Weekly Wellness: Say "no" to holiday stress

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COLUMBIA - It was so much easier when we were kids, right? The holidays were so simple! All we had to do was make it through classes until it was time for holiday break!

As we have gotten older, our holiday "to do" lists get bigger and longer and more extensive and more stressful. These days it seems like the holidays are more about avoiding stress than enjoyment. Bah humbug.

What can we do to limit our stress and increase our smiles? WebMD has a little list to consider that may help to cut down on the negativity that can (unfortunately) tarnish our sparkly holiday:

Say No to Parties That You Don't Want to Attend. Repeat after me: "I'm sorry but I already have plans for that day." It's easy, it's polite and it could help to keep your sanity intact. So many people find themselves over-committed at this time of the year.

Say No to Out-of-Control Gift-Giving. In my family, we get anyone under the age of 18 a gift and then the adults all do a white elephant gift exchange.

Say No to Unwanted House Guests. This can be a tough one (especially if you're the one with the big house). But extra cleaning, extra cooking, and extra bodies in the house can create lots of extra stress. Offer to send a list of area hotels to them.

Say No to Taking On the Work for a Big Holiday Celebration. Invite dinner guests to bring a potluck dish, buy the rolls instead of making them from scratch, or, heck, go to a restaurant!

Stress is no fun - and can be bad for your health. If at any time during this holiday season (or any season) if you begin to feel overwhelmed, depressed and/or overly-stressed, don't feel ashamed of seeking professional help from a physician or a mental health professional.