In the past couple of weeks my emotions have been the cause for most of my shopping urges. Some times I was able to accept the emotions and avoid trying to fix them by shopping. Other times were more difficult, and I ended up trying to shop my way around my feelings . But there were other moments, when I’m feeling good and I’m just going about my day as usual, when shopping triggers will still occur. I am fully aware this may happened, and yet I continue to let it happen. I’m talking about my downtime…my “me time” and how I choose to spend it.
My down time is usually in the morning (coffee time), late afternoon (tea time), and then the hour before I go to sleep (bed time). Those are the periods of the day when I normally would read a fashion or beauty blog or watch a Youtube video about some latest and greatest makeup or skincare product or the new fashion looks a trendy blogger has styled (and available for purchase at Nordstroms). This is a weakness for me because if I like something on the blogger, I will want to go buy it as well. If it’s a fashion item, I’ll worry that it will sell out and therefore the urge to buy immediately is even stronger! While I’ve gotten great fashion ideas and have found wonderful products this way, it can quickly lead to purchasing more makeup and clothing that I really don’t need - especially if I’m reading blogs and watching videos so often each day!
I know that if I don’t see it…I won’t desire it. So clearly the solution is to not watch it, right? But what do I do with my downtime then? What can I do that is enjoyable and won’t trigger me to shop?
I decided this week that I needed to find other activities, or hobbies to occupy myself with during my down time and try them out. I’ve mentioned before that I love to read and always have several books in progress on my Kindle. Strangely, I usually only read in the summer, while getting a pedicure, on a plane or on vacation. During regular Fall, WInter, and Spring days reading a book is not a part of my regular routine….yet I love books! So it makes complete sense to me that I should put reading on my list of “Me Time Activities”. Right now, I have decided to read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I believe reading novels in the morning with my coffee could be a nice alternative to reading blogs.
My plan is to also add my meditation time to my morning down time…along with some basic yoga moves and stretches. Then I’ll pour my coffee and try reading my book instead of going straight to my computer. I must confess that this past week my meditation practice has suffered. My schedule this week was off and I had several mornings where I needed to leave the house early with coffee in hand. The days were busier than usual for me and I didn’t prioritize doing the mediation. On a positive note, being busy kept me from going on line as often and my urges to shop decreased.
Another hobby I have enjoyed since I was a kid is crocheting. I still consider myself a novice, but I have always loved it and find it very relaxing. I decided to download a crochet pattern for slipper booties, I purchase the required yarn and I have begun making them. I plan on adding the crocheting to my afternoon down time. For the evening, I have a few TV show series that were recommended by friends that I will start watching or alternatively I can read my book as well. I’d like to limit my computer “down time” to maybe twice a week instead of multiple times everyday.
Now that I have a plan, I must execute and see how I fair. It’s hard to break habits, especially when you enjoy them, but I must try. Keeping busy and feeling productive helps to feel good about ourselves. Another thing I keep saying I’m going to do but haven’t yet done is to spend more time writing. I’m not certain what has kept me from doing this. Am I afraid that no-one will enjoy my stories? Or afraid I’ll get stuck in a pile of un-creativity? Is it a fear that paralyzes me, or am I just plain lazy?
Either way, it is time I made some hard, but positive changes to my routines and see the outcomes they may bring.
As for my shopping this week, I had one moment which was “sort of” unplanned. Let me explain. I have a friend who is in the hospital right now and I went to visit her. It was very difficult to see her as she was not at all like her usual happy, joking self. It took everything inside me to be strong and just be there for her right now, as her road to recovery will be long. When I left the hospital I could not shake the feeling of sadness that had accumulated inside me..poisoning my mood. I was well aware that if I was patient the sadness would eventually leave, but I wanted it gone NOW! I wanted to return home to my family in a happy state of mind. SO…since I would be passing the mall on the the way home…AND…I really had to stop and go to the bathroom anyway….I think you can see where this is heading. Yes, I wanted to push that sadness out of me quickly, and pondering all this during the drive home, I made the decision to stop at the mall. Shopping would distract the serious, dismal thoughts that were floating in my head concerning my friend.
I spent about a half hour in Nordstroms and bought a cardigan and jacket which I had previously seen online and had liked. I paid cash, so that is one positive thing. I did not stop to use my “urge strikes” app, but I did pause to think about the purchases and how they would work in my existing wardrobe. I felt no guilt, no buyers remorse, no negativity at all. It actually did help clear my mood. Perhaps it was the energy of the shopping mall…people smiling and going about their everyday lives. The normality of it - in contrast to the hospital I just left…I needed that. I’m sure there were other ways I could have "re-set" myself, but I went to a known “comfort zone”. The next day I looked at the items I purchased to reassess them. I tried them on and still felt they were good choices so I am keeping them. Was this a case of “Retail Therapy”? Perhaps. I’m sure to be discussing this event during my next therapy session!
I‘d love hear how your week has gone, and also find out what you do with your downtime to avoid shopping? Please leave me a comment here, or email me, or join my private Facebook group to continue this discussion.