Yesterday I shopped for my son’s spring clothing. The 90 minute ordeal left me with three bags of awesome, comfortable clothes, and a mild case of exhaustion.
Since the birth of my son five years ago, even little trips to the mall cause a weariness that lingers into the next day. I once wondered why shopping depleted me. Now, I understand the issues that drain me and what to do about them.
My list of observations:
I could shop forever. When I was younger, I shopped till I dropped. The colors, patterns and textures captivated me. I was in special interest heaven! I had no other responsibilities and afterward indulged myself in an extended rest (or a glass of wine!). Now, I need to be on my toes for my son. My internal resources don’t have time to regenerate for after school duty if I shop for too long.
Solution: Shop for 1 ½ hours and give myself another 1 ½ hours before the end of the school day. I’ve followed this formula for the past 7 months, it works wonderfully.
Too many choices. I like all the shirts. I can’t decide! Anxiety builds. I am stuck in a choice loop. The best option seems to be to buy everything. Not a good idea! I had a moment like this at the grocery with my husband. The variety of cake mixes overwhelmed me. Impatient, he paced. This stressed me out more. Finally, I confessed my problem. “Choose chocolate,” he said. Always a fine suggestion!
Solution: Shop with a buddy. Shopping alone, I use logic to restore order. I select a limiter, like a color palate, to reduce choices. This spring my son wears grey.
Music everywhere. Why would a children’s clothing store blast pop music? I understand the cacophony at Hot Topic, but super-loud music at Gap Kids? Sheesh. I notice mothers with their placid toddlers and realize that, yes, it is just me.
Solution: Sonic defender earplugs or big goofy earphones. Both filter out the background noise well. I am 80% less anxious in seconds. Also, sales associates will not pester you if you wear the earphones—highly recommended in any electronic store!
Perfume everywhere. I can taste the flowery-citrusy- scent of almost every woman who drifts by at the mall. The cologne drenched men at the technology kiosks seem to be the worst offenders. I know odor is pleasant for some, but it is inescapable for the sensitive. Strong perfume is an invasive as an unwanted touch. A person sharing the elevator with me would not seize me by the shoulders and shake me, so why wear so much scent?
Solution: I can only think of one thing—a gasmask. The first time I wore my mega-earphones, I felt self-conscious. No longer. Maybe I can learn to be as glib with a gasmask as I am with my Blissum Thunder ear muff!