How Stress Management Saved My New Life In Canada


Stress management will benefit anyone who isn’t feeling their best due to circumstances they can and cannot control.

Since moving to Canada in 2007 and starting a new life, I’ve had to learn how to cope with the stress of a new country.

Everyday stress, including financial anxiety, relationship stress, new parent stress and securing employment, can take its toll on anyone.

Today, I want to share my self-help journey, battling my way through a new life in a new country.

Stress management has been the saving grace in my life. Since moving to Canada in 2007 and starting a new life I've had to learn how to cope with the stress of a new country.
How stress management has helped me live my new life in Canada

New Country Stress Management

The minute I sold my house and belongings, I would stress out over the minor things.

I was 29 years old, married and moving to Canada, where my wife had lived all her life.

Can we say the stress in a bottle? I worked hard not to have a personal meltdown over my new life.

When I brought my computer engineering degree to be swapped to Canadian credits, I was told I needed a further three years of University education in Canada.

Already nervous, the last thing I wanted was to go back to school for three years, so I ditched the degree.

After an intense day of revamping my resume, I was ready to put my resume on the Canadian market.

I had all sorts of feelings running through my mind without any stress management goals until I broke.

  • Would someone look at my resume?
  • How would having no Canadian experience affect me?
  • Should I start at a minimum wage job to gain Canadian experience?
  • How would I help support both of us and potentially a future child?
  • Would we have enough money to purchase a home?
  • What if I don’t find a job that I like?
  • How much money did I need to earn to live in Canada?

Types Of Stress I Experience

I know that there are many types of stress and that we can have one or many forms.

Below are four types of stress I have had to deal with since I landed in Canada.

  • Mental Stress
  • Physical Stress
  • Work Stress
  • Family Stress

I want to say that I’ve challenged myself to change something in my life to fight my feelings.

Stress management does not come easy, but you must put your foot in front of the other and hit go.

The Stress of Finding A Job In Canada

I’m sure there were many more questions as I went to a downtown Toronto job interview.

Minutes into the interview, she asked me if I had Canadian experience, and I said no, I’m a new permanent resident.

She shook my hand and said that perhaps getting Canadian work experience first at the lower level will help me on my journey.

Then, she left the room. I could have dropped a pin. It was that silent in the room.

My jaw dropped briefly, and my heart was pounding because she didn’t even give me a chance.

I walked out of that room to get back on the bus to our rental room with despair and shock.

How was I going to manage the amount of stress I was already feeling?

It shocked me as much as it did my wife and family back home in the UK.

I went back to school, which was only part of one of the stress management tools I built.

Return To School Stress Management At Age 30

The next day I found myself taking a leap of faith and decided to return to school.

I knew that I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t train to be the new me in a new country in a field I loved.

I was 30 years old and enrolled myself in a 3-year program at a community college in a field I never dreamed possible.

I’ve never said what I do for a living for privacy reasons, but I can assure you it took me to a place I love.

Over the past three years, I’ve been finishing up my degree online to upgrade my college education for my employer.

It took me 15 years of living in Canada to earn a college diploma, a university degree (2022), and a life-long career I love to make over $100,000 plus a year.

Although I work in a union environment, I’m fortunate to have a defined benefit package.

I also earn money from the Canadian Budget Binder, helping others understand how budgeting has changed our lives.

Building Confidence In Myself

The best part is that I was confident that I could provide for my family, but it didn’t come easy.

If you aren’t aware, it took us five years to pay off our mortgage after saving as much money as possible.

Strangely enough, I took to couponing with Save.ca and learned as much as possible about Canada, including the financial aspects.

It was an arduous journey, one I expected as so many people believe Canada is the place of dreams.

I agree that Canada is a place where dreams come true that takes time, determination and belief in yourself.

That’s where things went wrong, but writing what stressed me out on paper was the first step.

It went from one stress to over twenty, and that’s when I needed to put the brakes on.

Both Mrs. CBB and I worked together to help get me over the hump of the country blues.

Stress Relief Comes In Many Ways

I wanted to make everyone happy and show them that everything is possible in life.

Below are many ways I took my stress relief to the next level to ease the feelings of swimming in a pond where nobody sees you.

