Moving to a new country is one of the most exciting, yet stressful times of someone’s life. The uncertainty of living somewhere new, the finances required to make such a big move and the challenge of learning a new language all contribute to the stress of the experience. One thing that can be easily overlooked is climate and how important adjusting to your new temperature norm is. A big climate change can place stress on your body both physically and mentally. In Canada, we have four very distinct seasons that require some getting used to. Here’s a few tips on how to ease into a new climate.
Adjust Your Wardrobe:
If you’ve never owned a heavy winter jacket or mittens, now is the time to invest in some good outerwear. This seems self-explanatory, right? There is a catch: wait until you’re in your new country to buy a lot of these items. A store in a sunny climate such as Las Vegas is not going to have the items necessary to keep you warm during a Canadian winter, such as a child’s snowsuit. Winter gear is also expensive. Winter coats range from $60 to $75 at the lowest end, to $800 at the very highest end. When you choose to buy your winter gear also matters, because many stores have run low on stock by end of January. Be sure to try second-hand stores, such as Value Village or Talize, for good deals on gently used clothes.
Ensure Your Driving Skills are Up to Par:
You may have excellent driving skills when it comes to favourable temperatures, but what about ice and snow? Driving in inclement weather requires a whole new skill-set to get around safely. Once you’ve got a licence to drive in your new country, you can take some winter-driving lessons to help you get started. To legally drive a car in Canada, you’ll need a driver’s licence issued by the government of your province or territory. You must have it with you whenever you’re driving. With it, you can drive anywhere in Canada.
If you have a valid licence from your home country, you’ll probably be able to use this to drive in Canada for a short time after you arrive. Check here for more details: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/new-immigrants/new-life-canada/driving.html
Canadian summers can be very hot and humid, depending on where you relocate to in the country. Make sure you’re prepared for this by keeping hydrated and by staying in central air conditioning as much as possible. This is especially true for seniors, who don’t always recognize the signs of dehydration and can get very ill from the heat. As an aside, keep in mind that it’s expensive to heat and cool a home. Many countries may not have central heating or cooling, so the first bill may come as a shock when it first comes in.
Watch for Signs of SAD
If you are used to living in a country with a lot of sunlight, you may find the fall and winter months difficult in Canada. Some people develop a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a type of depression that’s related to the change of the seasons and less sunlight. Treatment may include light therapy, medications and psychotherapy. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), it’s not uncommon to have highs of 30 degrees Celsius in the summer, with high humidity and sun. Lows can drop down to 10 or 12 degrees Celsius at night.
Symptoms of SAD include:
- Weight loss
- Lack of concentration
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Low energy
Platinum Suites, like all condominiums in Mississauga, have central heating and cooling and does its best to make life as comfortable as possible. See our website at www.platinumsuites.ca for more information on what we have to offer and to schedule a stay.
By Lisa Marie Brennan