Coping with change

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Moving to a new country is not easy. Some people had to wait years to get their application approved. Others had to go through difficult experiences. This could include:

  • Being forced to leave their homes
  • Running away from war
  • Being treated unfairly and without respect

All of this can be very stressful. Clinical psychologist Dr. Arpita Biswas said that everyone experiences stress. However, immigrants have to deal with many stressful things all at once. For example:

  • Adjusting to a new environment
  • Not having family or friends nearby
  • Money problems
  • Different ways of raising children because of cultural differences
  • Cultural conflicts
  • Experiencing racism and discrimination, even if it is not said out loud

Sometimes, these things can make you feel bad. You might lose confidence in yourself. You can feel unhappy. Here are some ways to feel better:

  1. Talk about it

    Talking is the first step to a solution. Share your worries with your spouse, parent, sibling, or a friend to relieve stress. You can also try talking to your pastor, priest, or counsellor and get advice. If you don’t want to feel alone, join a newcomer support group. You may see that others are going through a similar experience. Knowing that you’re not alone and that there are solutions can lessen your stress. Contact your nearest immigrant-serving organization to know the services available to you.

  2. Stay positive

    Deal with one problem at a time. Keep improving yourself. Learn English or polish work skills. Be happy with your achievements. This will encourage you to stay optimistic.  

    Your Mental Health and Well-being, IRCC.

  3. Take a break

    Relax and rest. Here are few activities you can do to help your body and mind recover:

    • Exercise
      The body produces chemicals to make you feel good when you exercise. Take a walk. Do breathing exercises. Meditate, or do yoga. You can also follow these stress-relief exercises on Youtube.
    • Get a hobby
      Join an activity in your community centre. Check the Leisure Guide for free activities for you and your family. You can also join newcomer conversation circles and your community library’s book club to improve your English.

      Many organizations offer programs to help you stay healthy, learn English, or gain new skills. These are posted at library and community bulletin boards, at settlement service provider organization websites, and on the Your English Online Facebook Page.

    • Volunteer
      Helping others will keep you active. You can also learn new skills. Read 5 steps to applying successfully for a volunteer position to help you get started.
    • Read inspirational stories
      Reading about other newcomers’ experiences can inspire you. Search online or go to livelearn’s Newcomer Stories.
  4. Connect with a settlement service provider

    Settlement Service Providers offer many services for newcomers. They know your needs. They can tell you about great programs that are free.

  5. Seek professional help

    If you need more help, go to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. You can ask for a referral from a settlement service provider. Call the Mental Health Crisis hotlines, or Aurora Family Therapy Health Centre.

Article updated January 19, 2024.

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