Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, it has been one of the most hectic shopping days in the United States. Many stores, from minor to big, traditionally offer money-saving special deals on various goods for a limited time to attract shoppers into stores by offering similar deals online.
Many believe that the term Black Friday came from the concept that businesses suffer are “in the red” (financial loss) until the day after Thanksgiving when immense sales finally enable them to gain profit or put them “in black.” However, this is inaccurate.
A more accurate explanation dates back to the early 1960s, when large numbers of suburban tourists came into the city for their holiday shopping and, in some years, attended Saturday’s annual Army-Navy football game.
Therefore, to describe the chaos created by this, the police officers in Philadelphia used the term “Black Friday.” The vast crowds were a headache for the police, who had to work longer shifts than usual as they had to deal with traffic jams, shoplifting, accidents, and other issues.
Thanksgiving dinner is stressful enough; as soon as you finish your pie, it’s time to start bracing yourself for the holiday gift rush and Black Friday. Black Friday is the most extreme shopping event of the year. Not to mention the horror stories of customers staying out for days and waiting outside the shops to hook the best discount or climbing over crowds to get the last item on sale, which is entirely stressful. It’s a stressful event for anyone involved, let alone those who experience anxiety when shopping on a typical day.
Suppose you have anxiety or suffer from frequent panic attacks. In that case, managing your symptoms and finding an effective anxiety treatment in preparation for a significant event such as Black Friday is essential. Social anxiety affects approximately 15 million adults, about 6.8% of the US population.
Some symptoms of anxiety may include:
- Increased heart rate
- Inability to breathe deeply
- Unexplained hot flashes or sweating
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy
- Stomach cramps
How retailers induce anxiety around the holidays
Retailers promote anxiety among holiday shoppers by displaying deals as singular or exclusive, such as: “This deal will only last for 24 hours.”
Insisting that a deal is only good on a particular day or during a short period creates a sense of urgency in marketing that can promote anxiety in consumers because they start feeling the fear they will miss out. These glowing banners outside the stores are advertising tricks to increase consumerism. Realistically, there are deals on items throughout the year.
Compulsive buying and anxiety
Oniomania is the term for Compulsive buying. It is an impulsive and compulsive behavior that results in repetitive, excessive, and chronic purchasing of items. This behavior can result in destructive financial and emotional consequences. An individual who engages in obsessive buying fills a void associated with negative emotions, which should not be confused with occasional retail therapy. Individuals who engage in obsessive buying face problems with relationships and finances due to their shopping behavior. Additionally, compulsive shopping behavior often causes depression and anxiety.
People suffering from anxiety fear being stuck in a massive crowd the most (Social Anxiety). It can be very uneasy and cause people to experience one or several of the abovementioned symptoms. However, if you are wondering how to reduce anxiety in anticipation of Black Friday shopping, there are some things you can do.
Here are some tips for coping with Black Friday Shopping Anxiety:
- Plan Ahead
Shopping on Black Friday can be less stressful if people plan before visiting retail stores. Shoppers can make a list of the products and services they might want to purchase.
Planning can allow people to expedite their shopping process. While they’ll still have to face large crowds and wait in long lines, knowing what they want can reduce the time spent walking around the store and the stress they experience.
- Don’t Go Alone
Individuals with a mental illness should try bringing along a friend or family member while shopping on Black Friday. A friend or family member can help them locate items for purchase and reduce the likelihoods that they deal with stress.
A loved one can also support individuals who experience stress or anxiety while shopping on Black Friday. Knowing someone else is there to help you if needed can be comforting.
- Shop Online
People can shop on Black Friday without having to leave their houses. Some companies offer discounts for items through their online stores for people who prefer to avoid the large crowds on Black Friday.
Online shopping allows people to avoid crowded environments. Also, they can access a greater variety of goods and services, reducing the risk of experiencing stress or anxiety on Black Friday.
- List the items that you need before you go shopping
Making a clear list of what you need to buy and who you need to buy for will let you stay focused and avoid unnecessary buys.
- Set a budget and stick to it
Before you enter a store or start skimming online, decide how much money you will spend. Once you decide on your budget, make sure you stick to it. Doing so may result in leaving some items in your cart or a good deal, but it’s better to stick to your budget than to overspend.
- Take a break from shopping
While shopping if you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed while you’re shopping, take a break. Take yourself away from the crowds and rest for some time. Take a few deep breaths, or get something to eat. You can always restart your shopping later. Remember that the holidays are meant to enjoy and be happy, not stress. Take some time to enjoy the vibe during the holidays.
- Don’t compare yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others during the holidays based on purchases is the worst you will do for your mental health. Just because someone else can afford more or better gifts doesn’t mean you have to stress over the fact that you can’t. Do what you can and be happy with that. Holidays are all about happiness.