Stress is the physical, emotional, or psychological strain from feeling threatened or under pressure. You can experience stress because of life events like a wedding, divorce or an upcoming test, or daily life like caring for children and working. 


Stress can be good or bad. 


Good stress keeps us safe, motivates us, encourages us to change, or helps us focus. For example, good stress can motivate us to study harder for a test or run faster in a race. 


Bad stress is the kind that makes it harder for us to function, leaves us exhausted, and makes us feel overwhelmed. Over time, bad stress can also negatively affect our health, including raising blood pressure, weight gain, and heart disease. 


After coming to a new country, people have many kinds of stress. There may be new opportunities, connections, and possibilities. There are also many challenges, including worries about loved ones, paying bills, and learning a language. 


Common reactions to stress include poor sleep, headaches, stomach aches, irritability, fatigue, trouble concentrating, trouble remembering, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed.  Managing stress can help people function better and protect their health. There are many things that you can do to manage stress: 


Take Breaks from the News – Events in your home country can cause stress. It’s OK to take breaks from the news. Only watch or read the news for a certain amount of time each day, and make sure not to watch the news at least two hours before bedtime. Try to avoid violent images or videos. 


Release Tension from Your Body – You can release tension through exercise, stretching, or deep breathing. When you do these activities, it signals to your body that you are safe and not under threat. These practices help your body return to calm. 

Get Enough Sleep – Sleep is one of the most important things you can do to help your body return to calm and repair itself. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will help your body get into a sleep routine. Avoid caffeine, spicy food, and electronics at least two hours before bed for a better night’s sleep. 


Take Time to Do Something Stress-Free and Relaxing – Spend time with loved ones, watch a movie, cook, sing, or do anything that is pleasurable to you. 

Know When You May Need More Support – Reach out for more support if you feel stressed most of the day for weeks, the stress is making it hard to function, or the stress makes you feel like life is not worth living. You can reach out to a doctor, talk to a religious leader, or contact a resettlement caseworker if you have one. They can tell you about the types of help that may be available to you.  You can also call 9-8-8 or your local crisis line for more support.  

To learn more about seeking support, read this Help Center article: