I once heard a statement about Nigerians and I would share it here. The fellow stated:
Nigerians are too serious. When you step out on the road, everybody is angry at the same time for no reason in particular. They hardly take out time to play and rest. The parks and resorts for a large part of the society is usually to be visited at festive seasons. They are very hardworking, and I think that is great, but they should take out time to rest. That is probably part of the reasons the life expectancy here is rather low, when compared with other nations.
Now, although I do not agree entirely with him on his stance on life expectancy. I do think that in this part of the world, especially in the big, busy cities, we need to consciously as individuals take time to rest.
Not taking time to rest adequately leads to stress. I know that it is good to be hardworking and honestly although we all have at one point or another felt stress, some people have adopted stress as a normal part of life. Stress actually is almost inevitable, some days, the workload will be much and you will naturally experience stress. Hence I advocate for proper management of stress.
Stress in the short term might seem harmless, however over time stress presents serious health threats. Stress has adverse effects on our health, emotions and even behavior. Recognizing the symptoms of stress can give you a head start in tackling and managing it.
Continuous stress can lead to a condition known as distress and common symptoms of distress include:
- Effect on the body: Muscle pains, nagging headaches, tiredness, chest pain, stomach upset, Sleep problems, loss of sex drive, nausea, dizziness.
- Effect on your emotions and mood: Restlessness, anxiety, depression, irritability, feelings of loneliness.
- Effect on your behavior: Outbursts of anger, drug and alcohol abuse, social withdrawal, eating disorder, poor judgement, inability to concentrate, and memory problems
Ways to relieve stress include:
- A massage or rub: A message with natural oils like lavender or a visit to the spa can go a long way in relieving stress.
- Exercise: Take time daily no matter how small, may be just a few minutes to exercise. Mind and body exercise helps relief stress. Exercises such as running, tai chi, and yoga, can help ease the tension built up by stress.
- Organize your life, don’t try to do it at once. Take a step at a time. Build a support system of friends and family, do not go so hard on yourself. Ensure you snack healthy when you snack and always take time to keep your appointments with the doctor.
- Healthy eating: Eating healthy foods such as whole grain and protein can help give you sufficient energy for your activities and reduce moodiness and depression. Taking things like coffee too often is bad because it can lead to too much caffeine in your system causing unnecessary anxiety and jittery. Too much junk food can also in the long run lead to depression and unnecessary fat gain.
- Sleep well: When a fellow is continually sleep deprived, it leads to accumulation of stress.
So it is the almost the end of the first month in this year, the year is not longer new as it were. Take time out to review your health and make changes when required so as to avoid unnecessary breakdown or crashing of your body. Remember, health is wealth so while you work so hard on your job, academics, or family, ensure you do not put your health on the back burner of your life.