I have a number of friends who cope with stress in various ways. Some binge-eat. Others drink. Still others do dangerous things.
I like to think that I’m lucky I don’t do any of these. In fact, contrary to the name of my blog, I don’t drink, and during particularly stressful times, I can’t eat. And, well, for me, opening the refrigerator can be considered “dangerous,” but that’s neither here nor there.
My coping mechanism for stress isn’t all bubble baths and long walks on the beach (really, is that anyone’s? Don’t answer that). No. It’s shopping.Hi, my name is Becky and I’m a stress shopper.
I like to delude myself into believing that it’s a healthier habit than, say, smoking six packs a day, but in all honesty, I know that’s a bald-faced lie (like there’s a bearded-faced lie or something): shopping to relieve stress isn’t the way to handle things, and it’s something I’m going to have to work through.
I’ve already mentioned that I’m a total impulse shopper, which doesn’t help matters, nor does it really play a part in my stress shopping, but, truth be told, if I’m to be (and intend to be) living the frugal life from now on, I do want to make sure I’m not spending unnecessarily.
The roadblock I’m running into though, is this: when I stress shop, I’m not shopping for items I already have or frivolous and sundry pretties, I’m shopping for things I actually need. Only trouble is, I don’t always have the cash to do my stress shopping.
Luckily, I have no credit cards because I know myself too well, but I’ll find myself, in times of great stress – which has been, let’s face it, most of the previous year – salivating over things I want. And I’ve been able to recently stop myself from blowing the cash when I feel the urge coming on. I’m not perfect (stop gasping like that!), but I’m working on it.
Knowing that I AM inclined to shop while I’m stressed, it makes it easier to throw some logic into the equation:“Would you rather spend your money on this item or make sure the electric bill is paid on time?” And “Do you really need this right this moment? It’ll be there when you have the money again.”
I’m not going to lie and tell you that it’s been easy or pleasant – breaking any bad habit sucks – but I’m working on it.
And my new motto, just like they say in all the 12-step meetings is: “one day at a time.”
And that is how I’ll cope with my stress shopping.
One day – one second – at a time.