Coping with change

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Immigrating is not easy

  1. Some waited months, even years, for the results of their application.
  2. Some may have faced a traumatic experience. Others may have fled from war or persecution. Or they may have been displaced.
  3. Newcomers carry these scars as they face new challenges in Canada.
  4. They have to cope with a new culture and language when they arrive.
  5. They have to do this while adjusting to a new environment.

Stress and adjustment

  1. Adjusting to Canada causes a large amount of stress.
  2. All this stress can contribute to:
  3. All these feelings can lead to more problems.
  4. It could cause:
    • physical illness
    • substance abuse
    • marital or family conflicts

How to deal with change:

Are you stressed or depressed? Here is how to deal with these feelings:


  1. Talking about your feelings can be hard. But it is the first step towards solving the problem.
  2. Sharing your worries with your spouse, parent, sibling, or a friend relieves stress.
  3. Talk to your pastor, priest, or counsellor. They can help you ease your worries.
  4. Join a newcomer support group.
    • Being with people experiencing the same things will help you communicate.
    • You may feel relief to know that what you are going through is common.
    • You are not alone in this situation.

Stay positive or at least, realistic

  1. Take time to think about your concerns. List them down.
  2. Face your problems one at a time. Some may be simple and easy to solve.
  3. Be gentle with yourself.
  4. Take control of the things that you can manage. For example:
    • Study to improve your language skills
    • Take a course to boost your credentials
    • Meet people to expand your network
    • Learn a new skill
  5. Don’t think of negative things. It will not help. It will only make your problems bigger than they are.
  6. Negative thoughts will cripple you with fear. It will stop you from making good decisions.

Building social connections, (note: The 211 helpline is in Ottawa. Please check Community Resources below for Manitoba helplines).

Take a break
Make time to relax. Don’t think of your problems constantly.
Here are few suggested activities to help your body and mind recover:

  1. Exercise
    • Take a walk. Do breathing exercises. Meditate or take up yoga.
    • Exercise raises your endorphins. It is a natural chemical the body produces that reduces stress and makes you feel happy.
    • Do these stress-relief exercises on YouTube.
  2. Pick up a hobby
  3. Volunteer
  4. Read inspirational stories
    • Read about the experiences of others. Take note of how they overcame challenges.
    • Find many stories online. You can also read our newcomer stories.
  5. Connect with a settlement service provider
    • Settlement Provider Organizations offer a many free services for newcomers.
    • They are experts. They can:
      • recommend services for counselling
      • offer career mentoring
      • connect you to other organizations for more services
  6. Seek professional help

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Community Resources

Go to Winnipeg Regional Health Authority for services and resources.

Call 1-855-242-3310 for counselling available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut. Online chat is also available in English and French at

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