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Holiday stress can inflict depression
Bryan Herriman

The gift-giving, house-decorating, family-visiting season has begun and with it many now face a state of depression that’s often blamed on the holidays.

For the next several weeks stretching past the welcoming of a new year, there will be severe periods of depression experienced by many in the local community, said Bryan Herriman of CHEER Mental Health, an agency of Volunteer Behavioral Health, a nonprofit that provides mental health services to 31 counties in Tennessee.

Herriman said while we often are tempted to blame the season for these periods of depression, the blame can in truth be squarely placed on a number of other issues.

The loss of a close relative in recent months, a break-up in a relationship, a divorce, a troubled child, financial woes and other matters that seriously impact a person’s emotions can shake one’s mental stability, according to Herriman.

However, he notes there are measures that can be taken to help battle depression during this time of year. 

High on Herriman’s help list is preparing yourself to manage your own self-imposed expectations.

Look closely, he advises, at what’s expected and what’s reasonable for you to do in the space, time, or financial status that is currently present in your life.

Don’t try to be at all places at once. It’s unreasonable. Forget trying to attend all events during the holidays. Go to several if you must and stay a short while or pick and choose the ones most important to you. Trying to do them all will only deplete your energy and encourage fatigue.

Don’t try to recreate a holiday activity you once enjoyed with a recently deceased relative. Instead find new traditions. Look for friends or relatives who may be experiencing your same feelings or circumstance and find new ways to celebrate the holidays by creating new traditions.

Don’t overspend on gifts that will result in creating havoc with your personal financial budget leaving you dreading the influx of bills in January. Spend wisely and don’t overspend.

Herriman urges to practice these few suggestions for a happier holiday experience.

For more information about depression or to seek professional help, contact Volunteer Behavioral Health at or call (877) 567-6051.