The holiday season can be a chance to relax and celebrate with the people you love but can also be very taxing. Post-holiday stress can linger long after the presents are opened and the decorations taken down. Build up of stress can cause physical and mental issues that do not automatically disappear on January 1.
Stress is the physical and emotional reaction of demanding situations, obligations and changes. It is necessary for survival, motivating individuals to complete tasks but over time, excessive stress can become a threat to one’s immune system and overall mental and physical well-being.
Those lower in socioeconomic status, such as the patients at the Neighborhood Health Clinic, tend to face greater stressors including constant shortage of money, dangerous or unhealthy living situations, and the overall feeling of not being in control of one’s life. Add that to the post-holiday stress and January can be an overwhelming time.
Patients qualified for services at the Neighborhood Health Clinic are eligible for consultation with an experienced and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. If a patient is exhibiting signs of extreme stress or depression or has been diagnosed with a profound medical condition, they are referred to the social services program. The social workers meet with patients in 30 minute time frames to provide information about resources and emotional support. When therapy or counseling is deemed appropriate, patients are referred to resources in the community and are encouraged to practice stress relieving activities.
“With the addition of a social services program, we are now able to look at the person as a whole, which includes emotional health and the effects it has on physical well-being. The social services program provides an opportunity to improve the quality of life for our patients,” states Raquel Gonzalez, licensed clinical social worker at the Neighborhood Health Clinic.
Exercise is considered the most effective way to manage stress providing an outlet for negative emotions and producing positive biochemical changes in the body. Listening to music, breathing exercises, journaling and talking with friends are also effective ways to manage stress. However, it may be necessary to speak to a professional to manage excessive and / or prolonged stress.