My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style” (Maya Angelou).

As the Winter holidays are upon us, I begin to think about the phrase surviving the holidays. Greenberg Research (2006) concluded that holidays bring about an increase in stress levels in approximately 40% of us (higher for women than for men). How can we survive holiday parties, family gatherings, dinners out and this busy season filled with events, festivities, fun and food? Our routines change and priorities shift, but the secret is to look at it as flourishing, not floundering and finding strategies to put this into practise.

The script needs to change. A holiday is an opportunity to journey within. We must not survive the holidays, but we must look at it as thriving in the holidays. Thrive by eating delicious food that makes you feel happy. Thrive by keeping busy and adding in a workout or two that are powered by that great food. Thrive by having an afternoon nap, stopping to watch a movie or even enjoy a night out. Studies have shown that when you flourish, you’re able to feel good and function effectively (McQuaid, 2014). Holidays therefore must be driven by the things we love to do – being with family and friends, eating well, moving and resting at the right times and opportunities. Through this approach, we will all thrive – not just survive – the Winter Break!


Greenberg, A. & Berktold, J. (2006). Holiday Stress Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research online accessed 2 May, 2023,
McQuaid, M. (2014). 5 Ways to Thrive during the Holidays: How to feel consistently jolly any time of the year Psychology Today online accessed 2 May, 2023,
Sisson, M. (2022). A Primal Take on the Holidays: Surviving or Thriving? Mark’s Daily Apple online accessed 2 May, 2023,
Surv…Actually, Thrive during the holidays. (2019). Woodshed Strength online accessed 2 May, 2023,

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