alela smithComment

Retail Therapy

alela smithComment
Retail Therapy
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We have all had those moments when you think (or a good friend has said) "girl, you need to go lay on somebody's couch". That is code for seeing a therapist. I was able to have a chat with licensed therapist Shayla Peterson.

One question I have been wondering about for years is "Is there such a thing as retail therapy?"

The Wikipedia definition -

Retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer’s mood or disposition. Often seen in people during periods of depression and stress, it is normally a short-lived habit. Items purchased during periods of retail therapy are sometimes referred to as “comfort buys.”

Here's What She Had To Say:

Retail therapy is a temporary way to boost mood but does not get to the core of the problem. When you finish shopping, you are still left with facing your emotions, often leading us to make poor choices during our shopping experience such as spending too much or purchasing items we would not typically buy.  If you shop when you’re sad, then shop when you are happy, you can create an expensive habit that will have long-term consequences, especially without a plan or budget. Retail therapy works best with clear boundaries, such as a limit on spending.


An alternative solution to participating in retail therapy that can be just as satisfying includes going through your closet for clothes to donate items that you no longer wear, going for a walk in the park, going to the museum for the latest exhibited or arranging a game night with friends and family. These activities can create feelings of worth minus the heavy bill.


Action Plan:

If you are a retail therapy kinda gal as Shayla noted, have boundaries. Say 'okay, I just want the release for a half an hour to relax. My problem/issue will still be here and this is not a cure all'. Then set aside a dollar amount you can't go over. A REALISTIC DOLLAR AMOUNT! Go to the ATM and get it in cash because I know for my self, when left to my own devices, I will try to justify "well it's only $10 or $20 above my limit. Think small in moments like these. A new lip gloss, a new perfume (the small bottle), things that are soothing to you, not the hot pink jumpsuit that, if you were thinking clearly, you'd never buy. A magazine is good too, as well as a new book or things that will make you either temporarily lose yourself in them or things that will help you be optimistic about the future.


Another example Shayla offered is the park or museum. My personal favorite is going to the movies by myself. My husband often knows when I have things on my brain because I am off to the movies!


Last but not least, do something nice for someone else. You would be surprised how much better this makes you feel. Whether it is filling in a need for someone, sending a person flowers, going to visit with family and loved ones or writing a kind note to tell a person how much you appreciate them.

You don't always have to run to the mall with your credit card in hand to feel better. Instead, take a moment to think of alternatives.