As we approach the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, we feel the velvety weight of darkness ushering us into hibernation. Winter is coming, and with it, a primal need to rest, restore, and reflect. Yet, just when we should be slowing down, we instead speed up for the holiday season.

Even the most festive occasions and best-laid plans can feel stressful this time of year.

When my son was two-years-old, I looked forward to my family’s annual holiday gathering with mounting anticipation. Exhausted from motherhood (and toddlerhood), I couldn’t wait for a trip to the mountains—and the support and comfort of my parents and older siblings. I really needed a break.

There was a break, but not one anybody would hope for. On the second day of our getaway, my sister broke her leg skiing. She underwent an extensive surgery with multiple plates and screws. She was traumatized. We all were. Barely holding it together, I felt as though I might shatter, just like my sister’s bones.

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