidable stress. Stay safe, stress-free and health conscious always. Eat well, sleep more, and face your challenges head on.
What are your thoughts about ‘ember months and how do you prepare for the year end?