Actually, I’ll share another confession right off the bat: My first instinct is to eat when I am stressed out. And it’s not rare that you’ll find me popping an ungodly amount of nuts when I am losing my mind at work or when my kiddo drives me up the wall and I escape to the kitchen to catch my breath. Nuts or a really crunchy apple or, if I am really feeling like I am climbing out of my skin, some awesome cheese, are my stress-escape foods.
But, stress eating is no good for you and for a while now, I’ve tried to be more disciplined about not doing it. When I stress-eat I don’t really taste what I am eating, which means it’s all entirely unsatisfying (and not that stress-relieving anyway.) But a girl has got to have some relief, don’t you think? Going for a very brisk walk while listening to some French rap (yes, this post is about sharing more than a few embarrassing facts about myself) works wonders, but it’s hard to always find the time to hop out during the day. (Although I’ve been known to schedule a “meeting” on my calendar and escape for some stress-reducing air.) I’ve tried the whole take deep breaths for two minutes thing, but since I generally have issues exhaling, it doesn’t work so well.
So sometimes, when I am bursting with stress or some other negative emotion, I shop. Have you heard of Gilt Group and Rue la la, the daily sale sites that sell expensive beautiful stuff for less and make it all so easy and fun to browse and buy that resisting in the moment of ultra-stress is not for the weak? Well, I have and boy, do they provide some nice stress-reducing shopping. The good news is that I’ll often Internet-window shop there and leave without plunking down any cash. The other news is that sometimes I find what I really like. You know the rest of that story.
I don’t limit my stress-relief shopping to the Internet. This morning, for example, my husband and I were walking around to get some air while our kiddo was spending a few hours with the grandparents. I’m coming off an insane week, which tops off five insane weeks at my new gig, and which comes before what promises to be an even more difficult week coming up. (We have a major new product launch coming up so all bets on normal working hours and pace are off.) So needless to say, a little down time, with a latte in hand, was in order. So was checking out one of my favorite stores and finding a dress which made me smile (1) because it fit nicely and (2) because, well, I felt like I deserved it.
This post might not make me sound like it, but I’m not a big spender, when it comes to most things. For many, many years I rarely spent any real money on myself, which probably has to do with my growing up without any money and then being an immigrant, who is always a little afraid of money running out, even while my husband and I have good jobs. I don’t quite know why, but in the last few years I’ve become a bit more relaxed about it — something having to do with the whole life is short and unpredictable feelings I’ve started to have more often. And if I really think about it, a lot of my stress shopping turns out to be either window shopping or ends up being pretty cheap (a funky t-shirt, some new lipstick, a large latte, or some new cool pens to feed my pen obsession). Still, realizing that I do it gives me a bit of pause for thought.
So I’m curious: Any of you guys indulge in some retail therapy to relief stress? Do you think it’s a bad habit or a fun way to fight the ever-present working mom stress?