Coping with Immigration Stress
Everybody experiences stress at some point in their lives, and there are many ways to manage stress in healthy, productive ways. Immigrant communities experience unique causes of stress due to their circumstances. There are also differences in the stress experienced by legal permanent residents, refugees, and undocumented immigrants.
Pre-migration stress can be caused by experiences of threats to someone’s home environment, financial challenges, or other political and social conditions. Migration itself presents many challenges which can manifest themselves in an experience of severe and chronic stress. These experiences can be both mental and physical and have to do with relationships and social standing in terms of legality and other potentially oppressive factors.
Here are some tips for coping with the stress associated with any type of immigration:
- Take care of yourself physically. Exercise is proven to relieve stress and has many other health benefits.
- Take care of yourself mentally. There is no shame in seeking out counseling services, even if you’re not sure about it: give it a try!
- Build community. Forming friendships and other relationships can allow you to discuss your experiences and alleviate some of the tension or stress you may carry around.
Yakushko, O., Watson, M. & Thompson, S. Int J Adv Counselling (2008) 30: 167. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-008-9054-0