By Farzana Nur
We must congratulate couples who take the initiative to migrate to Canada in order to have a better and more progressive life. But also keep in mind that immigration is one of the most stressful events in life. Canada is a land of opportunity for sure, and perhaps in the beginning we might not be able to perceive this wonderful place as we have been dreaming of it for so long since ‘Living with the familiar is one of the greatest needs of mankind.’
Starting with the detachment crisis to unfamiliar faces and a new environment, one could easily be engulfed under the darker clouds of depression and anxiety.
There are few things that new immigrants should start as soon as they land. First and foremost they should let go of their old life. Next, make a list of the things that to be taken care of immediately: accommodation and school, if you have children.
Second comes job search, this can include voluntary job as well. Also a short course or training in the preferred profession could benefit a lot for personal independent growth. If needed or required, a course in English language can also be very beneficial. All these steps will help to raise one’s confidence and emotional stability – a much needed asset in a foreign land.
On emotional level, husband and wife should spend as much time together as they can. Both the parties should make an effort to stabilize and restructure the bond necessary in a new environment. At every step check each other to maintain a positive outlook, particularly about the things that are difficult, and try to to find a positive solution to problems together.
Do one thing of interest together as regularly as possible, a walk or even shopping for grocery together can help maintain a stronger bond.
In order to integrate and feel at home, get to know your living area, like take a daily walk, discover the local markets. Make new friends, foreign and local, in order to get a closer feel of the culture and society. Never ever alienate yourself.
One must look after one’s own health and of the family too. A healthy body helps keep a healthy mind. Expect the fact that situation is stressful but neither of the partners are to be blamed.
Laugh more often. Daily contact with the family back home could be a comforting source in times of loneliness. But be aware of getting into a nostalgic slumber, as absence always makes the heart grow fonder. Remember the reason why you moved in the first place…chance for adventure, good living and better opportunities for the family … so and so forth.
Show tolerance to each other’s reaction. Men and women react to stress in a very different manner. As women would like to have a shoulder to cry their heart out, men would often like to go into their cave or rather be left alone and watch a game .
Stay connected with your partner irrespective of the fact how emotionally drained you feel. Once in a while a warm touch or hug is worth a thousand words.
Keep your expectations simple and realistic. Living through the day and achieving small goals could be a great booster for the future as well.
And last but not the least, as Goethe put it:
Things which matter most
Must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
About the author:
Farzana Nur is a qualified clinical psychologist and a family counselor in downtown Toronto.