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Last week, I dropped my kids off at my parents’ house so I could work for a few hours.

“Do you want to help me take the Christmas ornaments off the tree?” my mom asked my preschooler as he tromped inside. At three years old, he loves being a helper, whether by raking leaves or sweeping up his little brother’s projectile Cheerios. This particular job, however, was far less appealing.

“No!” he replied, horrified. “The Christmas ornaments have to stay on the tree!”

He’s not the only one still clinging to the remnants of the holidays. The magic of Christmas and the sparkle of New Year’s fade quickly even in the most ordinary of times: without anything to look forward to but the distant prospect of spring, we’re often left feeling lethargic and forlorn. In a year marked by a pandemic and political upheaval, however, the cold feels even colder, the darkness even darker.

This week at Verily, we’re focusing on braving this season’s darkness, both literally and figuratively. One author explains how writing letters to herself gave her both perspective and a creative outlet. Another writes about leaning into—and growing from—suffering. A piece by one therapist explains why and how to reevaluate your goals, while another discusses how to know when you might benefit from therapy. And if you too are dreading taking down your Christmas decorations: look for articles on bringing January cheer to your workspace, adding light and warmth to your home, and celebrating winter in its own right.

The days are getting longer, even if it doesn’t feel that way yet. As we muddle through crisis after crisis, take heart: the light is coming.