Expert Tips to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

Doctors across NewYork-Presbyterian offer their advice on how to be safe, healthy, and happy this winter.

Advice From a Psychiatrist

Stay in the Moment

“Family engagements can be difficult. We must be mindful of staying in the here and now, experiencing with open hearts the people in front of us and not the memories that are behind us. That constant reframing will allow us to enjoy ourselves at family gatherings and be present for new opportunities for discovery, enjoyment, and love.”

Dr. Philip J. Wilner
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer,
NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center

Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medicine

Advice From an Obstetrician-Gynecologist

Give Yourself Grace

“The holidays can be extremely stressful for new parents, especially those still recovering from the physical demands of pregnancy and delivery. Create space and time for self-care. Accept that with a newborn, it’s impossible to stick to a strict schedule so don’t worry about meeting every holiday obligation.”

Dr. Devon Rupley
NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Columbia University
Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

Advice From an Orthopedist

Watch Your Step

“When climbing a ladder to deal with lights and decorations, make sure you wear grippy shoes. Also, don’t climb above the second-to-highest rung. That way if you lose your balance, you can brace yourself against the ladder instead of reaching for something beyond the ladder, which puts you at an even higher risk of falling and injury.”

Dr. Elan Goldwaser
NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester
Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

Advice From a Neurologist

Stick to a Routine

“Try to keep to your regular habits as much as possible. With the holidays, people have different schedules, but don’t sleep in. When you sleep in, you may throw off your circadian rhythm, and you want to try to keep a consistent schedule as much as possible. That includes getting exercise, getting outside, and getting sunlight in the morning.”

Dr. Daniel Barone
NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center
Associate Professor of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medicine

Advice From a Psychiatrist

Be Open With Feelings

“In this season of giving, let’s remember who brings us love and joy and make sure that we let them know how much they mean to us. Giving ‘presence’ not just ‘presents’ lets people know that we are thinking about them in our hearts, and they are gifts in our lives. Holidays can be happy, but they can also be times when we miss loved ones. If you are feeling sad, reach out and talk to someone and share your feelings. You will find that you aren’t alone and others may feel the same way and can support you.”

Dr. Warren Ng
Medical Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health,
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Director of Clinical Services, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital
Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

Advice from a Cardiologist

Beware of Holiday Heart

“A single binge-drinking session in an otherwise young and healthy individual can lead to an episode of cardiac arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation, which occurs due to a short circuit of the electrical system in the top chambers of the heart. This leads to a rapid and erratic heart rhythm that can sometimes present with palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath. This has earned the name ‘Holiday Heart’ because we tend to consume more alcohol during this time of year. Enjoy the parties, but go easy on alcohol and drink plenty of water!”

Dr. Ali Haider
NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group Queens

Advice From an Oncologist

Listen to Your Body

“Avoid the unnecessary stress that is often associated with holiday planning. Instead, spend time with loved ones who bring you peace, doing the things you enjoy the most. I advise listening to your body and not overexerting yourself. Don’t punish yourself if you overindulge. If you’re undergoing treatment, ask your medical team if it’s possible to make concessions, so that you can be fully present to enjoy the special moments.”

Dr. Evelyn Taiwo
NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine (Interim), Weill Cornell Medicine

Advice From a Gastroenterologist

Practice Mindful Eating

“Plan what and how much you are going to eat ahead of time to help yourself stick to reasonable portions during the holidays. Try not to skip meals before big holiday dinners, as being very hungry can make it easier to overeat. Eat slowly to allow your stomach time to sense how full it is, and make sure to drink plenty of water with meals as this will both help prevent overeating and keep things moving after the meal.”

Dr. William Blackett
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
NewYork-Presbyterian Ambulatory Care Network
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

Advice from a Primary Care Physician

Make Time to Work Out

“During the holidays, when it’s challenging to stick to a diet and exercise regimen, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that one bad meal, or one bad day, negates the entire effort. Do the best you can to get regular exercise: Aim for 75 minutes a week of jogging or cycling; or do 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week. Every little bit of effort, every little bit of ‘doing the right thing’ counts.”

Dr. Michael Ford
NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group Hudson Valley

Advice from a Pediatrician

Stay Protected

“During the winter holidays, we want to continue keeping our children healthy and safe both indoors and outside. Inside, one of the biggest hazards are radiators and other sources of heat. Keeping the ovens locked and using safety covers for radiators can help prevent burns and other accidents. Outside, remember to wear safety gear, especially helmets, when going to do snow activities. The most important consideration as we celebrate the holidays is protecting children, especially young babies, from viral infections such as COVID-19, RSV, and influenza. Hand-washing, staying home when sick, and keeping updated with vaccines make a difference.”

Dr. Vincent Patrick Tiu Uy
Assistant Director of Clinical Services, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital
Assistant Professor in Clinical Pediatrics and in Emergency Medicine,
Weill Cornell Medicine

Advice from a Rehab Medicine Specialist

Maintain Good Posture

“During the holidays, you may find yourself spending a lot of time sitting at dinner tables, so be mindful of how you sit. Make sure your upper back is not rounded or hunched forward. Instead try to recline. If the table is too low, elevate your plate. If the table is too high, sit on a few extra pillow cushions to elevate yourself to maintain a more neutral spine posture while eating. After eating, going for a brisk walk can aid with digestion and relieve pressure on your spine after prolonged sitting.”

Dr. Michelle Chi
Och Spine at NewYork-Presbyterian
Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine

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