“Let’s indulge in some retail therapy.” I’ve heard it so many times in jest, or I always assumed jest until recently when I came across an article by US News on the fact that it has indeed been proven that retail will alleviate symptoms of depression. I do know for myself and my husband this is our favorite form of therapy (considering it can be done spontaneously with little effort), but there are a few thoughts I have to share from both the consumer and shopkeepers position on this article.
Reason’s Retail Therapy Helps
1. Gives us a feeling of choice and control. As a customer we are in control, we can choose what and if we want to buy. We can feel a sense of accomplishment as we just saved a bundle on the clearance rack, or found that one item that we have been dying to have. It is empowering to know that we could obtain anything we could want.
2. Takes us out of the house and breaks up routine. Sitting at the house, day in and day out, following the same routine becomes monotonous. To get out and see new things, even if it is just to window shop can be a real goad for the senses. The people, the sounds, the smells, and the sights all stir up to inspire a new life into us again.
3. Gives us something fresh and new to focus on. When we get home with our purchase it may be a new hat, it may be a new book, or unique collectible. Either way it is something new to drive our focus. Something to pep up our look, or something to add tinge of inspiration to our safety nets.
“It’s Cheaper Than Therapy”
This could be true and this could be false depending on the patient. I’m not a sleazy sales person. I’m not trying to make a sale in order to solely turn a profit, but I want to make my customers happy, I want them to leave satisfied with their purchase. I don’t want to see them tomorrow with the same product in a now worn and wrinkled bag, with a slightly tattered receipt in hand. I don’t want my customer going home feeling as if they cannot fiscally trust me or themselves in my shop. I never want my customers to feel remorse but instead I want them to feel excitement and success upon leaving my shop.
If retail therapy is your method you choose, be sure to utilize a special rainy day fund. I know in college I kept a jar where I collected my change from school expenses or meals on campus. When the depression got a bit overwhelming I would head to my jar and count out what I could in quarters and head to the mall. This typically resulted in a purchase of a latte shake from Marble Slab and a rendezvous in my favorite store (where I eventually climbed that retail ladder) and a quick five dollar purchase of a new pair of earrings, or some unique and inspiring knick-knack to add a little more life to my dull white dorm room.
We must as consumers recognize when we are shopping out of necessity or out of therapy. Credit cards should never be utilized for therapy purposes. I remember once hitting the 500 dollar mark in one Christmas time visit of Target on a credit card, it didn’t break me, and never caused any irreparable harm, but had I made a habit of it I could have drowned in debt only causing an uncontrollable amount of depression. Credit cards are not the end all be all of everything terrible, they are there to help with the larger necessities and should be acknowledged and paid off proficiently. They should never be a part of retail therapy, this should only be practiced with extra on hand cash of a previously allotted and budgeted amount. Pro Tip: leave the credit card at home so to avoid any temptations.
Other Ways to Alleviate Depression
Accomplishing Goals: Whether at work or in person, there is nothing quite like that feeling of completing a task, especially if that task has been hanging over our heads for quite sometime.
Reorganizing Your Space: Giving your digs a fresh new look will always up your mood. This also gives you a sense of control and a sense of freedom.
Journaling: Writing out our thoughts and feelings sometimes helps us to alleviate some of the angst and turmoil within. I can write some pretty hateful things in my personal journal, reread it and then magically feel over it. Much like I did with my assistant Michelle a few years back.
Actual Therapy: No you don’t have to go to a shrink for therapy, my personal preference is counseling. Counselors are more open and in tune to listening and helping on a personal level as opposed to examining you and/or drugging you on a medical or scientific level. Be sure to do your research, check ratings and read their background and beliefs, make sure they will be relatable to you.
What are some of your favorite haunts when jonesin’ some retail therapy?