The holiday season, stretching from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, has arrived. Music, movies, and traditional stories set expectations, that are difficult to ignore, that this time of year will and should be filled with only happiness, love, laughter, and warm family reunions. Radio stations play only holiday music or intersperse holiday music with their traditional programming. Television programming emphasizes the holidays in the story lines of its regular shows, in the content of commercials, and in the movies which are broadcast specifically during this time of year. Retail stores are decorated for the holidays, while holiday music plays in the background. And, the internet continually pops up ads which reflect the holiday theme. It can feel as if there is no escape from the message that this must be the happiest time of the year. But, reality frequently is not in sync with these societal messages. Holidays can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Some individuals feel alone due to the end of a relationship, the death of a family member, or a relocation. Others experience financial stress. For many, the holidays bring up memories of unpleasant past experiences. So, while society pressures people to look forward to this season, many people anticipate this time of year with dread. If you are someone who feels sadness during the holidays, know that this feeling is normal and common. For now, take a break, take a breath, and know that it is okay if you are not looking forward to the coming month. This blog over the next few weeks will provide tips to help you find peace during this time of year and support that you are not alone in your feelings.