Photo of the week: Creating space beyond the hustle and bustle of Lagos, Nigeria

The latest edition of our series, Photo of the week, takes a look at the city of Lagos, Nigeria and how to navigate its challenges while savouring the pleasures and positive vocations it holds.

People on the move in Lagos, rushing from place to place trying to beat the traffic and crowds. Another busy day in the bustling metropolis that never seems to slow down. According to the United Nations populations projections, the current metro area population of Lagos in 2023 is 15,946,000, a 3.63% increase from 2022.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle, price hikes in all products and services, do we ever find ourselves longing for space – physical, mental and emotional – to pause and reflect?

Beyond just surviving and achieving in Lagos, how can one thrive by making time for the things and people that truly matter? Creating space in a fast-paced city may seem impossible, but with some intentionality it can be done.

It is important to make time for yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish – it’s necessary to recharge and be the best version of yourself. Build in time each day to unwind and do something you enjoy; reading a book, taking a walk outside, or calling a friend. Start small if you have to, even 15-20 minutes can help reduce stress and boost your mood.

Try to limit distractions and be fully present in the moment. Put away your phone and focus on your breathing. Meditate, do some light exercise, or journal your thoughts. Engaging in relaxing activities helps shift your mind from the chaos of everyday life in the city.

Make sure to also schedule in bigger self-care blocks when you’re able, like a spa day or short trip out of the city. Exploring other parts of Nigeria or surrounding countries exposes you to new experiences and helps one appreciate life in Lagos that much more upon return.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the daily demands of living in such a bustling city. But by making mental and physical health a priority, one will feel better equipped to handle whatever comes one’s way. Taking things day by day, be gentle with yourself, and remember – you cannot pour from an empty cup. Make time for self-care and the rest will follow.

If you have a hobby or interest, look for local clubs or meetups to connect with like-minded people. In Lagos, there are groups for everything from soccer and swimming to book clubs and cooking classes. Joining a sports league, volunteering, or taking a recreational class are also great ways to find your tribe.

Distraction limitation, turn off notifications on your devices so you’re not constantly distracted by alerts. Only check emails, texts, and social media at designated times. Limit or do away with television.

Do an activity that engages your senses like cooking, exercising, attending exhibitions and museums, gardening or reading a book, audio books included. Take your mind off your to-do list and be fully present in the moment. Identify what excites or energizes you. Is it music, art, sports, gaming, volunteering, or something else? Carve out time each week to immerse yourself in your passions.

Spend time with loved ones in real life. Make eye contact, listen and bond over shared experiences—not just liking each other’s posts. Strengthening face-to-face relationships will make you happier and healthier in the long run.

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