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The Joys and Pains of Retail Therapy

Quick question for you….where is your happy place?

You know that place you go to when you are stressed out or have been having a bad day. Is it Nordstrom or Lord and Taylor? New York and Co. or Macy’s? DSW or Foot Locker? Maybe it’s your computer for some lovely online shopping? Let’s not forget about Target!!!! Seriously, WHO CAN POSSIBLY FORGET ABOUT TARGET:-)

Retail therapy is real!

It helps us to feel better when we’ve had a bad day.

So go for it! Shop on and feel good!

I bet you thought I was going to tell you that Retail Therapy is bad LOL.

Well, moderation is key. The fact is that research tells us (yes, they have researched retail therapy!) that shopping is shown to reduce stress and anxiety and helps to elevate a person’s mood. So there are some definite benefits. Here are a few other benefits:

  • When we feel we look good on the outside, it helps us to feel good on the inside

  • There is an increase in socialization when shopping is done in an outing with your friends

  • It can aide in the adjustment process during times of transition (new job, marriage, baby on the way, etc.)

Ok, so you are probably asking what’s the catch. Well, the key is moderation. Too much retail therapy is a bad, bad thing.

There is a fine line between carrying your bags and carrying baggage.

Retail Therapy becomes a problem when:

  • It’s your only coping strategy. Every time something uncomfortable, unplanned, stressful, or upsetting happens the only thing you can think to do is shop.

  • It creates new problems. If you start to have financial problems because you spent money you didn’t have - it’s a problem. When you begin to have problems in your relationships because of the time you spend on shopping and not on nurturing your relationships - it’s a problem.

  • When shopping makes you feel worse! Instead of benefiting from an improved mood, you feel depressed and guilty from shopping. You might even feel some shame and hide your purchases so no one knows what you did.

  • If you use shopping to escape from the source of the stress, but never come back to the stress to work it through. If you don’t fix the problem, it will still be there no matter how cute you look!

So what to do?

#1 Well it’s important to have a variety of healthy coping strategies when you are faced with challenges and stresses. Think of it like a tool’s not very helpful to only have a hammer in your tool box. Sometimes the job will call for a screwdriver and sometimes you need a wrench (or if you want a make-up analogy we can say you need a foundation brush, eyebrow brush, and fan brush). Ultimately you can cause more damage by using the wrong tool.

#2 It’s also important to be mindful of what your personal budget allows so that future problems are not created from your decision to shop today.

#3 Finally, it’s important to be mindful and self-aware of your emotions so that you are able to think through your stress and not just react to it.

To help with this process of Avoiding the Pitfalls of Retail Therapy, I’ve developed this easy to complete worksheet just for you.

Retail Therapy can be quite helpful in reducing depression and improving self-esteem. It also provides a measure of control and empowerment as you search for the perfect neutral shoe to go with that new outfit. But be careful! Everything in moderation. Shopping can provide so much power...but make sure you use the power for good instead of evil:-)

Don't forget to download your free worksheet, Avoiding the Pitfalls of Retail Therapy.

Take care!


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