The Immigrant Life is a community of and for immigrants. As you move to a new country and try to build a home and career one aspect of your life often gets neglected and you tend to pay attention only when the need arises. Your health. When we are working hard to make ends meet, trying to find a foothold in new jobs, our mental stress and physical strain takes a toll on our wellbeing.
Many immigrants are choosing to make Canada their new home. We bring a diverse population and culture to Canada and to make the contribution to build this country and our lives better, we have to be healthy.
Immigration is a monumental decision of our lives that comprises of a number of transitions – from physical to emotional. We leave behind our social networks and careers and immerse ourselves in a new social structure and professional milieu. This transition is often disrupted by uncertainties that makes our lives precarious. It is not just the physical situation that impacts our lives, immigrants go through series of mental health issues that could be compounded by language barrier, feeling of isolation due to lack of community, alienated by culture or generally feeling like they don’t belong to the new society they adopted etc. that makes immigrants more vulnerable. How can we prepare ourselves for the unpredictability and build resilience?
A Canadian Medical Protective Association report from 2016 states that, though immigrants to Canada initially exude good health but that declines rapidly. “However, the health of immigrants generally tends to worsen over time to match that of the general population.”
Over the past one year, everyone around the world has suffered due to the pandemic and it is creating impact in our lives too. On this World Health Day, we want you to think of your health and of your loved ones. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Move your body. As cliché as it sounds, it is important to be physically active. Jump, dance, stretch, take up yoga or play indoors.
- Do not inundate yourself in the news or the flood of information. While it is good to be aware about the going-ons, the information barrage should not take over your life. Give yourself a break.
- Eat healthy. Make sure that you do not over-consume processed food and make it a priority to eat wholesome food balanced with fruits and vegetables.
- Make sleeping a priority. While we are home most of the time, sleep is getting increasingly disturbed, and we tend to overlook it. Sleep is as important as eating healthy and exercising for our immune system to function properly.
- Detox digitally. Give yourself a break from the internet noise and spend time on self-reflection. Do things you love – reading, cooking, singing, dancing, praying, playing.
- Connect over conversations. Have meaningful conversations with people, virtually and discuss issues that you are passionate about or the mundane.
- Get out in nature. Go for a walk or hike, with friends or family or pets who are in your bubble.
- Stay connected with your faith-based organizations.
- Remain aware of your emotions, your fears and find an outlet for them either by seeking counselling, journaling or speaking to your friends and family members. Ask for help when you feel you need it by reaching out to organizations around you.
- Do not fall for drugs or alcohol that can provide you momentary ease.
- Unwind. Whether it is with music, books or by rearranging your drawers, painting the walls or playing games. Find what diminishes your stress.
If you need a community to reach out to, The Immigrant Life is here for you.
Join the community.