Black Friday Anxiety and Ways to Deal with It


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Going out on Black Friday can be sensory overload. People waiting in line for that “I just got to have it!” deal, shoving and plowing through anyone that gets in their way, and the attitude of “I had it first!” while playing tug-of-war with another irate person over an item are common behaviors seen on this shopping “holiday.” Black Friday cannot only create anxiety, but it can also take away from valuable family time. Many Black Friday sales being the night of Thanksgiving, an American holiday set aside for family and friends to gather around for a meal and to share quality times. Instead of eating dessert and sharing laughs, many are leaving the house to stand in never-ending lines to get their hands on a coveted sale item. The advertisements are tempting with so many steep deals on technology, clothing, and toys. But is it worth the anxiety and the time lost with family members?

Cyber Monday

Black Friday is the official start to the holiday shopping season and for many, holiday shopping anxiety can take its toll. If you struggle with feeling anxious about holiday shopping, you are not alone. Our society sets certain expectations about how wonerful the holidays should be. We are told that giving and recieving gifts should make us feel happy. These expectations often escalate very quickly and can become so grandiose that their fulfillment is no longer plausible. This leaves many individuals riddled with anxiety. Taking a break from Black Friday shopping may not only curb your anxiety but will also give you time to spend with your family and friends. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving and allows you to shop online from the comfort of your home or office without having to deal with the crowds, long lines and the crippling anxiety that comes with these Black Friday stressors.

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How Retailers Induce Anxiety Around the Holidays

Retailers are known to promote a level of anxiety among holiday shoppers by depicting deals as being singular or exclusive.

“This deal will only last for 24 hours.”

Insisting that a deal is only good on a particular day or during a short window of time creates a sense of urgency, even if that deal might become available elsewhere during the year. This sense of urgency can promote of sense of anxiety in consumers because of the fear of missing out. These simple are advertising ploys to increase consumerism. Realistically, there are deals on items throughout the year.

Compulsive Buying and Anxiety

Compulsive buying, formally known as oniomania is a known impulsive and compulsive behavior that results in excessive, repetitive, and chronic purchasing of items that can eventually result in detrimental financial and emotional consequences. Generally, an individual who who engages in compulsive buying is feeling a void associated with negative emotions. This should not to be confused with occasional “retail therapy”. Individuals who engage in compulsive buying often have problems with relationships and finances as a result of their shopping behavior. Additionally, compulsive shopping behavior is often accompanied by depression and anxiety.

How to Avoid Shopping Anxiety

  • Shop little by little, throughout the year
  • Shop at thrift stores, garage sales and sales throughout the year to save money
  • Only buy a gift if it serves a purpose, in other words, do no shop without a purpose
  • Create a detailed shopping list and stick to it
  • Create a budget
  • Shop with people who will hold you accountable
  • Never shop when you are experiencing urges or negative feelings
  • Only carry a certain amount of cash with you if you feel you may overspend
  • If you had an episode of compulsive buying, then take action and return the item
  • Do not get into the cycle of buying and returning, buying and returning as this can also become a compulsion

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