So let’s call retail therapy out for what it is: another crutch we use as a pick me up when we are feeling low. A temporary hit of endorphins that doesn’t involve a treadmill. It sounds great to me too, but the problem is that we often use it to distract ourselves from a void we need to fill with something instantly gratifying. A Greenpeace survey showed that around 50% of shoppers report that the buzz wears off within a day, and it is often followed by a hangover of guilt and shame. People report feeling bad about their useless purchases, realising that shopping does not lead to increased long-term happiness.
Alongside the negative psychological connotations of using shopping as a ‘therapeutic’ activity, there is the idea of promoting consumerism without consideration. Overproduction and overconsumption are unsustainable for both us and the planet; the more we impulse buy, the more our wardrobes swell with future waste destined for landfill and fated to cause further harm to the environment.
With the personal and environmental issues of retail therapy considered, one thing is for sure; it’s not the feel-good activity that we are yearning for. Personally, I believe that fashion (and whether people are compelled to behave thoughtfully with it) are closely linked to the psychology of how we feel about ourselves. Of course, this in turn is to do with the food we consume, our health, mindfulness, self-esteem and of course access. And while January may be dark, wet and a bit gloomy but there are plenty of ways to really blow the cobwebs away, feed the soul and to avoid the compulsion to shop the sales. Here are a few ideas to tap into all of the good feels that you’re craving.