Last week I recorded a webinar answering questions about minimalist fashion challenge Project 333. One of the questions was, “How do you stay motivated (to stick with 33 items) when you are stressed or tired?”
If I had been asked that question a few years ago, the question would have stumped me because when I got stressed or tired or bored, angry, uncomfortable, stuck, sad, or even really happy, I went shopping. I loved that little high I got from scoring a great deal, or finding something new to lift my spirits or celebrate a win.
Sometimes shopping was a celebration, but other times it was just a distraction from the pain.
5 years ago, when I started Project 333, and committed to dress with only 33 items (clothes, shoes, accessories, and jewelry) for 3 months, I was relieved that I wouldn’t be shopping for at least 3 months, but nervous too. What would I do when I felt like shopping?
The best thing that happened was that instead of stuffing my feelings, I listened to them. Instead of shopping away pain or worry, I felt it. I started to understand that those feelings were my body’s way of saying, “Listen, something is not right.” not “Let’s go buy things.”
I used to shop for every event and emotion. Now, when I feel myself getting stressed, tired, sick, frustrated, or bored, I take better care of myself. My body and brain is telling it’s time to make a change, not that it’s time to go shopping. When I’m not feeling my best, I know my body is saying, “Take care of me.”
Instead of going shopping …
- I take a walk
- Go to yoga
- Call a friend
- Make a smoothie
- Get a massage
- Sleep for an extra hour
- Write a thank you note
Those simple things provide more motivation, and energy, than shopping ever did.
I needed to stop shopping for a while, before I could clearly identify and change my patterns. In three short months, I changed my relationship with stuff, the way I take care of myself, and all of my shopping habits. As a result, I’m happier and healthier.
Perhaps you’ve tried to shop your way out of sadness, boredom, or other pain. How is that working for you? Trade your shopping habit for self-care and everything will change.