In the past, I’ve posted about Dollar Tree deals, thrifted treasures and raising a family within a budget. We have built our home on these bargains and for the most part I am proud of that. However, there came a time when shopping was more than just a fun pastime for me. In my last post, I talked about how shopping became an addiction. In fact, spending, browsing or planning to shop started to creep into far too many waking hours and cause a few sleepless nights as well. It was clear that shopping was starting to negatively affect my quality of life and my family, so I knew I had to make a change.
In my case, it meant digging up an old hobby. Little by little, I began to embrace my first love of writing. I started to build my blog from the ground up, and realized how much I didn’t know about social media, photography, and digital marketing. I had to remind myself that it was ok to spend time on something that interested me, even if it never became a lucrative venture. Now that I am blogging consistently, I have noticed the desire to shop has lessened significantly. I’m seeking a creative outlet that satisfies me and I am doing something that I love. I’m finding my identity doesn’t live at a cash register. It’s a great feeling to be working on something that makes you proud! Whether it’s running, cooking, painting, rock-climbing, horse-riding, or going back to school, replacing an addiction or strong habit with something more positive can make a big difference! If you could do anything, what would it be?
I had to recognize that often shopping was subconsciously an avoidance strategy. I would go shopping when I just couldn’t face the mess at home or the long to-do list. So for me, treating the problem means treating my anxiety with medication and exercise (this has historically been a struggle for me). It means reading books that address my issues rather than stuffing my emotions down. It means sometimes I force myself to take a nap instead of running to my favorite thrift store. It means that I roll up my sleeves and clean my house when the mess is too much to handle! For others it could be that shopping distracts from loneliness or gives them confidence they otherwise were lacking. If you are lonely, find community! If you are lacking in confidence, be brave and look for a solution!
Cutting down on temptation
This has been difficult, but it means that I spend less time on social media, less time on Pinterest, less time on my shopping web forum, and less time filling my virtual cart with everything from my wish list. I used to think that online browsing was great because I usually didn’t hit the “buy” button, but it was time to acknowledge that the worship of stuff was feeding the craving to spend. The financial bottom line wasn’t the only problem with shopping for me. Wishing and pondering what I needed next was leading me down the rabbit hole of discontentment. And I desperately needed to root out the discontentment in my life and forcibly replace it with gratitude for everything that I had already been given.
Connecting to others
At heart I am an extrovert, but when I am tired and stressed it is easier for me to shut people out. I found myself asking, had shopping become the busy-ness that kept me from authentic relationships? Was I spending more time with my Amazon cart than with my husband? Calling my friend is more effort than mindless shopping, but talking to her is like medicine for my soul. Going out with other moms is a pain to arrange, but it always blesses my heart. Making it to church can be an ordeal with three children, but oh how I need the weekly experience! I have taken some steps recently to reconnect to others and I am reminding myself that it’s not too late to build new friendships either! What can you do to build relationships in your life?
One of the best things about this experience for me was realizing that old habits don’t define me. It sounds so trite, but I really don’t have to be defeated by the same old everyday challenges. I can change directions and choose to be a better version of myself.
Is there a habit that you need to address or an addiction that you need to conquer? Please share your experiences in the comments!
In my next post I will discuss the steps I’ve taken toward minimalism and the resources that are helping me along the way. Stay tuned!
If you have a problem with compulsive shopping please visit Shopaholics Anonymous. Shopping can be an addiction as powerful as drugs to about 6% of the US population, but help is available!