Retail Therapy, though not a legitimate form of therapy, is widely used to combat low moods. I first heard about the term in school when my friends would use it synonymously with ‘shopping’ or ‘treating yourself. It was a fast way to practice self-care and provided instant gratification for superficial wants. This was foolproof if I had some spare pocket money or savings.
I am not about to discuss a shopping addiction or dependence on spending, but I recognise the self-discipline it takes to reject this fast means of healing hurt.
There is also the other purpose of retail therapy: Celebration.
During my school days, scoring high marks meant getting a reward. This was a mostly-positive initiative by my parents in the way it encouraged academic excellence. However, my siblings and I pursued bigger gifts after every triumph. What started out as 50 cents turned into dinner at an expensive restaurant.
My siblings and I replicated our parents’ practices when we got older. I made it a point to treat myself to a bout of thrift shopping after every semester. My brothers indulge in branded goods after every milestone and birthday celebration.
Celebrations are fun but fleeting, much like the positive feelings that material items bring. So, retail therapy does not come to mind when I think about what truly helps me feel better when I am in a low mood.
That is not to say spending money on activities that bring you joy with people you care about will not help you feel better. It is infinitely more beneficial to shop with friends or buy your favourite meal than it is to excessively online shop alone.
The key, as I have mentioned before, appears to lie once again in moderation. And while that pair of shoes promises to put an extra pep in your step, know that you can overcome the crux of your low mood without them.
For more targeted practices, self-help resources, and peer support, check out SG Support Group on Discord.