It’s Friday, and the only free time in your schedule to do the grocery shopping is this afternoon. But the mere idea of navigating the grocery store on a busy Friday is making you break out in a cold sweat. Even finding a parking spot is enough to make you wish running over people wasn’t illegal. I feel ya sister. I too get grocery shopping anxiety. Sometimes it’s so bad I put off the grocery shopping until the very last minute. I’ve even resorted to having my husband pick up the absolute necessities after he gets off work. And just avoided it altogether. But don’t worry I’ve come up with some great tips that, so far, have made me not want to run people over with my cart while shopping.
What Causes Grocery Shopping Anxiety?
I know personally, my anxiety about grocery shopping is the fear of unknown stress. It’s the anticipation of frustration and large crowds. I have been known to get stressed out by large groups of people. I know many of you out there can relate. It is also fueled by the ‘what if’ scenarios.
Common Stressors or What ifs?
- Traffic is awful
- I can’t find a decent parking spot
- The store is really crowded
- I overspend
- The checkout line is really long
- I can’t find a product I need
- I get home and realize I forgot something I really needed
Plan Ahead to Relieve Grocery Shopping Anxiety
The biggest way you can relieve anxiety from your next grocery shopping trip is to plan ahead. Sounds like common sense right? But here are few ways to plan ahead you may have not thought of.
- Adopt a positive attitude: Attitude is 99% of what determines how we are going to react to any given situation. Go to the store with the attitude that you are going to make an effort to be calm and collected.
- Make a very detailed list: The way I do this is by using my favorite meal planning app. And I only buy the things on my list. This will make it easy to get in and out of the store in record time.
- Shop at an off time: If it all possible shop at a time when the store is less busy. Weekdays early in the morning are ideal. If this isn’t possible because of your schedule my other tips will help.
- Wear Headphones: I learned this from a friend who has an autistic child. Put your favorite playlist on Pandora and pop in your headphones. Music can definitely soothe the savage beast.
- Never go to the store hungry: I know it’s been said a million times before. But never go to the store hungry! Keep a snack in your purse to make sure this never happens.
- Go Alone: I’ve found it’s best if you go by your self if possible. That way you are sure to not be distracted and remember everything you went to the store for. Or go with someone who makes you laugh or smile.
- Take a deep breath: Just breathe. Often anxiety is caused by imagined outcomes. Or fear of the unknown. We believe something might happen and it causes us stress. And most of the time those imagined outcomes never happen.
You Are In Control of Your Stress
Ultimately you are in control of your stress. You are the one who decides if you get grocery shopping anxiety.
Not too long ago Aaron and I had to go to Costco on a Saturday. It was the only time we could fit the trip into our schedule. I was so dreading the idea of going to Costco on a Saturday afternoon that I was already in a bad mood when I woke up. Aaron hates grocery shopping in general so it was not something he was looking forward to either.
Instead of going to the store in a bad mood we decided to take a different approach. I had made a detailed list of the items we needed. (We still deviated a little. Because who can resist a Levi jacked for $30?) And we had a pep talk with each other before we left. Aaron drove so I didn’t have to deal with that. We made sure to give ourselves a treat prior to getting in the store by buying our favorite iced lattes in the biggest size they had. Fortunately for us, our favorite coffee stand is practically in the same parking lot.
We constantly reminded each other throughout the trip that a positive attitude would be better than being grumpy through something we had to get done. Surprisingly, the trip wasn’t that bad! It wasn’t nearly as busy as we thought it was going to be. And we got our shopping done in record time. It just shows you that more often than not we build something up in our mind as more of a negative experience then it really is.
Psyche Yourself Out in a Positive Way
As with much of anything a positive mindset is key. As you saw in the story of mine and Aaron’s Costco trip. A positive mindset really helped to make our trip more enjoyable. And we learned how to conquer our grocery shopping anxiety.
There are many key things you can do to get in a more positive mindset before grocery shopping. Which, it has been shown that if you create more positive emotions around an event or thing you can change the way you respond when dealing with that thing for the long-term. It really is about resetting your brain.
Your brain actively looks for proof of beliefs throughout your day. An example would be if you thought in the morning, “It’s raining, it’s going to be an awful day”. Your brain will look for proof throughout the day that re-enforces that thought. Every tiny thing that seems negative, that is evidence that it’s an awful day, you’re brain will point them out to you. It’s almost like your brain has its own confirmation bias. Imagine if you turned that around to use this power for good? But remember it has to be a statement you would believe like, “It’s not going to be too stressful today”.
Grocery Shopping Without Stress
Just remember you are ultimately the one who is in control of your mood and how stressed out you get at the grocery store. So try to make it easy on yourself and use the tips I gave above.
Also, don’t forget these hacks to help you deal with the stress before you head out.
- Bring your headphones
- Grab a healthy snack that makes you happy (dark chocolate is always a good one).
- Take a breathe and say to yourself before you head out, “It won’t be as bad as I think”.
- Take a friend who makes you laugh or smile.
- And remember, that others might be as stressed as you, so try to be kind to strangers.
- If you just can’t get to the store. And you want to make your life really easy. Just bite the bullet and have your order delivered or do grocery pickup. There usually is a small fee. But if it saves you stress, it’s worth it. (Most grocery stores and Costco have this option)
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