Six Ways to Stay Well During Finals and Winter Break

Reminders and opportunities for students to care for and support their well-being as the semester and year wraps.

Melanie Bernitz
December 04, 2023

Dear Students, 

We know this has been tough semester for many. With finals just around the corner closely followed by winter recess and holiday gatherings, we at Columbia Health are reaching out with six ways you can take care of yourself during this time, as well as the Columbia Health resources available to support your health and well-being throughout. 

Remember: Columbia Health is open through most of winter break, and many of our services can be accessed even if you are not in New York. If you need care, please make an appointment or call us for any urgent concerns (24/7). 

1. Take a break.  

Penciling in time for breaks can help you better cope with stress and give you a moment to recharge before moving on to the next task.   
📍 Virtual Reducing & Managing Stress workshop tomorrow, Tue. Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m.  
📍 Dog Therapy Alice! Health Promotion and Columbia PEREC next Tue. Dec. 12 at 2 p.m.  

2. Prioritize rest and meals. 

Getting enough quality sleep, the type that leaves you feeling rested when you wake up, is a key component to academic performance (among other parts of life). Additionally, eating balanced meals that fuel your body are key to maintaining energy levels. 

📍 Virtual Time Management workshop this Wed. Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. 
📍 Virtual Sleep 101 workshop this Thu. Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m. 
📍 Consult the 1440 worksheet  

3. Talk to someone.  

If you feel overwhelmed, you might consider asking a classmate, faculty member, adviser, or a Columbia Health provider to lend an ear – we’re here to help each other.  

📍 Virtual drop-in with an Alice! Health Promotion specialist  
📍Urgent mental health concerns drop-in  
📍Problem-solving/ coping skills drop-in 
📍 Check out free online resources for coping with distress 

4. Get the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 booster.

In light of holiday gatherings and increased time indoors due to cold weather, cases of flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory viruses are expected to rise. If you haven’t done so yet, get the flu vaccine (flu season typically runs from November to May) and an up-to-date COVID-19 booster from a nearby pharmacy, city-run vaccination center, or at Columbia Health (limited availability).

5. Continue practicing essential prevention hygiene, especially during travel and holiday gatherings. 

Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, cough/sneeze into your elbow, and stay home if you’re not feeling well. 
📍 Make sure you have all travel-related needs and resources (e.g. medications, vaccinations, health insurance, etc.). 

6. Get help when you need it.  

In New York: 

Please check for up-to-date schedules or make an appointment. 24/7 phone support is also available for urgent concerns, even during holidays:  

  • urgent medical concerns, call 212-854-7426 

  • urgent mental health concerns, call 212-854-2878 

  • support for sexual assault or other forms of gender-based violence, call 212-854-4357 

Wherever you are in the U.S. or across the globe: 

All full-time students, international students, and students on the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan have healthcare coverage while traveling across the U.S. and around the world.   
📍 Traveling Near or Far? Know Your Insurance Benefits webinar on Thu. Dec. 7 at 2 p.m.  

Thank you for the steps you continue to take to keep yourselves and our community safe and healthy. We wish everyone continued success at the close of the fall term and a safe and healthy winter season.  

With care for our community,  

 Melanie J. Bernitz, M.D., M.P.H. 
Senior Vice President, Columbia Health  
Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine (in the Center for Family and Community Medicine)