Do You Even Know What You Really Want?
Updated March 2023
Do you shop when you need to feel better? When you've had a hard day at work, when a loved one has disappointed you, when you're bored or tired? Shopping seems like a pick-me-up, and a new shirt or pair of earrings might make you feel better, at least for a few minutes. But when that new thing isn't new anymore, or when the credit card bill arrives, or when you stand in front of your packed closet trying to decide what to wear, you might not feel so good then.
And sometimes we just feel dissatisfied, we may not even know why. We just know we want a change, and that restlessness pushes us toward the mall or the online store, toward travel, even toward a new job or a new partner.
I didn't know what I wanted out of life, so I'd buy a new phone or pair of shoes.
There may be real reasons why you need to feel better, but taking a weekend trip you can't afford, buying a new electronic gadget, or going out with your friends to a bar might not be the best way to help yourself. There are better methods of self-care when you don't feel well, or when you're sad, frustrated, or feeling lost. You don't need to ignore those emotions, or make light of them. Just find better ways to address them.
It's amazing how much a walk through the woods or a park, a nap, some good music, even a cup of tea can do for your outlook. Some yoga, a good laugh, a scented bath, or doing something kind for someone else can also turn your feelings around.
Can you buy happiness?
Marketers want us to believe that what they're offering can make our lives better. Happiness is just a purchase away! And you might go that route for a while – I certainly did, for far too long. But eventually you recognize that more stuff just leaves you feeling bloated and burdened. When you do get around to clearing some of it out, you notice at once that you feel lighter and more free.
Feng shui* practitioners tell us that possessions we don't use, that merely fill our closets and drawers and under the bed, create stagnant energy in our lives. This is logical, whether you believe in feng shui or not. When our homes and lives are full of clutter, we have no room for change. I think we really do stunt our emotional and spiritual growth, and inhibit our creativity and openness to new possibilities. We actually make ourselves lethargic and dull.
If you're feeling stuck in your life, with no clear idea of what you want to learn or do next, with a sense that you're in a rut and there's nothing to look forward to, please don't try to shop yourself out of the feeling. The next purchase won't fix your life, or fulfill something that you're lacking.
Be still for a moment and listen to your heart. Take care of yourself – spend a few minutes in the sun, eat a juicy piece of fruit, dance to your favorite tune, call a friend. Remove some of the excess stuff in your home or on your calendar.
When you give yourself space and time to breathe, you may just remember who you are and what really matters to you.
16 no-shop self-care tips to restore your sense of self
- Take a walk in the woods or through a park.
- Take a nap.
- Listen to some soothing or energizing music.
- Relax with a cup of coffee or tea.
- Do some yoga or stretching.
- Sit in the sun and listen to the birds.
- Write in a journal.
- Find something that makes you laugh.
- Soak in a bath scented with lavender or eucalyptus.
- Cuddle with someone you love.
- Eat a piece of fresh, juicy fruit.
- Dance to your favorite tunes.
- Get lost in a good book.
- Call a supportive friend.
- Help someone else.
- Do some decluttering.
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