Avoid holiday anxiety, shopping stress
The other day I realized why I feel stressed in stores lately. I feel inundated with Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving and even Christmas paraphernalia. I’m nowhere near holly or jolly right now; I’m still wearing shorts.
There used to be some separation in the old days, remember that? Halloween was often the turning point in the year, but now there are shameful displays that begin in late summer. There’s no breather between the holidays now. I feel like Lucy working the conveyor belt of chocolates!
I’m not the only one. It’s called “The Christmas Creep,” and it’s intended to get you to spend more money, much sooner.
While companies will improve their bottom line, our stress as a population will rise. Inflation has created challenges for many, so there’s less money to spend on gifts, decorations and lights.
The Christmas Creep is a real thing, and here’s what you can do to cope with it:
Avoid stores that cause anxiety. Choose boutique stores or shop online. Go to stores that respect the time frame of holidays.
Practice introspection. Avoid impulse buying. Don’t make a purchase until you feel comfortable doing so. Purchase things that people need right now, or buy a gift card.
If your budget is tight, bake something or make a homemade craft. People who care for you don’t even need a gift; they just need to know you love them.
Stick to a budget. Anxiety sets in when you feel out of control, and if you don’t set a price limit for the holidays, you’ll wind up in trouble come January when your credit card bill arrives.
Stay focused and set a time limit. If you have to go into a store, set a time frame for the item(s) you need. Set the timer on your phone and avoid a tailspin by avoiding aisles with things you don’t need.
Find out return policies. Will you be able to get a refund on an item if you change your mind?
Stay calm. What’s wrong with a cup of warm green tea or a sniff of lavender? These items are calming, as compared to a double-shot espresso drink, which cranks up stress-related neurotransmitters.
Limit social media. Online platforms will advertise holiday items to you and pay to get on your Facebook and Instagram feeds so they can stalk you. For example, Google “Pilates ball” and you will soon see two dozen ads for them.
But that’s not all. There are few things worse for our younger generation than comparing themselves to their peers. It generates constant mental mulling, anxiety and feelings of inferiority.
In closing, kick off the holiday season when you want to, and don’t feel pressured. Use coping strategies to help yourself, and become self-aware of how certain stores make you feel.
Spend your dollars wisely, and do the holidays on your own time frame.
For more articles by Suzy Cohen, visit suzycohen.com.