  • Eat Healthily – Good food is essential to me, as is gardening in the spring, fall and summer.
  • Stay Offline – I removed myself from social media, including the blog, from time to time which has helped me see the other side of reality.
  • Learn Something New – I teach myself how to do something new, from renovating to savings opportunities in Canada. Creating the Canadian Budget Binder blog will always be my most significant achievement as I share our journey with all of you. It’s crazy how many ways there are available for Canadians to earn money and save money online.
  • Get Outside Daily – We go for walks every morning and evening, or I go alone for fresh air and communication. Often couples forget about the effectiveness of communication, including myself.
  • Take A Break – I would rarely take breaks as I become so focused on what I’m doing, especially with University and this blog. Now I take mental breaks to eat, drink or play with my family.
  • Read A Book – Although I enjoyed reading seven years ago after our son was born, I became a daily reader of children’s books. Our son, although Autistic, is one of the best readers in his grade 2 class—all of us going to the public library once a week has also given us all inner peace. There’s something about not talking or speaking low that helps keep me relaxed. We are currently working through Roald Dahl’s 15 Book Boxset reading Matilda.
  • Clean The House – I’ve been doing the laundry since we got married as it helps reduce my stress. I put lots of effort into cleaning clothes, hanging clothes and folding them KonMari style.
  • Minimize Stuff – We both needed to stop spending money on things we didn’t need in the house, even if they were cheap. For the past two summers, we have been reducing what we own by donating, garage sales or online selling websites. It feels good to live in a space free of stuff.
  • Call Friends and Family– Pick up the phone and call family and friends, or even better, go for a visit or meet up at a coffee shop or restaurant.
  • Meditate- I spend about 15 minutes every other day meditating alone and closing my mind to the world. Although I’d like to do it daily, I’m still working on this powerful medicine.
  • Sleep Schedule– Since I was stressed out, I wasn’t getting enough sleep, so I changed that. Every night we all go to bed at the same time. After our nightly shower at around 7 pm, we all get into bed, read books, and watch funny videos on YouTube. Bedtime is 8:30 pm until 6 am for Mrs. CBB and me. Our son gets up at 7:30 and sets his alarm on his Tablet by himself, and we use a large 60-minute visual countdown clock to help him manage his time.
  • Cook Or Bake– I love creating new meals, side dishes, drinks, bread and desserts. For the past few years, I’ve also been making keto recipes for Mrs. CBB. Together we share where we find the best keto products and update our Keto Costco Guide, which is very popular on the blog.
  • Using Stress Relief Tools– I use a stress ball, fidget spinner and a stress massager gun.
  • Organize Finances– I started working on finance when we rented a room and then designed the CBB Budget once this blog was off the ground. It has been a fantastic 10-year journey, although it has caused me to focus on stress management, mainly balancing my time between work, home life and blogging.
  • Time management is an ongoing battle for me, so I’ve reduced the number of blog posts I publish. I started blogging on CBB, believing I had to blog every day. Now I blog two to three times a week. Doing so allows me to create more informative posts and not stress about missing a day.
  • Start A Blog– Blogging at Canadian Budget Binder was the best medicine and the worst because I didn’t manage my time correctly. I’ve learned how to manage the blog that now earns over a five-figure income for our family.
  • Spend Time With Family– I spend more time with my family than scheduling fun times when it shouldn’t be that way. Every day after school, we spend two hours at the park with our son so he can play with his friends and make new friends without the stress of school. It has been a blast. We also go for walks and short trips throughout Ontario to see nature, farms and stuff that sounds interesting to do with the least cost.
  • Turn Up The Volume– Music has been an integral part of our lives as we often have something playing in the background at home. Like most people, music soothes the soul and allows us to feel the artist’s energy. Often I have my wireless earbuds on while I go for a walk or run.
  • Start A Bucket List– I did start a bucket list that included almost everything you see in this stress management list. It helped guide me; however, I realize that I won’t accomplish everything in a day, month or year. I also stop being so hostile and upset with myself if I don’t reach my goals.
  • Return To School– As mentioned, I returned to College to get a new diploma and furthered my education with a University degree after moving to Canada. Doing so helped me make friends, communicate better and learn more about how Canadians live daily. At the end of June, I will be finished and a University grad in Canada.
  • Talk To Your Doctor– Even though I went through many stress management tactics to reduce my anxiety about my new life in Canada, I needed to talk to our family doctor. She offered me free classes, through her clinic on stress management, access to a counsellor and medication. I’m happy to say I’ve been using her resources successfully, but the road is still rocky.

Please don’t give up like I wanted to when the stress became too much.

Fighting For A Happy Place In My Life

Although I’m not 100% symptom-free, who is?

Everyone experiences some form of daily stress, but when that stress doesn’t go away, it becomes a side of you that sits heavily on your shoulders.

At this point in my life, I feel I have things under control, but with the recent diagnosis of our son’s Autism, I worry about his future.

I’ve channelled my stress to a good place, but now Mrs. CBB and I are feeling worn down at times.

Even though he is on medication and it works, he still is very active, and I teach him at home what he doesn’t understand at school.

Being parents to an Autistic child has put us in situations we’ve never experienced before that are stressful.

There have also been so many appointments we’ve had to either visit or Zoom has been overwhelming.

My entire world has changed, and how I see people, whether strangers, friends, family and colleagues.

When something I see or hear is off, I think about our son and what people might think of him.

I no longer say, “What’s wrong with that person?” because there are infinite reasons why people do what they do.

Take Stress Management One Day At A Time

All I want to say to anyone battling stress, whether new to Canada or not, is to take it one day at a time.

Write down why you feel stressed and tackle them one by one, and it may not be in the order you jot them down.

Find your path, and along the way, don’t let anything keep you knocked down.

As I did at the Toronto interview, don’t let others who judge you get the best of you.

Talk To Your Doctor For Stress Management Resources

At any time you feel that your stress symptoms are out of control, talk to your doctor.

Don’t be shy and tell your doctor everything you feel so they can assist you with available resources.

Yes, I take anti-depression pills and am waiting to talk to a counsellor from my doctor’s office.

So if I go offline once in a while, just know that I’m working hard on the other end to improve things.

Giving this blog the best of me is all I want and what I will provide through personal experiences.

Take care,

Mr. CBB

Discussion: What types of stress have you battled or continue to battle? How have you been working on conquering them? Please leave words of encouragement and your personal stories below.

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