Christmas is fast approaching and it can feel like we are being pulled into a whirlwind of spending. From gifts to wrap to bountiful Christmas dinners and gleaming decorations there is plenty to spend your money on at this time of year.
However, how many of us really feel better for spending in excess at Christmas? Does shopping really have benefit for our wellbeing?
Increasingly we are seeing news reports about the global devastation that is coming with rising global temperatures. We are also learning about the terrible living and working conditions of those manufacturing our fast fashion goods.
So the question is, can we continue to shop as we have been – increasingly over the past forty years – knowing the suffering of those making our clothes and the damage being done to our environment?
Aside from the humanitarian and environmental impact, is all this shopping really good for our wellbeing as individuals? What hole are we trying to fill? What sadness are we trying to distract ourselves from with mindless materialism? Why do we turn to ‘retail therapy’ when life becomes difficult?
I was a huge shopper until recently. I could easily spend a few hundred pounds online each month on things I didn’t need but thought I wanted. Then, I had a saving goal. I wanted to pay for yoga teacher training without getting into debt. I also became more interested in capsule wardrobes and only buying pieces that would enhance my wardrobe and that I would still be wearing in years to come.
I now plan my spending in advance, only make one clothing purchase a month and shop at sustainable and high quality retailers.
Since making this shift I save twice as much money a month. And more importantly I have more time for other things. Without mindlessly scrolling online for hours I have more time to write, craft, meditate, practice yoga, read, walk and talk with my family. Surely every one of those things is better for us all than shopping!
If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of cutting down your shopping habit and spending more mindfully, then here are my quick tips on getting started:
- Start a spending journal to track your spending and see when you are most likely to spend – are you bored, sad, stressed or lulled by peer pressure?
- If you see something you want to buy write it down with the date. Wait a few weeks and if you still would like the item you can buy it knowing you’ve made a mindful choice.
- Buying fewer things means you can buy more high quality items and sustainably sourced as well. Make sure to shop around to find companies who pay a fair wage and don’t do unnecessary harm to the environment.
Find out about attending my New Years mindfulness and writing workshop here!