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Holiday money blues? Make a list, go for walks, forgive yourself

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Kathy Walliser, a great friend, mother, and co-worker, believed in making a list and going for a walk when facing a dilemma, or a difficult choice. Her advice would work well for Capital Region families looking for ways to start fresh financially at the Christmas season, but stuck feeling badly about past mistakes.

Kathy had survived an alcoholic husband with a bad gambling habit who left her one night, never to return, leaving her to raise three small children. How did she get through it all? She got out of bed every day, and took one step at a time. She had three mouths to feed.

The holiday season has its joys, but for many, the combination of year-end thinking and a sense of being overwhelmed by the prospects of a new year can bring on feelings of depression. And, given an economy that has never fully recovered from the 2008 meltdown to restore jobs and security to the middle class, apprehension should be considered normal.

What would Kathy do?

  1. Let go of guilt over past decisions gone bad. Ever make a bad investment, rack up too much debt, loan money to someone who will never pay it back? We've all made bad financial decisions. To wipe the slate clean, write them down. Then forgive yourself.
  2. Pick the top three mistakes you've made and write down how you would change them. Or just write down: forgiven.
  3. Start to put a plan in place. Sit down with a trusted friend or professional to discuss things like a budget, a savings plan, or paying off debt. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed.
  4. Take small, baby steps. We don't benefit by going to the gym seven times on Sunday. However, taking a 30-minute walk, three times a week, is perhaps more beneficial, say doctors.
  5. Similarly, when it all seems overwhelming, put on your sneakers and just go for a walk. The exercise will help as will just getting a change of scenery. It works.

Take the advice of a woman, not famous, not rich, who won the endearing love of her children by making small, steady, positive steps to better herself and her family.

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