Why I don’t want to survive the holidays

The holiday season is upon us.

surviving the holidays

For me, this is what the holidays are truly about.

Every time I turn on the computer I see articles and posts and Tweets about ‘surviving’ it.

Surviving the stress. Surviving the food. Surviving the ‘busy’. Surviving with our waistlines and pocketbooks and sanity intact.

While most of these writers mean well (and are full of tips to help you stay on track with your regular fitness and nutrition plan), I can’t help but feeling sad each time I see the word SURVIVE.

To me, ‘surviving’ means barely keeping my head above water. Doing the have-to’s not the want-to’s. Looking to the future in the hopes that it’ll soon be over. A mindset of endurance rather than abundance.

I don’t want to just survive the holidays. I want to embrace them and enjoy the time spent with family and friends. I want to slow down and be more present.

I want to sample the food and drink that only makes an appearance this time of the year. I want to celebrate and sing and dance without worry and guilt and shame.

And without the need to make New Years Resolutions around fitness and food.

I don’t want to survive the holidays. I want to THRIVE through the holidays.

For me, thriving means:

  • sticking to my regular exercise schedule; exercise helps control appetite and stress and often results in better food choices for the remainder of the day. When I exercise, my body releases a flood of endorphins that make me feel happy and at peace with the world.
  • allowing myself to sample seasonal food and drink without guilt and recrimination; reminding myself that wine and sweet treats are available year-round reduces the need to over-indulge during the holiday season. Remember that it’s not the choices you make between Thanksgiving and New Years that make you gain weight, but the habits your adopt between New Years and Thanksgiving… The key word here is ‘sample’!
  • making sleep a priority; with late night parties and social events increasing in frequency it’s easy to let sleep slide. Yet maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is instrumental in keeping mid-life pounds at bay via its effect on your body’s production of stress hormone. Leaving the party early allows me to always enjoy the morning after.
  • not accepting every invitation I receive; there’s nothing worse than attending a social gathering out of a sense of obligation. Going because you feel like you have to not because you want to. For me, limiting my “yes’s” during the holidays ensures that when I do go out my friends and family get to spend time with ‘happy and engaged’ me. And when I’m happy and engaged, I tend to spend a lot less time near the food and drinks table 😉
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for ‘thriving’ during the holiday season!






  1. quiet reader but I had to comment. THANK YOU for this post. So true and so fitting. I will work hard to keep that in mind…routine, balance, fun and just THRIVE.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Hoping you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

  2. Love this post Tamara. It is so true rush through the days. My son is 9. I am pretty sure this is the last year we have Santa for him. He is most definitely on the edge. I want to enjoy my last holiday season where it is all still magical and he wants to spend his time with his family more than anyone else.
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    • And you’ve just made me think of something else. I don’t want my kids’ memories of the holidays to include memories of mom being stressed and not enjoying the Xmas cookies!

  3. I definitely agree! While I understand the holidays are a hard time for some people, I am actually really tired of seeing posts about “how to enjoy the holidays but not gain weight” type of thing. I guess my schedule just doesn’t change that much during the holidays and if anything I get extra time since I travel to my in-laws every year in the middle of no where. So all I’m left to do is what I want!
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    • And it’s really such a recent, first-world problem, isn’t it? I’ve been thinking about this perspective a lot lately…
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday!

  4. What a refreshing perspective!
    Coco recently posted…Runner’s Gratitude ListMy Profile

  5. YES! Thank you! I get so sick of hearing people talk about not indulging at the holidays…it’s one of the best parts of the season I think…baking cookies that I normally wouldn’t, meeting girlfriends for apps and wine after work, sampling punch at a party, etc. Loved this post!
    Christine @ We Run Disney recently posted…Dear Santa, please bring me…..My Profile

    • Thanks so much for your comments Christine. I love baking (and EATING) Christmas cookies with my kids. Who knows how much longer they’ll be interested in it!

  6. Absolutely agree Tamara! Aren’t holidays supposed to be about celebrating and spending time with family and friends and enjoying ourselves? Definitely not surviving! I know that I fall in to this trap so thank you for the reminder!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Changing the Rules of Running with the Zero RunnerMy Profile

  7. You voiced what I have felt: that the holidays are a joyous time, not a time to get through. I love the foods, family, friends, season, anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am glad when my daughter and husband are around more with school and work off. And I look forward to friends – ahem – visiting!
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  8. AS I have written elsewhere – one of the biggest learnings I had with weight loss was how to balance life & enjoy & not worry about it. Enjoy & move on!!!! 🙂
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  9. I’ve never like the word “survive” when used with anything- except maybe getting through my Master’s degree while working full time and being a ballet mom at the same time. Those 18 months just about killed me! I embrace them too! pace yourself!
    cherylann recently posted…Do you? Would you?My Profile

    • Ha, ha! I do remember thinking that grad school was a bit of a survival challenge…
      Pacing yourself is a great tip. Hope you’re having a wonderful Thanksgiving Cheryl!

  10. So true…I am actually taking the week off of Christmas from working out, so that I can rest my body, enjoy time with family and friends, and just BE present in the moment, since it does only come once a year. I’m tired of seeing these posts as well. Why can’t we just enjoy this time of year, because it is so beautiful! 🙂
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  11. I’m also really tired of seeing posts about how to “survive” the holidays. Just enjoy them. Or if you’re not into all the festivities, don’t feel bad about declining invitations. I sure don’t!
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