Who else got really used to lock-down life and now the thought of going
shopping is a little overwhelming?! Yeah! Me too. But one of the best
strategies I ever learnt for managing my anxiety was to BREAK THINGS
DOWN. Going to the shops to buy groceries, a new bulb for that lamp
that hasn’t worked in weeks, a birthday present for your dad, all on top
of physical distancing and constant sanitising..YEAH,OVERWHELMING!
So I wanna share 5 really useful and easy ways to break things down
that will help you manage your anxiety while out shopping post
1. Lists, lists and more lists..
Start simple, before you even leave for the shops, make a list; jot
everything down as you notice you need it, big, small, totally necessary
or completely unnecessary - include it all. List’s really help me manage
my anxiety, especially when it comes to shopping. How often do you say
to yourself ‘I need to remember and get toothpaste this week’ and when
you forget, you punish yourself and call yourself useless because you
can't even remember to buy toothpaste. Sound familiar? Well
thankfully, using lists totally eliminates the chances of you forgetting
items you need. Read our article on journaling for mental health.
Making lists in advance is also super useful for letting you reflect on the
items you have added to your list. Do I really need another expensive
cookbook that I’m never gonna use? Are there enough fruit and veggies on
my list? Am I missing anything important.. Oh yeah, teabags! This tip also has
the added benefit of hopefully saving you a few dollars when you
realise that, no, you don’t need another cookbook!
2. Needs and Wants
So you have your list, maybe you have multiple lists scattered across a
few napkins because you forgot to buy a notebook last week (because it
wasn’t on your list)! Next step is to break it down into NEEDS and
WANTS. Not washed your hair in a while and starting to get funny
looks? Shampoo is definitely a NEED. Already got a cupboard full of
cereal but you’re bored and want to try a new flavour? This is a WANT.
Breaking your shopping list down into needs and wants will help make
your shopping list a little less overwhelming. You can start your
shopping trip by picking up all your needs, and if things get a little too
much and your anxiety is getting the better of you, you can head home
and still know you’ve got some essentials.
A really useful prerequisite to this step is taking some time out to make
a list (oh yeah, another one) of the things that you need on a week to
week basis to feel yourself. This should include the basics - food &
hygiene products. But also the little things that keep you feeling calm,
whether that’s the pampering bath bomb you love on a friday or the
herbal tea you have before bed. These necessities should always be on
your needs list (or in your cupboard).
Every boy scout knows the value of a good plan. You’ve got your list,
you’ve broken it down into needs and wants. Now you plan! The impact
of Covid-19 means a lot of businesses have adapted and now offer
online shopping or click and collect options. These are great
alternatives if managing your anxiety while shopping is still particularly difficult
or you’re just not feeling up to it one week. You might also like to make an anxiety safety plan.
But if you find yourself still taking a trip to your local shops having a plan is key.
Knowing what shops you need to hit in what order will help keep you
focused and calm. If crowds are particularly difficult for you, try to plan
your shop early while shops are quieter.
But there’s more to plan than just your route and timing. Plan for the
unexpected too. You may think you’re having a good day and have your
anxiety under control, until something goes wrong or not to plan. No
spaces in the car park? Shop doesn’t have your shoe size? You promised
your mum flour but there’s none left? Give yourself some time to
mentally prepare for a range of eventualities. This really helps me
manage my anxiety when I’m out shopping and something goes wrong
(and in many other scenarios) as I’ve given myself time to adjust to the
possibility of things going wrong, think of alternatives and tell myself
that it’s not my fault if the shop doesn’t have flour (that’s COVID’s
4. PIMP your shop
This is where you make your shopping experience yours. Each of us is
going to manage our anxiety while shopping differently but it’s
important to reflect on what you need to make it easier for you. Maybe
you like shopping alone? Or prefer having a second opinion? Maybe you
like making a day of it and stopping for a coffee half way? Maybe you’d
rather it was over before breakfast time? By creating a shopping
experience that best suits you and your anxiety, you will ensure it’s
easier to manage if things do go wrong and over time help reframe
shopping into a positive experience.
5. Celebrate your success!
Only managed to visit 1 shop? Got side-tracked and bought that
cookbook you didn’t need but none of your essentials? Got everything
on your list and treated yourself to a new mug? CELEBRATE YOUR
SUCCESSES! This is so important to remember and put into practice!
Whether your shopping trip was a total success or you didn’t make it
past your list, THAT’S OK! Each week will be different and each week
will have it’s own challenges especially while we are navigating life post
lock-down. But it’s crucial you remember to see the positives in each
shopping experience, however successful. If you only managed to buy
toothpaste, then great, you’ll have clean teeth! Managed to get
everything on your needs list? Amazing, another week down.
Together or individually, when put into practice these simple tips can
help you manage your anxiety and transform the way you feel about
your weekly trip to the shops.