Recent research from the University British Columbia Canada
Stress it turns out to be that is the culprit. The first few years of a new immigrant life can be very stressful. Starting over from scratch is never easy.
The first task of a newcomer to a new country is finding a house for the family. The next is to find a job. Many immigrants are shocked to find that the very qualifications which help them to qualify to come to Canada
Lack of the extended family and social network are also sources of stress because of the loneliness and isolated this state produces. As social beings, immigrants need to connect with others as soon as possible after arrival. They need outlet for their frustrations apart from their immediate family, which can produce even more stress.
When newcomers come to this country, the dynamics of family life may change drastically. Sometimes women are the first to get jobs because women may be more flexible in taking any kind of job for which some men refuses to do because of their previous social status and their pride and the shame of doing manual work.
The new immigrants face many stressors but the most important stressor is the lack of recognition of foreign credentials and the slow pace by the government to address this issue. It is not something new. Immigrant activists have been lobbying the government to find a way to assess foreign credentials for the past 30 years but no satisfactory solution has emerged to date.
This research finding is the first time that the impact of stress on newcomers has been identified as a severe health risks. It will give policy makers the opportunity to develop appropriate programs and services to deal with this issue in a concrete way.
In the meantime here are a few tips newcomers can do to help relieve their stress:
a) Remember there is nothing to fear but fear itself;
b) A strong and loving family support system is an antidote to strength. No matter what happens do not take out your frustrations of each other, keep the lines of communication open and be open to change. The family is the most important in the early days of migration and keeping the family together;
c) Find a social group that can provide support to you and your family – this can be your place of worship, your own cultural group, a group of friends you met during your settlement orientation training, collect phone numbers and suggest to others to meet occasionally at each others homes for supports, tea, snacks, games whatever;
d) Reach out to people outside of your ethnic group, be open to new friendships even if it is only telephone friendships – some north Americans do not like inviting people to their homes but they would rather meet for coffee – if this is something you can do, go ahead meet people share your concerns they may offer valuable tips and advice to you;
e) Before you decide to return to university, spend a lot of money and time to regain your past academic or professional standing, think about your age, a realistic outcome and the length of time you expect to be in your career to make it worthwhile;
f) Find a job as soon as you can and start looking around for courses that can help you find a better job. Consult with immigrants who have lived in the country for a while to find out what free courses are available and avail yourself of them.
g) It is important that you live within your means. Try to do two or three jobs and neglect your family – that can be a big mistake. Take care of your family and the rest will follow.
h) Hold on to your children. It is better to be on social assistance than lose control over your children because of overwork or both mother and father working at all hours of the day. You would gain the world but lose the soul of what really brought you to another country – your children.
i) Let your family back home know that you are struggling to survive but that you are hopeful for the future. Do not lie to them that will increase your stress.
j) At the end of each day share with your family members the things that you are grateful for.
k) Try to look for the good in people. This is important in those early years even if you encounter discrimination by some foolish people; take the high road for your health sake.
l) If you have left a war torn country, and now you are in a safe country that is a lot to be grateful for.
m) Live simply, graciously and full of gratitude. Do not try to keep up with the Joneses, that’s surely a recipe for stress. Keep the faith.