Moving to a new country can be very difficult. In addition to regular family responsibilities, you have many new things you need to do, like learning a new language and getting a job. Most people new to the United States also have worries about money. Some may be worried about the safety of their loved ones. These difficulties and worries create stress in the body and mind. If stress is not managed, it can impact your health, well-being, and relationships.  


Coping skills are the ways people manage stress. There are two types of coping skills: 

  • Negative Coping Skills – These are things we do that are unhealthy like alcohol, drugs, overeating, sleeping too much, and isolating from others.  
  • Positive Coping Skills – These are things we do that are healthy to clear our head or calm our body. 

When we have a lot of stress in our lives, it is important to avoid negative coping skills and use positive coping skills to stay healthy for ourselves and our loved ones.  


Getting Started Using Coping Skills 

First, find what coping skill or skills work for you. Common coping skills include: 

  • Exercise like walking, running, biking, dancing, or going to the gym 
  • Deep breathing exercises 
  • Practicing mindfulness  
  • Stretching 
  • Prayer or meditation 
  • Writing in a journal 
  • Drawing, painting, or sketching 
  • Connecting with others 

Ask yourself, what do I already do that makes me feel calmer, at peace, or gives me strength?  

If you cannot think of anything, you may want to try something new.  


Second, schedule 5 to 15 minutes daily to use the coping skill you selected for one week. This may be when you first get up, after dinner, or before you go to bed. Set an alarm on your phone or on a clock to remind you it is time to use the skill. It may be hard to find the time, but if you don’t schedule time, you are less likely to use these skills.  


Third, use the coping skill you selected. Pay attention to how you felt before using the skill and how you felt after. Did you see any difference?  


Fourth, at the end of the week, take some time to reflect. How did it feel to do these exercises for a week? Would you like to continue with the coping skill you chose, use another one, or rotate several?  


When we have a lot of stress, it takes extra effort to care for ourselves. This means getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and eating well. It also means taking a few minutes daily to clear our heads and calm our bodies. Even five minutes a day can make a big difference in our health and well-being.